Surrounded by gear for making moonshine, man dies from natural causes

08/12/2014 11:31 PM

08/12/2014 11:32 PM

A man whose body was found in a hotel room, along with a large barrel of moonshine makings, appears to have died from natural causes, according to preliminary findings by Horry County Deputy Coroner Darris Fowler.

Firefighters responding to a medical call before 1:30 p.m. Monday in Garden City Beach found the body of Garden City Beach resident Brandon Tarlton, 40, and a 55-gallon drum of ingredients for moonshine. The material inside the barrel initially was thought to be ingredients for making methamphetamines, said Murrells Inlet Garden City Fire Chief Norman Knight.

Knight said someone called before 1:30 p.m. and reported a cardiac arrest in a room on the 10th floor of the Royal Garden Resort, an oceanfront condominium building on North Waccamaw Drive. When firefighters responded and saw the chemicals in a 55-gallon drum, police were called.

Lt. Robert Kegler, with Horry County police, said officers with the bomb squad and a hazardous materials team responded about 2 p.m.

Police and firefighters later said the chemicals actually contained moonshine and were not hazardous materials.

Fowler said preliminary autopsy results showed natural causes as the reason for Tarlton’s death, but other testing is pending. The official results may take 90 to 120 days.

It was not clear who called 911 and reported the cardiac arrest.

North Waccamaw Drive was closed between Calhoun Drive and Seabreeze Drive for hours while crews were on scene.

Joshua Mortin, who is visiting the area, said he heard hollering and went to the beach then saw the fire engines and police cruisers, a sight he said was frightening after he learned it involved a death.

The resort was not evacuated, but its 10th floor and those immediately above and below were evacuated briefly while the chemicals were removed, Kegler said.

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