Authorities continue investigation into remains found at Eel River
Published: Monday, November 5, 2012 at 1:44 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, November 5, 2012 at 5:35 p.m.
The skeletal remains of an adult buried in a shallow grave near the banks of the Eel River now are being examined for signs of trauma and identity, a Mendocino County sheriff's lieutenant reported Monday.
While it remained unclear how long the body had been there, sheriff's detectives may search missing persons reports back to the 1970s, said sheriff's Lt. Greg Van Pattoen.
The death is considered a homicide.
It took about eight hours to carefully remove the skeleton from its burial site. The lengthy excavation on Halloween included stormy weather.
The grave was found last week near the rural community of Piercy.
A hiker walking near the river had gone to take a look at shoes that appeared to be discarded and found skeletal feet inside the decomposing sneakers.
The excavation found the body about 3 feet down on a slope, its feet nearest the bank. The soil wore away over time, revealing the shoes.
Under a canopy and tarp for rain protection, two Chico State anthropology professors and two students worked with detectives looking for evidence, Van Patten said.
The remains were taken to the university. The anthropologists' examination was expected to take several weeks.
The lieutenant asked anyone with information to call 234-2100.
You can reach Staff Writer Randi Rossmann at 521-5412 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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