Tuesday, April 27, 1999

Partial skull uncovered in wildlife area

Link to unsolved killings explored

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The discovery of part of a decade-old human skull in Greene County has investigators looking into whether it can be linked to any unsolved slayings in the region.

        Ohio State Highway Patrol investigators were alerted to the partial skull after mushroom hunters came across it Sunday afternoon in the Spring Valley Wildlife Area in southern Greene County's Spring Valley Township. The wooded area is near the northern border of Warren County and near the northwestern border of Clinton County.

        According to authorities, a complete search of the area was conducted Sunday after the partial skull was found. Investigators, however, did not find any other skeletal remains.

        The investigation includes officials from the highway patrol, Greene County sheriff's office, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Greene County coroner's office.

        Officials said the skull fragment will be analyzed by a forensic anthropologist to try to determine the time of death and an identity. On-scene investigators consulted with an archaeologist from Wright State University and determined a preliminary estimate that the skull fragment had been decaying about 10 years.

        Warren County Prosecutor Tim Oliver said his office will be ready should police investigators determine that the skull fragment may be linked to an unsolved homicide.

        Mr. Oliver, however, noted that victims can be transported over great distances and such crimes may have only a tenuous link to the area where the body is eventually discovered.

        “In terms of transportation, it could be from anywhere,” Mr. Oliver said.

        The case remains under investigation, and more detailed forensic information is expected later this week.


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