ST. GEORGE – The human remains found by children playing near Colorado City on Nov. 11 have now been sent to a forensic anthropologist for further analysis.
Children hiking and gathering firewood with their mother in a desert area that Mohave County Sheriff’s Office described as between Colorado City and a stretch of Bureau of Land Management land about nine-tenths of a mile from U.S. Highway 389 happened upon bones that were later identified as human. The bones were recovered by the Sheriff’s office and taken to the Mojave County Medical Examiner’s office for autopsy. The Medical Examiner’s office notified the Sheriff’s Office this week that the bones have been sent to an anthropologist.
Forensic anthropologists are specifically trained to examine skeletal remains and determine the age, sex, ancestry and height, Arizona forensic anthropologist Laura Fulginiti said. Anthropologists would also look for any unusual characteristics such as evidence of a previous fractured leg, knee replacement surgery or open heart surgery, she said, in an effort to identify the deceased.
“A good forensic anthropologist would be able to determine all of that,” Fuginiti said.
In addition, a forensic anthropologist would conduct trauma analysis looking for evidence of gunshot wounds, blunt force trauma or any other cause of death, Fuginiti said. Scene recovery analysis is also important in determining how long the remains have been there. This is accomplished by examining evidence from the location where the remains were found including insect infestation or animal involvement, she said, among other things.
“I will most likely receive those remains on Monday,” said Amy Kelly-McLaughlin, consulting forensic anthropologist for Mojave County. “In order to preserve the integrity of the bones, DNA samples will not be taken prior to my examination,” she said.
The DNA testing will then be performed by the Mojave County Medical Examiner after the remains are returned to their office.
Ed. note: U.S. Highway 389 was first mistakenly written as Highway 38. Correction made.
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