Bones found in Mercer County declared human

By Lance Mihm -

CELINA — Experts that examined bones and other evidence from a site at Grand Lake St. Marys have determined at least some of the bones were human.

Mercer County Sheriff Jeff Grey made the announcement at a press conference Friday and said that the incident will now be investigated as a homicide.

Grey said bones and other evidence collected were transported to the Montgomery County Coroner’s office on Tuesday. At that office, detectives met with Dr. Elizabeth Murray, a forensic anthropologist from Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati. An autopsy performed at that time determined some of the bones to be human.

A preliminary conclusion from the autopsy determined the victim to be a male with an age range of 20-35 and a height of 5-foot-7 to 6-foot-1.

“It appears that the bones were exposed to the elements for less than six months,” Grey said. “So we are putting it sometime in 2015 that the body was placed there.”

After the autopsy, some of the bones were taken to the Bureau of Criminal Investigation lab in London for analysis and extraction of DNA evidence. The DNA sample will be run in the FBI’s criminal justice database for a possible investigation. The bones then will be sent to the University of North Texas for further examination with specialists to try to collect more information. Grey estimated that examination would take approximately six months. That information will then be run in a national database for missing people.

Grey said due to the investigation, how many bones or what type of bones collected would not be released. However, he said that other evidence collected at the scene indicates the possibility of foul play.

“There are a lot of unanswered questions at this point,” Grey said, “but we do have places to start. Moving forward, this will be treated as a homicide.”

Grey said that evidence currently suggests that there is just one victim. Some of the other bones found at the site off of U.S. 127 near Coldwater Creek a mile south of Celina were determined to be animal bones.

By Lance Mihm

Reach Lance Mihm at 567-242-0409 or at Twitter@LanceMihm

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Reach Lance Mihm at 567-242-0409 or at Twitter@LanceMihm