The remains were discovered in a murky creek strewn with trash.
Police say there's a chance the remains could be those of Crystal Gail Soles of Andrews, who was 28 when she disappeared January 24, 2005.
New leads developed by Andrews Police Chief Jennifer Flowers brought police and an Horry County dive team to the creek off a little-used Williamsburg County road.
"For the last few weeks, things kind of came together and that location came out of some interviews with some people," Flowers said.
Flowers says she's made arrangements with an office in Charleston to identify the remains. That could take several weeks.
The police chief doesn't want to speculate on whether the remains found in the creek really are those of Crystal Gail Soles, but she says regardless of whether they are or not, her work on the case will continue.
"I just want to wait and see and get results and then we'll go from there. That doesn't mean I'm gonna stop investigating or we're gonna stop searching."
Soles was last seen at Shaw's Corner Store in Andrews, about 8 miles from where the remains were found.
Flowers made solving the case a priority when she became chief last May, after a personal appeal from Crystal Soles' mother, who was at Wednesday's search.
"She's been good through this whole thing, she's never given up and she said through all the searches, she felt some kind of relief," Flowers said.
The CUE Center for Missing Persons in Wilmington, NC aided in the search Wednesday. Center director Monica Caison says if the remains are found to be human, volunteers will go back to rework the area.
If you have any information about Crystal Soles, you're asked to call the 24-hour anonymous tip line at (910) 232-1687.