ELMORE COUNTY -- The skeletal remains of two young people found in a badger hole in mid-April could predate Christopher Columbus' landing in the Americas, sheriff's officials said Tuesday.
Laboratory testing revealed the pair died sometime between 1436 and 1632 - a span of 385 to 581 years ago. Elmore County Sheriff Mike Hollinshead said one of the people was likely in his or her 20s, while the other was 10 to 15 when he or she died.
The new estimates are departure from earlier guesses that one of the dead was a baby or toddler, and the other was a teenager.
The sexes and causes of death are unknown, but researchers were able to figure out that both had largely corn-based diets.
The Bureau of Land Management is reaching out to local Native American tribes in hopes of tracing the bones' heritage. Hollinshead said the skeletal remains did not appear to be part of a larger burial site.
Several tribes have already reached out to the sheriff's office with a possible claim.
The bones' ages were determined through testing at Boise State University and laboratories in Miami, Florida and Arizona.
The discovery of the remains' ages effectively puts to rest theories sparked in the wake of their April discovery that sought to connect the bones to missing persons cases around Idaho.
In particular, many people questioned whether the remains thought to belong to a young child could be those of DeOrr Kunz Jr., a 2-year-old boy who was reported missing during a camping trip near Leadore in 2015.
The Elmore County Sheriff's Office is no longer investigating the case as a possible homicide.
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