A Tacoma fisherman led Tacoma police detectives and forensic experts Monday afternoon to the spot on a remote beach at Point Defiance Park where he found two human bones last month.
A low tide enabled Roget Garrett III, 28, and police to get to the site, about a half hour walk west from Owen Beach.
Garrett said he found the two large bones Feb. 20 while he was fishing there.
They were tangled in a shredded sleeping bag that was still there today, he said in a telephone interview from the beach.
Never miss a local story.
The Pierce County Medical Examiner determined Feb. 23 that they were human.
Garrett said the beach where he found them and where he has gone fishing for cod and red snapper since he was 8 years old is usually covered by water except for a couple times a month when the tide is low.
“I’ve seen all kinds of things washed up here,” he said, “a deer carcass, a seal carcass. I’ve seen lots of bones. These are the biggest bones I’ve ever seen.”
He said they were dark and discolored. “The sea had really done a job on them,’ he added.
Garrett recalled that Feb. 20 was a “really nice day.”
He remembered that he had walked past them on his way out to the point to fish. They were still there when he came back and was surprised they were still there because there were so many dogs running on the beach at low tide.
He said they looked like they could be human, so he put them in his tackle box. He snapped some pictures of them, too.
“I didn’t want them to wash out with the tide,” he said.
He later Googled human skeletal bones on his computer to see photos of human bones. “They did look like a tibia and a fibula bone,” he said.
He called a friend of his who had been a medic in Iraq, who said they looked to be human leg bones.
He estimated the size of the bone as the same as a shin bone.
Garrett called police who came and picked them up.
He also had found a barnacle-encrusted pint bottle of Wild Turkey whiskey next to the sleeping bag and he thought it probably came in with the bag.
“I wish I had picked up the bottle. It may have had something to do with the bones,” he said.
He couldn’t find the bottle today, adding that it was probably moved by the tides.
Garrett said his job on the beach was serving as the “turn people around” guy on the beach so forensics could do their work.
He said that because of the beach’s remoteness, police had called for a boat to come pick up the remains of the sleeping bag.
“We are here for a couple of hours, when the tide comes in,” Garrett said.