Thurston County detectives were working Monday to determine the identity of human remains initially reported Saturday after a dog returned to its owner carrying a human leg in its mouth.
About 2:30 p.m. Saturday dispatchers received word that the dog had carried the leg, including a foot, to its owner’s residence on the Nisqually Indian Reservation.
Thurston County Sheriff's Sgt. Ray Brady said a subsequent search area by deputies Saturday and Sunday turned up a rib cage, pelvis, parts of a skull, a jawbone with teeth and other human tissue.
The search spanned an area encompassing the 13600 block of Peter Kalama Drive, areas near the Nisqually River, an old fish hatchery and adjacent roads in the area.
Brady said the body parts appeared to have been scattered and partially eaten by wild animals, a factor which complicates the investigation.
The body parts found over the weekend were not covered in any clothing, Brady said. The Thurston County Coroner's office on Tuesday will continue its work in trying to identify the remains, Brady said. Detectives on Monday were reviewing missing persons and runaway reports, trying to find a possible match, he added.
"I don't know at this point what the coroner's office is leaning toward as far as cause of death," Brady said. "There's clearly some signs that there's a potential for foul play, but the full determination is pending the full investigation by the coroner's office."
Brady said there are no obvious signs of trauma that would indicate a cause of death. He added that sheriff's detectives have a good idea of whether the remains belong to a man or woman, but revealing that may compromise the ongoing investigation.
Thurston County Coroner Gary Warnock has said his office will examine the remains to see if there are any tool marks, such as those created by a handsaw or something electric. Warnock said Monday that his office will continue its work on Tuesday. The coroner's office is closed Monday due to Veteran's Day.
Brady said anyone with information on the remains that may assist detectives in their investigation should call Thurston County dispatch at 360-704-2749 or Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS.
Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5445 firstname.lastname@example.org