GREENSBORO, N.C. -- A week after a 13-year-old girl found human remains near Fairfax Road in Greensboro, Greensboro police say three families of missing persons have contacted the police department about whether the remains could be those of their loved ones.
Captain Mike Richey, the commanding officer for the criminal investigations division, explained based on what investigators do know about the remains, they were able to preliminary rule out the possibility these remains belonged to those families' loved ones. He said investigators used a tentative timeline to draw this conclusion, but he could not disclose specifics and cited potential criminal proceedings if the incident is ruled a homicide.
Investigators have not determined whether the situation surrounding the human remains discovery was a homicide, accident or otherwise. That is why, he said, there currently are no suspects. Investigators have, however, questioned families whose homes surround the site at which the remains were found.
The medical examiner's full assessment will not be available for several weeks, Richey explained. The lengthy process of evaluating human remains involves several steps, beginning with the on-site excavation process conducted by police and CSI. They use a systematic grid chart system and remove the top layer of debris from the bones and also sift through the surrounding material. They then carefully piece the remains together and take an inventory of what bones are present and which ones are missing from the skeleton. Then, the bones are sent to the the medical examiner's office in Raleigh, where the medical examiner studies the bones to determine gender, race, age, past injuries, known diseases and any obvious signs of death or trauma.
Richey said based on investigators' initial assessment, there was no apparent sign of trauma. But, he said that does not necessarily mean no trauma was present--on organs, for example. Richey confirmed the skeletal remains found made up almost a full skeleton. He said this is the first case since 2004 in which human remains were found in Greensboro in such a near-complete condition.
Richey said after the medical examiner's assessment is complete, investigators will use the identifying factors and appeal to the public for assistance in identifying the victim. Until then, police encourage anyone with information about this situation to call Crime Stoppers at 333-373-1000.