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Remains of teen girl missing since 2008 found in Florence

The remains of Lakendra S. Powers, of Florence, were found at a vacant residence at 509 North Wilson Street on November 18. (2008 photo from Florence police. WPDE background)

Skeletal remains found in an abandoned home two weeks ago on Wilson Street in Florence have been identified.

The remains of Lakendra S. Powers, of Florence, were found not far from where the Powers lived, at a vacant residence at 509 North Wilson Street on Nov. 18, according to Florence County Coroner Keith von Lutcken.

She was 16-years-old at the time she went missing in April 2008 in the City of Florence, he said.

He said the length of time since death cannot be determined and the manner and cause of death are still under investigation.

Once the remains were found they were taken to the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston where they were examined by Forensic Anthropologist and Odontologists and a positive identification was made through dental records on file with the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, von Lutcken said.

Lutcken said city crews found the remains while inspecting the abandoned home for a possible demolition.

Some neighbors said they remember when the teen went missing, but they never imagined she would be found dead so close by.

"It's real sad. Sad situation. What or whoever could have done that to her, it's very bad. And ever who did it, need to be caught," said neighbor Margaret Gurley.

Others questioned how long the remains had been there.

"If the body been in there eight years, somebody would have seen it. Because people was over there checking the house. And I didn't know why they didn't see that body. Them bones or whatever," said Willie Pringle, who lives on WIlson Street.

Lutcken said they are now investigating the death from all angles to determine how she died or if she was killed.

He said it could be some time before that information is determined.

Pringle said he's hopeful that authorities will be able to determine what happened to Powers.

"Nobody want a 16 year old to just die. Or whatever happened to her. Somebody need to be responsible," he said.

Anyone with additional information about the case is asked to contact the Florence Police Department at 843-665-3191 or Crime Stoppers (1-888-CRIMESC / 1-888-274-6372).

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