By Marie McCain
The Cincinnati Enquirer
PIERCE TOWNSHIP - Nick Bruno just wanted to find a source of water for his fiancee's flower garden.
Nick Bruno climbed down into this cistern so he could clear it of debris and use it to water his lawn and garden.|
(Glenn Hartong photo)
| ZOOM |
Now, he's trying to help solve a mystery.
Bruno no longer used an old cistern buried several feet from the side of his house - not since hooking up to the county water system three years earlier, shortly after he bought the 2-acre property in the 3700 block of Nine Mile Road.
So on Tuesday, with the help of his friend Scott Brady, he began pumping out about 7 feet of water from the underground container.
Climbing down about 15 feet into the cistern, Brady began shoveling debris and sludge collected at the bottom into a bucket, which Bruno then hoisted to the surface and emptied.
That's when the two men made a gruesome discovery - one that has Pierce Township police seeking the help of a forensic pathologist.
Brady had turned up the top portion of a human skull. Then he found other pieces, including the upper portion of a palate. That's when Bruno called police.
On Wednesday, the two men were back at the cistern. They turned up four more pieces of skull, including a portion of an eye socket and pieces of a nasal cavity. The two men hoped to come across teeth, which might help to identify the remains.
"We have yet to find the lower jaw," Brady said. "I hope (officials) can put it together and solve some crime and give someone closure."
Bruno said they also turned up a fireplace utensils holder that belonged to the previous homeowner.
"I have no idea how it got down there," he said, adding that soon after he bought the house, it was broken into and the piece stolen.
Pierce Township Police Col. James Smith said Wednesday that the pathologist will try to determine cause of death, sex, age and hopefully, identity.
Authorities could not immediately gauge how long the remains had been inside the cistern.
All Bruno's fiancee, Melissa Sizmore, could think about Wednesday was that the previous occupants had used the water collected in the cistern.
Grimacing, she added: "They showered in that stuff."
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