Police are investigating an Ohio man who allegedly fell to his death while trying to do a handstand from a balcony during Hurricane Ian — after family suggested he died otherwise.
Markell Hope, 34, was staying at the Patricia Grand Hotel in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, when he threw himself from the 15th floor balcony on September 30 around 3 p.m.
The Horry County Coroner’s Office initially claimed Hope fell while performing a handstand, but told Dailymail.com they are backtracking on the 34-year-old’s cause of death and are now investigating other theories.
It is unclear why police concluded Hope was attempting a handstand at the time of his death and whether he was alone while staying at the hotel.
However, his family have taken to Facebook in search of a woman who they believe was present at the time and is now ‘in hiding’.
“There was a disagreement with the family,” a spokesman for the coroner’s office said. “They disagree with the result. It is still under investigation.’
Family members of Hope were quick to demand answers.
“Where’s the proof,” Jerry Tennant wrote on Facebook. ‘Who else was there? When I saw the pictures of the balcony I knew this story was bs. Markell wouldn’t go there. I know in my heart there is so much more to this story.’
Markell Hope, 34, was staying at the Patricia Grand Hotel when he threw himself from the balcony on September 30. The Horry County Coroner’s Office initially claimed he died while performing a handstand, but is now walking back that claim
Police are reinvestigating Hope’s death after they initially said he fell to his death from the 15th floor of a Myrtle Beach hotel room
The Horry County Coroner’s Office told DailyMail.com they are going back on the assumption that he fell after his family disagreed on how he died
Family members are seeking answers about how Hope died amid the ongoing investigation into his death. They have gone on Facebook in search of a woman who they believe was present at the time
Hope visited South Carolina in the midst of the Category 4 hurricane that rocked Florida last week. The search for survivors continues as the death toll exceeds 100 in the Sunshine State with four more deaths in North Carolina as of Monday.
The search for survivors of the hurricane continues, while the storm resulted in about $60 billion in damage.
Some people had entire homes destroyed, particularly in the 40-square-mile block of Pine Island in Lee County Florida, which is home to 8,420 people, according to Census Reporter. Lee County has suffered the most deaths with 54 reported to date.
Some islanders have returned to the ruins of the island to find some of their belongings in what they can collect in plastic bags. Some valuables were deemed beyond repair after being covered in mold.
“Goodbye home,” entrepreneur Alexandra Fasulo wrote on Instagram alongside several videos of her Pine Island community, mostly seen underwater with the outlines of homes visible.
‘My home is total, most of my things have been put together and my homeland has been washed into the sea. I was able to save 3 garbage bags of clothes. Had to leave the rest as mold has reclaimed the whole house. Materials can be replaced, of course, but the time I spent collecting books, antiques, and clothing I’ve had for 10 years cannot. It’s the lost time that hurts.’
Reflecting on life before Ian, she continued: ‘I wish you could have seen the city just a week ago. Fresh catch from local fishermen, people from all over the world casting their lines from the bridge, tourists pouring into Leoma’s famous art gallery, glasses clinking in Bert’s Bar and the bright lime green paint that covered my little cottage in the Gulf. It was a beautiful sight.’
Meanwhile, residents of Fort Myers Beach, also in Florida, were warned they may not be able to return to their waterlogged homes for months due to the devastation that has hit the coastal community.
Residents are grieving their loss as some people have lost their entire livelihoods, especially in the 40-square-mile block of Pine Island in Lee County, home to 8,420 people
Some islanders have returned to the ruins of the island to find some of their belongings in what they can gather in plastic bags
The colorful Pine Island before the devastating hurricane that left the island in ruins
Many Florida residents are without power, and Pine Island and Sanibel Island are among the last jurisdictions to have power restored, according to NPR.
More than 117,000 residents are without electricity in Florida Friday morning.
Some homes in Florida, including in Lee and DeSoto counties, can only be reached by boat as flooding continues.
Residents in DeSoto County have been stranded in their homes for days as the National Guard continues to deliver food and water, according to Reuters.
Meanwhile, some communities were left unscathed, including Babcook Ranch in Charlotte County, Florida.