Sheriff: Skeletal remains found outside Mountain Home in April buried for hundreds of years

Posted at 10:44 AM, Jul 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-18 19:12:10-04

The Elmore County Sheriff’s Office says the skeletal remains of two individuals discovered in April in the Elmore County desert date back hundreds of years - possibly as far back as 1436.

The remains were discovered partially uncovered in a badger hole on April 15. Originally, the Sheriff's Department began the investigation as a potential homicide.

With help from the Boise State University Anthropology Department, experts were able to determine approximate age ranges of the deceased. The first body is a young child between 10 and 15 years old and the other is a young adult around 20 years old, officials said.

Investigators sent parts of the remains to Beta Analytics in Miami for carbon testing to help narrow down the time frame when the bones were buried. Test results indicated the bones were buried sometime between 1436 and 1624.

Elmore County Sheriff Mike Hollinshead called for a second opinion, sending additional samples to AMP labs at Arizona State University. Their results confirmed the findings, indicating the remains dated back to 1445-1632.

Lab tests were also able to determine the diets of the deceased were high in corn, pointing to pre-Columbian times.

The remains are now in the possession of the Bureau of Land Management. BLM officials now working with nearby Native American tribes in efforts to determine a potential link between the skeletal remains.

The Sheriff's Office is no longer investigating this case as a homicide, Hollinshead stated.

The press conference can be viewed in its entirety below, beginning around 7 minutes in.