The human remains first discovered by a dog on the Nisqually Indian Reservation Nov. 5 belong to an adult woman, who "was dismembered by human means," according to the Thurston County Sheriff's Office.
Thurston County Sheriff's Sgt. Ray Brady said detectives still do not know how the woman was dismembered, or how she died.
"All the recovered pieces of bone, they weren't dismembered by animals," Brady said Thursday. "There was more indication they were dismembered by human means."
The sheriff's office is investigating the death as a homicide, Brady said.
The information about the gender of the remains and the evidence that they were dismembered was released late Thursday afternoon after a forensic anthropologist examined them in King County, Brady said.
Brady added that the woman appears to have light skin, but her race has not been determined. Her age and cause of death are unknown, he said.
"Since day one we've been investigating the death as a homicide," he said. "I don't think this changes our investigation in any way, because we still don't know cause of death."
The sheriff's investigation began on Saturday, after a man who lives on Peter Kalama Drive reported that his dog had brought home a human leg four days earlier.
Since then, various remains — all belonging to the woman — have been found by law enforcement and search-and-rescue officials. A rib cage, a pelvis, parts of a skull, a jawbone with teeth, an arm bone and another piece of skull were sent to the forensic anthropologist in King County.
Because some of the remains still had tissue on them, they likely weren't there for longer than several months, Brady said.
Thurston County Coroner Gary Warnock said his priority is to identify the remains and determine a cause and manner of death. Dental records might be of use in identifying the woman, he said. "We've got excellent dental," Warnock said, referring to a full set of teeth that have been recovered.