A local resident reported finding human skeletal remains near Brookfield on February 21.
According to Wahkiakum County Sheriff Mark Howie, the man was hiking along a trail near the Columbia River when he saw what appeared to be human bones. He left them in place and contacted the sheriff’s office.
Sheriff’s deputies, search and rescue volunteers, and County Coroner Dan Bigelow combed the area and recovered a skull with a set of upper teeth and additional bones.
Undersheriff Steve Marshall, a certified diver and former commander of the King County Sheriff’s Office marine unit, dove in the water near the site but did not recover further evidence.
Howie said that Marshall located the den of a large animal, perhaps a bear or cougar, near the site, and that the animal may have been responsible for aggregating the bones in the area. Some of the bones recovered at the site were determined to be animal bones.
Bigelow delivered the bones to a forensic pathologist in Seattle. On Tuesday, Howie said that the pathologist has determined that the remains are that of a 30 to 60 year-old female or small-statured male.
Tests show that they had been there at least a year.
So far, the teeth have not matched with any dental records on file in the statewide database of missing persons.