OLYMPIA — An arm was the latest body part found by searchers in the remote area of western Washington where a dog brought a human leg to a home and investigators hope they’ll eventually be able to identify the person and whether the death was a homicide.
Thurston County Coroner Gary Warnock said he was notified of the find Wednesday morning, as sheriff’s deputies continue searching around an old fish hatchery in a wooded area along the Nisqually River.
All the body parts have been found within a mile of each other on the Nisqually Indian Reservation, about 45 miles south of Seattle.
A dog brought a leg to its owner home on Nov. 5. Then, searchers went out last weekend and found a rib cage, pelvis and part of a skull, including a jawbone with teeth.
The parts appear to come from the same person. Judging by the size, it was an adult, not a child, Warnock said.
But the coroner was unable to say whether it was a man or woman, how long ago the person died and how the body was dismembered.
The leg and foot was to be examined later Wednesday by a pathologist who might be able to say whether the body was cut with tools or pulled apart by scavenging animals.
All the body parts were being sent to the King County medical examiner’s office in Seattle on Thursday for study by an anthropologist who might be able to determine age, sex and height.
They’ll also try to reconstruct the skull for any sign of injuries, Warnock said. There’s no proof now of a crime, he said.
It’s unknown yet whether there are fingerprints or dental records that could be used to identify the body.