OLYMPIA — Investigators are trying to answer questions about body parts found by searchers after a dog brought a human leg to a home in western Washington.
It’s too early to tell if the remains are from a man, woman or child, how long ago the person died and even whether the death is a homicide, Thurston County Coroner Gary Warnock said Tuesday.
Investigators with the coroner’s office and Thurston County sheriff’s office are checking records for missing persons and runaways, but there’s no guarantee the body will be identified, Warnock said.
A pet dog picked up the leg Nov. 5 and brought it to a home on the Nisqually Indian Reservation, about 45 miles south of Seattle.
Fearing he would be accused of a crime, the 93-year-old homeowner buried the leg, and authorities weren’t called until Saturday when he told his daughter.
Searchers then found a rib cage, pelvis and part of a skull including a jawbone with teeth near an old fish hatchery on the Nisqually River.
The body parts were apparently scattered by wild animals, which complicates the investigation.
Warnock said his investigation would look for signs of tool marks that would indicate whether the body was dismembered by a person rather than a large animal.
The body parts found over the weekend were not covered in any clothing, sheriff’s Sgt. Ray Brady told The Olympian.
There was no obvious indication of the cause of death, but “clearly some signs that there’s a potential for foul play,” he said.