Human remains found in Pistol River

Written by Scott Graves, Pilot staff writer January 09, 2013 12:10 pm

The Oregon State Police forensic team spent most of today (Jan. 9) uncovering and examining human remains discovered on a brush-covered embankment just south of the Pistol River Bridge.

“It’s a full human skeleton with some clothing remnants. We don’t know if it’s male or female,” said OSP Sgt. Andrew Kenyon at 10:45 a.m. this morning. 

 The Oregon State Police forensic team spent most of today (Jan. 9) uncovering and examining human remains discovered on a brush-covered embankment just south of the Pistol River Bridge.

The skeleton was discovered at noon Tuesday by a member of a construction crew doing work on the nearby bridge, Kenyon said. The worker was clearing brush on an embankment on the oceanside of Highway 101 when he discovered a partially covered human skull and bones about 20 feet from the road, he said.

“At first I thought we were dealing with a burial site, but the body appears to be laying on its back, face up, and dirt and vegetation has grown up around it,” Kenyon said.

There was also evidence of decomposed clothing next to the remains.

Upon receiving a call about the body Tuesday, Curry County Sheriff deputies cordoned off the site with yellow crime scene tape and erected a makeshift tarp to protect the scene until OSP crime lab personnel could arrive Wednesday morning. An OSP officer guarded the site overnight.

The forensic team arrived at about 8 a.m. and were expected to work throughout the day, in cold, rainy weather, excavating the remains, taking photos and measurements, and collecting other evidence. Official hope to learn the identity of the person and possibly what may have happened.

“There many different scenarios,” Kenyon said. “It could be one of many transients that travel the highway, perhaps someone who died of exposure; or it could have been the victim of a hit and run.”

It could take week or months before authorities learn the identity of the person, if ever, he said. 

“In a best case scenario, we will find some form of ID, perhaps a wallet, underneath the body,” he said. “Otherwise, we might have to depend on dental records and check the missing persons database.”