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Identifying skull, bone incomplete

Awaiting confirmation from Montgomery County

The investigation into a skull and femur found in Wayne National Forest in November continues.

On Nov. 25, an out-of-state hunter was in the woods in Aid Township and came across a skull. He notified the sheriff’s office and deputies collected the skull. During a search of the area, deputies came across what looked like a femur bone.

The bones were sent to a pathologist in Montgomery County for examination.

Lawrence County Sheriff Jeff Lawless said they haven’t heard anything yet.

“The bones are still there at Montgomery County,” he said. “We haven’t got any reports back from the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office, which is doing the pathology on that.”

Detectives think they know who the individual is, but need official confirmation.

Lawless said once they do hear back from the pathologist, they would notify the family first.

“There could be several factors on why we haven’t heard back,” he said. “We could be down the list from all the other agencies they assist. Or they are still working on the DNA. It could just be the fact they are backlogged.”

Lawless said, at the time of discovery, that the skull appeared to have two bullet holes, one of which appears to be an entrance hole and the other is the exit hole.

Since the forest floor was covered in leaves, detectives marked the area surrounding where the skull was found into a grid pattern and then return with people who could search the area with as little disruption as possible. And because of the bullet holes, they wanted to bring in a metal detector to see if they could locate a gun.

Detectives were notified that family members of a local missing man had gone into the area on Nov. 26 and found more human bones and a handgun near the bones.

Detectives collected those from the family and proceeded back to the location.

While there, clothing items officers believed to be associated with the bones were found with the help of metal detectors.