Human remains could be much older than first thought

Dave Brooksher

Redwood Times

The Mendocino County sheriff’s office is still awaiting forensic testing results in the case of a body recently discovered close to the South Fork Eel River, near Piercy. More information is expected in mid-December, when test results from the Human Identification Lab at California State University Chico are available.

Until they know more about the decedent, it won’t be possible for law enforcement to begin connecting the body to ongoing missing persons investigations. According to detective sergeant Greg van Patten, the reporting party indicated that the shoe sticking out of the riverbank, which led to the body’s discovery had been visible for at least three years - but van Patten suspects it may have been there long before that. That open-ended timeframe means that law enforcement will have to consider cases dating back several decades.

Due to the crime scene’s proximity to the county line, van Patten believes the victim could be from either Humboldt or Mendocino. It’s also possible that the victim may have been passing through from other jurisdictions - potentially making it even more difficult to determine his or her identity.