By GARY POPP
Skeletal remains were found in a wooded area behind Faith Lutheran Church along Allison Lane in Jeffersonville on Friday morning.
Police said Friday afternoon that the identity of the remains had not been determined. The remains were found by a groundskeeper preparing to mow the lawn behind the church, Jeffersonville Police Detective Todd Hollis said.
JPD was contacted about 9 a.m., and officials from Jefferson County Medical Examiner’s Office were reached to assist in processing the scene located about one quarter of a mile from Jeffersonville High School.
“Our detectives were called to the scene. We had the coroner’s office at the scene. An anthropologist has been contacted and is at the scene now,” Hollis said. “We have confirmed the skeletal remains are human.”
He said officials were working to collect the bones and other items in the area that my be relevant in finding the identity of the remains and, possibly, how the person was died.
“There is some clothing and other items that we found around the body,” Hollis said. “We will be collecting those, examining those to see if there is anything in that clothing that might help identify who that person was.”
He said the skeleton fits the dimensions of an adult-sized person, but couldn’t say with certainty if the deceased was an adult or child. Hollis said the duration that the remains had been at the location also remained unresolved.
“All the remains are skeletal, so yes [it appears the body had been there for a while], but, of course, it is outside, and a body left outside decomposes at a much faster rate than it would if it was in a home or a building,” Hollis said.
He said no factors had been revealed at the time suggesting the remains had been the victim of a homicide, but police are following proper protocol.
“We have to treat this as a possible crime until we can eliminate that possibility,” Hollis said. “We have to investigate all angles. This could be someone that died accidentally, naturally or a homicide or suicide.”
The body was found more than 100 yards behind the church near a creek bed in a dense, unkempt wooded area with foliage that would have keep the body out of plain sight, especially, during the summer months, Hollis said. He said the discovery of the remains has spurred JPD officers to review missing-persons reports.
“We are checking our missing-persons records to see if we have any active missing-persons cases and if those match the remains, once we have been able to make a better determination through the anthropologist whether it’s male, female,” Hollis said. “We might even be able to determine the race of the deceased.”
Hollis said there is go guarantee a match will be made through those reports.
“There is also a possibility that this is also a transient person with no missing-person file,” he said. “It is very early in the investigation and we just don’t know a whole lot yet.”
An official with the church was contacted by News and Tribune on Friday, but he declined to provide comment.