Editor’s note: This article has been updated to correct information about the area’s boundary streets.
An investigation is underway to determine the identity of human skeletal remains found Saturday evening in a densely wooded area of Pettis County.
According to a Pettis County Sheriff’s Office news release, a Missouri Department of Conservation agent reported to the sheriff’s office that he had located human bones Saturday in a wooded area near the Eagle Brook Farm subdivision.
Sheriff Kevin Bond told the Democrat that deputies made contact with the agent around dusk Saturday and took custody of the scene, remaining there all night. Since it was dark, he said they didn’t investigate until daylight Sunday morning when they could get resources to the scene. Bond said he didn’t have any further information about how the agent located the remains but did note the remains were found on the surface rather than buried.
“It was a very densely wooded area,” Bond said. “We had to hike a good way from anywhere that vehicles would be able to access.”
While the news release identified the wooded area as being near the Eagle Brook Farm neighborhood, Bond said investigators didn’t access the scene from that subdivision. He said the area is roughly bounded by 16th Street on the north, 28th Street on the south, New York Avenue on the west and Marshall Avenue on the east.
Bond said the remains were entirely skeletal and that they have been there “an extended amount of time.” He added that most of the skeleton was recovered.
The sheriff’s office and Pettis County Coroner Skip Smith contacted the Boone County Medical Examiner’s Office for assistance, and a forensic anthropologist and an investigator helped process the scene. The Sedalia-Pettis County Emergency Management Agency and the Pettis County Fire Protection District also assisted with equipment and resources.
The remains and a small amount of evidence also found with the remains were transported to the Columbia facility for further analysis.
“They’re working to positively identify the remains, hopefully we can figure out who they belong to,” Bond said.
Bond said there was little other evidence found, only personal items in “an extended state of decay.” He said none of that evidence is individually identifying.
“There are no leads at this point, we just processed the scene today (Sunday). At this point we’ll be waiting for identification,” Bond said. “Certainly, if anyone has any information we would encourage them to contact the sheriff’s office or Crime Stoppers hotline. The forensic anthropologist will be inspecting the skeleton to be able to see if there’s signs of trauma or anything that might indicate how the person came to be deceased.”
Bond said a criminal investigation has not been opened and the case is only being investigated at this time regarding found human remains.
“We have not opened a criminal investigation until we get more evidence to see how to proceed with it,” he said.
Anyone with information can contact the Pettis County Sheriff’s Office at 660-827-0052 or the Pettis County Crime Stoppers Hotline at 660-827-TIPS (8477).