Wednesday, October 27, 2010

No details released on human remains

Investigation into Oct. 15 discovery continues

Express Staff Writer

A week and a half into an investigation of human bones found by a hunter on Oct. 15, the Blaine County Sheriff's Office is still declining to release details about the discovery.

"I'd request that we not release a lot of information," sheriff's Lt. Jay Davis told the press Monday.

Davis declined to say where the remains were found, explaining that if anyone comes forward with information, investigators don't want it influenced by what is reported by the news media.

"We have bones," Davis said. "We don't have a positive I.D."

Last week, he described the remains as bones that are "old and not recent." It was reported that the bones were found in the Wood River Valley area.

Davis said the bones had been shipped to a laboratory for analysis to determine cause of death and identity, but said he wouldn't disclose where the bones had been sent to prevent any distraction in the investigation.

The sheriff's office is maintaining open investigations into three missing Blaine County residents: Albert J. Pitkethly, missing since September 2001; Robert Swaner, missing since July 2001 (his vehicle was found at a Fisher Creek trailhead in Custer County); and Richard Bendele, missing since November 1996.

"If anyone has any information about another missing person or these current missing persons, please contact the sheriff's office," Davis said.

Davis said the department doesn't have a forensic anthropologist at its disposal.

Blaine County Coroner Russ Mikel said he had seen the bones at the site where they were found, but had not yet been granted access to them to do his work, which is to determine cause of death. He said normally the bones would be returned to him and he would base his report on a forensic pathologist's analysis of the remains.

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