A 20-year-old employee at a recycling plant in South Carolina seemed to vanish without a trace in May. Now, the coroner in Spartanburg County has solved the mystery: Alex Gordon fell into a giant plastic shredder at the Industrial Recycling and Recovery plant in Greer, reports the State. The revelation was announced last week after minute samples of tissue were found and analyzed. "What we have tested and was positive came from under a support under the conveyor belt just after the plastic shredding machine," says coroner Rusty Clevenger, per WYFF. The sample's DNA was a match for Gordon's parents, notes WSB.
The shredder had been inspected three separate times before coroner investigators did their own check in June—and one of those first inspections was by Gordon's own father, a plant supervisor, reports the Herald-Journal. Alex Gordon had been working near the top of the machine when last seen, notes the State, which adds that the room houses several large machines and is noisy. The shredder had processed about 30 tons of plastic by the time the first inspection took place, after it was noticed Gordon was missing. The county sheriff's office is investigating, as are officials from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (More workplace safety stories.)