By DEUCE NIVEN
A criminal investigation is underway after what initially appeared to be an auto crash that sent a car sinking to the bottom of a rural pond claimed the lives of two Tabor City men during the weekend.
Horry County Police Department detectives have taken the lead in the investigation into the deaths of Edgar Domenico-Torres, 23 and Phillip Taylor, 26, Lance Cpl. Matt Southern of the South Carolina Highway Patrol said Tuesday.
“Horry County Police Department is handling the entire investigation,” Southern said.
That criminal investigation had not been previously disclosed, and HCPD spokeswoman Krystal Dotson said she did not have a report of information on the investigation Tuesday morning.
Investigators initially believed an auto crash claimed the men after a 911 caller reported seeing the car sinking into a pond off of Hulls Island Road in northern Horry County just before 2:30 a.m. Saturday.
One man was on top of the car as it was slipping beneath the water, the 911 caller said according to Horry County Fire/Rescue social media releases.
HCFR dive team members were in the water less than two hours after the crash was reported. Those divers found the car submerged in about 18 feet of water, but found no people before the effort was called off for the night.
Divers were back in the water after 10 a.m. Saturday, and located the bodies after noon.
Horry County Deputy Coroner Michelle McSpadden released the identities of the deceased after noon Sunday, after next of kin notifications had been made. Both men drowned, McSpadden said.
More on this developing story will be posted here as developments warrant, and at Tabor-Loris Tribune in print and online.