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Missing grandma died after golf cart crash with toddler aboard, SC coroner says

Bernette King, left, died after being reported missing with her grandson, according to the Greenville County Coroner’s Office.
Bernette King, left, died after being reported missing with her grandson, according to the Greenville County Coroner’s Office. Greenville County Sheriff's Office

A South Carolina coroner determined the cause of death for the woman who was reported missing Wednesday, along with her 3-year-old grandson.

After crashing a golf cart, Bernette King suffered a fatal heart attack, Greenville County Coroner B. Parks Evans Jr. said in a news release Thursday. The coroner said the death was an “accident.”

King’s grandson was found near her body in a “wooded area,” and the boy is “fine,” according to the news release.

Evans performed an autopsy on the 60-year-old Simpsonville woman Thursday, and in the news release listed her cause of death as “acute myocardial infarction due to physiologic stress during golf car accident.”

King was a paramedic and emergency room nurse, according to a GoFundMe campaign started by her daughter, the little boy’s aunt.

Her time of death was listed as 1 p.m., according to the news release. That is not long after King and her grandson were last seen.

The woman and toddler left on a “Tar Heel” blue golf cart with the intent of visiting a nearby creek about 11 a.m., the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

Greenville County officials said the boy was found about 9:30 p.m., but King was found dead, WHNS reported.

Sheriff’s deputies found the golf cart “wrecked down an embankment on a wooded trail,” and King’s body was close by in the woods, the coroner said in the news release.

After being examined by EMS, the 3-year-old was released to his family, WSPA reported.

“We are beyond heartbroken, but we are comforted to know that she gave her life to protect her grandson,” Aleatha Cone Moore wrote in the GoFundMe, which is seeking donations for King’s funeral expenses and to help provide for the two grandchildren that were in her custody. “I love you momma. We miss you so much.”

More than 300 thousand people suffer cardiac arrest each year. Doing CPR properly can save someone’s life in these situations, but according to a recent Cleveland Clinic survey, only half of Americans say they know how to perform bystander CPR.

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Noah Feit is a Real Time reporter with The State and McClatchy Carolinas Regional Team. The award-winning journalist has worked for multiple newspapers since starting his career in 1999.


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