Sheriff’s office turns camp death investigation over

PICKENS — The Pickens County Sheriff’s Office has turned its investigation into the death of a 16-year-old Florida girl who fell 100-120 feet from a swing at a youth camp earlier this week over to state authorities.

Chief deputy Creed Hashe said Friday the sheriff’s office has completed its initial criminal inquiry into the death of Olivia Paige Grimes of Lakeland, Florida, and turned over information from its investigation to the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

“Any evidence collected by the sheriff’s office will be retained and secured for the state pending the outcome of their investigation,” Hashe said.

Grimes was a participant in an outdoor event called the “Freebird” during a weeklong excursion at Carolina Point Young Life Camp. The camp is located at 4000 Glady Fork Road in Brevard, N.C., and Hashe said the remote area located on Sassafras Mountain is divided by the North and South Carolina state line — with portions of the approximate 350-acre facility falling on both sides of the boundary.

During the sheriff’s office investigation, Hashe said there were no signs of foul play or criminal intent that played a role in Grimes’ death. During interviews with witnesses and after examining all evidence collected at the scene and receiving findings from the autopsy, the sheriff’s office learned there were no indications of a mechanical or structural failure of the swing, equipment or safety gear detected. Hashe said the victim’s harness was not attached to the apparatus when the swing was retracted from the passenger loading platform upon deployment of the swing, and no evidence or information was discovered that would indicate the victim contributed to her own death.

Hashe said three representatives of the South Carolina LLR accompanied members of the sheriff’s office investigative team to the accident site for evaluation. Late Thursday afternoon, the chief deputy said the sheriff’s office was officially informed the incident fell under South Carolina state jurisdiction after a review of state statutes and their application to the existing rides and courses, including the pendulum swing at the camp.