Long-time officer, child advocate dies fighting COVID-19

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By HEATHER WALTERS 

heatheriwalters02@gmail.com

A long-serving Colleton County law enforcement officer has died from COVID-19. 

Colleton County Sheriff’s Office Detective Sgt. Edward “Superman” Marcurella died at Colleton Medical Center at 10:21 p.m. on January 16. His death was the result of medical complications with pneumonia and a “short battle” with the coronavirus, according to the sheriff’s office. 

His body was escorted from Colleton Medical Center by multiple law enforcement officers. 

“Sgt. Marcurella was a valued member of the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office who spent 35 years of his life as a first responder. His selflessness, integrity, and dedication to serve and protect the community were immeasurable,” said Colleton County Sheriff Guerry L. “Buddy” Hill. 

Hill’s statements were released via a press release sent to the community in the early morning hours of Sunday Jan. 17. 

“He was an avid member of the Lowcountry Human Trafficking Task Force and Internet Crimes Against Children,” said Hill. “His life’s passion was to bring justice to children without a voice and end the human trafficking epidemic. 

“In addition to being a detective, he was a veteran, firefighter, paramedic, bomb specialist and SWAT team member,” said Hill. 

In honor of Sgt. Marcurella, members of the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office have set up a memorial: a patrol car is parked in front of the sheriff’s office headquarters at 394 Mable T. Willis Blvd. in Walterboro. According to sheriff’s office spokesman Shalane Lowes, the public is welcome to visit the memorial and “reflect.” 

On Monday, the patrol car was adorned with balloons and flowers to honor Sgt. Marcurella. 

According to the national Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), more officers have died nationally of Covid-19 in 2020 than any type of incident, including bullet wounds and traffic collisions. 

“It has become the most deadly thing we’ve dealt with in law enforcement, certainly since 9/11,” said Steve James, the National Trustee for the California Fraternal Order of Police. James’ comments were released nationally and have been printed in multiple news outlets across the United States. 

According to James, the death toll for law enforcement officers who have been medically diagnosed with Covid-19 is “rising every day.” James said 368 officers nationwide have died from Covid-19. 

In Colleton County, Sgt. Marcurella was the first documented police officer who died from complications related to the coronavirus. 

“The Colleton County Sheriff’s Office is not only honored to call Sgt. Marcurella a friend, but family. As we mourn, we ask the community to keep Sgt. Marcurella’s family, friends, and colleagues in your thoughts and prayers during this challenging time,” said Hill. 

“Sgt. Marcurella may be gone, but his legacy will live on in our hearts forever.” 

(His funeral services which will be at 3 p.m. Saturday Jan. 23, 2021, on the campus of the Colleton County High School, 150 Cougar Nation Dr., Walterboro. See complete obituary, page 7.)

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