It has been a mystery for the last six weeks and now there are answers as to the identification of bones found along the Mississippi River bank across from Hannibal, Missouri.
The discovery was made back in mid September and after several weeks of analysis, Pike County Illinois Sheriff Paul Petty says he got his answer from the FBI lab in Quantico, Virginia.
"They are Native American. There is believed to be at least five children in those remains and one adult. They were able to tell that numerous ways," said Petty.
Petty said it wasn't easy at first to get the bones identified. But a few days after they were discovered, they were sent to the FBI Headquarters. Advance technology led the FBI to tell Sheriff Petty the bones did consist of the children and an adult. So now he's working to make sure the bones are honored and they have the proper reburial.
"We have now been in contact with the Army Corps of Engineers whose property that is. We are working with the Illinois Preservation Society so we may return those remains to a rightful place whether it be a museum and or return them to a burial site," said Petty.
Petty said FBI technicians were able to date the bones back several hundred years. He went onto say that historical research shows the area where they were discovered was adjacent to the river at that time and was probably an easy area to bury the people who died because of the soft ground next to the river. Over time Petty thinks the bones worked their way to the surface and because of the low water level it exposed them to eventually be discovered.
Petty said when the bones were first discovered back in September, his office received phone calls and inquiries about several cold cases that involved people that are still considered missing.
He says he's glad that forensic technology was able to identify the bones and that this case was brought to a close.
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