Thursday, April 24, 2003

Do-it-yourselfers discover human skull amid debris



By Marie McCain
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[IMAGE] 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 |
PIERCE TOWNSHIP - Nick Bruno just wanted to find a source of water for his fiancee's flower garden.

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."

E-mail mmccain@enquirer.com




TOP STORIES
Sneezing, wheezing worse this year
City schools dropped lead inspections
Flower show has a winner with its new Coney venue

IN THE TRISTATE
Adopt all reforms or none, Luken tells council
DNA leads to rape arrest
Trusts ensure future of disabled
Obituary: Michael Joseph Curro
Bengals' Lewis addresses NAACP
Tristate A.M. Report

ENQUIRER COLUMNISTS
PULFER: Laci Peterson
KORTE: City Hall
HOWARD: Some Good News

BUTLER, WARREN, CLERMONT
MU raises tuition, switches to one rate
Do-it-yourselfers discover human skull amid debris
Butler computer links long overdue
Teen indicted in attack on Y literacy tutor
Exchange teachers on tour
Lebanon council bails on new sidewalks
Butler Republican fund-raiser features Fox roast
Amelia senior wins new car for safe driving

OHIO
Ohio GOP senator stands firm as block to Bush cut
As governor, Voinovich watched the bottom line
Use of eminent domain blasted
College students who died in arson are remembered
Ohio Moments
Ohio pushes for cleanup of waste at closed plant
Can DNA testing solve '30s mystery?

KENTUCKY
Attorney: Accused priest in Canada
Newport had to destroy neighborhood to save it
Airport noise complaints up as tests continue