10/15/12 — Expert is examining bone find

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Expert is examining bone find

By Steve Herring
Published in News on October 15, 2012 1:46 PM

Human bones unearthed last month by a work crew appear to have been buried for a "long, long time," an official with the state medical examiner's office said Friday.

Wayne County Sheriff's Office Major Tom Effler said there was no evidence of any crime. People in the community related stories they had heard over the years concerning old graveyards in the area, Effler said.

The bones were uncovered on Sept. 15 by a construction crew working on the new U.S. 70 Bypass near Salem Church Road where work was temporarily halted the work until the Wayne County Sheriff's Office could be contacted.

The area was cordoned off and work in the surrounding area was allowed to resume.

DOT archaeologist Paul Mohler examined the area to ensure there were no other remains.

"The skull, long bones and vertebra recovered show signs that they have been buried for a long, long time," said Clyde Gibbs, a medical examiner specialist with the state medical examiner's office. "The bones are breaking down and falling apart."

Gibbs said all of the long bones are broken, possibly caused by the pressure of the dirt or by the equipment that uncovered them. Also, dirt is falling out of the inside of the bones and the skull is full of dirt, too, he said.

There is no evidence of bullet or knife wounds on the remains, he said. The skull shows no sign of trauma, Gibbs said.

The bones will be sent to the state archeologist's office, he said.

That office will examine the remains and search for information about possible gravesites, including Native American sites, in the area where the bones were discovered, he said.