Sheriffs investigate discovery of human remains

The bones were most likely used for commercial purposes.

Bones discovered near Easley were determined to most likely be used for an anatomical display.

The Boone County Sheriff Department closed the case Thursday night on human remains found in southern Boone County.

The bones were most likely used for commercial purposes, Detective Tom O’Sullivan said. They contained fastening hardware consistent with a skeletal anatomical display model, a news release stated.

“This is pure speculation, but the med. school would have a skeleton hanging up in a lab something like that,” O’Sullivan said. “Primarily if I had to take a guess, it’s probably something used for educational purposes or maybe something for the sale of medical equipment, something like that.”

O’Sullivan said no schools or hospitals have reported missing skeletal anatomical display models. He also said there was no sign of foul play on the bones.

Two citizens walking a dog on River Road near Easley found the remains on the bank of the Missouri River and reported them to the Sheriff’s Department. They found a jawbone and two or three other bones, O’Sullivan said.

The bones were brought to the Sheriff’s Department and examined by the Boone County Medical Examiner’s Office and an anthropologist from MU, the news release stated.

O’Sullivan said finding human remains is uncommon in Columbia. In the 24 years he has worked at the Sheriff’s Department he has only heard of one other case, which took place in the early 1990s. Those remains were part of a homicide case.

“It doesn’t happen very often where somebody finds these kind of bones or human bones,” he said. “Every now and then we’ll get called out, somebody finds bones but they’re cow bones or pig bones or dog bones.”

It is unknown whether the bones came from the river or were placed on the bank, O’Sullivan said.

“It very well could have just washed up out of the river, heck the thing could have floated down here from Kansas City,” he said. “We don’t know.”

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