Investigators work to identify bones found in Vernon - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Investigators work to identify bones found in Vernon


Police are trying to determine whose human remains were discovered in a wooded area in Vernon.

An art student from Manchester Community College found a human skull at the old Rockville Landfill near a brook Wednesday afternoon.

He picked it up, brought it to his house and then contacted the authorities.

After the discovery, the Vernon Police Department, with assistance from state police, started a criminal investigation into the remains.

Following the initial discovery, a hip and femur bone were located, according to the medical examiner.

The medical examiner said he believes the skull, which was filled with broken teeth, belongs to a white woman in her 30s.

Investigators remained at the crime scene through the weekend, working day and night to gather more evidence.

A cadaver dog as well as the medical examiner and state archaeologist were brought to help with the investigation.

Over the weekend, Dr. Nicholas Bellantoni, who is the state's archaeologist, told Eyewitness News he's usually called in when remains are 50 years old or more, though he's been called in on other occasions as well.

Police aren't releasing too many more details other than to say this death is suspicious. The crime scene remained active Monday afternoon.

Vernon police are working closely with the medical examiner and Bellantoni on the investigation. 

"This may have been one of the most difficult recovery operations I've worked on," said Bellantoni. "If the remains are old and historic, then the medical examiner will turn the investigation over to me."

This investigation has sparked speculation that the remains could belong to one of three young girls from the Vernon and Tolland area, who went missing during the 60s and 70s.

However, the medical examiner on Friday told Eyewitness News he doesn't believe these remains are connected to any of the girls.

The medical examiner also told Eyewitness News that the state forensic lab will likely be able to get a hit off DNA from dental records.

The investigation has residents talking in town.

"Once identifiable, then I could see who, because we usually know everyone around here," said George Popp of Vernon.

No trespassing signs have been posted in the area of the crime scene.

"I hope they can figure it out, and bring someone to justice," said Joann Pugh of Vernon. "It's scary."

The Tolland State's Attorney's Office and the officer of the chief medical examiner are also assisting in the investigation.

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