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Search of area where bone was found proves fruitless



Published: Sun, August 18, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The jawbone will be kept as evidence by the coroner's office.

By JOHN W. GOODWIN JR.

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

LAKE MILTON -- A Milton Township man found a human jawbone on his property in June, but an extensive search by authorities Saturday did not produce the body to which it belongs.

Township police, members of the Mahoning County Coroner's Office and the Canine Aided Emergency Search and Rescue team, a volunteer group of search and rescue dogs based in Greenville, Pa., searched the property where the bone was found.

Five search dogs tracked the scent of the bone around the 17 acres.

Gerri Miller, a rescue team trainer, said the team considered the exercise a forensic search, where the dogs have only the weaker scent from a bone on which to search.

She said such searches require specialized training for the dogs and are rarely needed, but any remains in the area would likely be detected by the animals.

How it was found

Township resident Darrin Parry said he and a group of friends were shooting targets behind his home in June using a 7-foot-high pile of slag as a backstop.

At one point, Parry stepped close to the pile and found an intact human jawbone. Police were called, and the area was sealed off as a crime scene.

The dogs searched the pile, then earth-moving equipment was brought in to spread the slag around a small area. The dogs searched the pile a second time, but found nothing in it or other areas where the slag was used.

Parry said the more than 150 tons of slag was purchased from the former Heckett Engineering Co. about eight years ago. He said the slag has been used in various projects around his 17 acres and given to neighbors for projects over the years.

Dental work

Dawn Wiles, coroner's investigator, said the jawbone will be kept as evidence. She said it is possible that future evidence may help to identify the individual from whom the bone came.

"It is always possible that any dental work that may have been done or other identifying characteristics could be matched to the bone sometime in the future," she said.

Wiles said the bone is believed to be that of a female who was between 18 and 49. No other determinations could be made from the bone, she added.

Coroner Dr. David Kennedy said it was initially believed the bone was used as a teaching tool for forensics or anatomy. An anthropologist who looked at the bone, however, determined that was not likely.

jgoodwin@vindy.com




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