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Worker was dead in department store bathroom for 4 days

Bessie Durham, who worked for an outside company that cleans the Belk store at Columbiana Centre, was found dead Monday.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A 63-year-old worker died in the public bathroom of a South Carolina department store, but her body was not discovered for four days, authorities said.

Bessie Durham, who worked for an outside company that cleans the Belk store at Columbiana Centre, was found dead Monday, investigators said. Her cleaning cart was outside the restroom.

Durham was last seen Thursday at work and her body was found shortly after her family filed a missing person report, Columbia Deputy Police Chief Melron Kelly, told WIS-TV.

The Lexington County Coroner's Office said there are no signs someone killed Durham or that she was using drugs. An autopsy is planned Thursday to determine her cause of death.

Durham was seen on a surveillance camera going in the bathroom at 7 a.m. Thursday and she did not come out. Her body was found around 8 p.m. Monday, the coroner's office said.

The store was open regularly over those four days and Kelly said police are investigating to see if anyone was negligent.

“We’re still working with the store to find out what their process is to closing down the store, inspecting the store and things of that nature,” Kelly said.

Belk is helping authorities figure out what happened and is sending its deepest condolences to Durham's family, the company said in a statement.

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