Human Skeleton Found Near River - NBC 7 San Diego

Human Skeleton Found Near River

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    NBC 7 San Diego
    Officials collect human bones found near the San Diego River on May 30, 2013.

    Officers from the San Diego Police Department were called to the San Diego River on Thursday to investigate reports of human bones near the water.

    Police arrived at the scene in the 3900 block of Camino Del Rio North at around 1:15 p.m. to begin their investigation. Officials from the San Diego Fire Department also assisted.

    According to SDPD homicide Lt. Jorge Duran, investigators discovered an adult human skeleton -- including a skull, femur and teeth – on the dirt near the water about 30 yards down an embankment.

    The medical examiner was also called to the scene and determined that the person likely died several years ago. The medical examiner will conduct an autopsy to determine the cause of death, whether any foul play was involved and the skeleton's identity.

    Police say the bones did not appear to have bullet wounds or any other visible marks.

    Lt. Duran says the human bones were first reported to authorities on Wednesday by some people fishing in the San Diego River who saw the bones near the water.

    Specialists ran some tests which showed that bones were, in fact, human bones, Lt. Duran said.

    Authorities returned to the river on Thursday to recover the rest of the skeleton.

    Police say the investigation is ongoing. Officials are searching the local missing persons database to see if there could be any matches with missing individuals.

    Lt. Duran told NBC 7 the skeleton was likely not discovered until now because it’s in an area with no footpath and hard to see in the midst of shrubs and other debris. The area has also experienced erosion and rain over the years.

    "Every time it rains there's erosion and the water may have partially uncovered the body, exposing some of the bones, and those are probably the bones that we recovered, and then when we went back there and actually dug up the area we found the rest of the bones," Lt. Duran explained.

    This isn't the first time human remains have been found in the river area.

    On Feb. 5, 2013, the body of a man, Robert Chesney, was found floating in the San Diego River. The county medical examiner’s office later determined that Chesney had died from stab wounds of the chest.

    Back in October 2012, SDPD officials discovered the body of another man floating in the San Diego River somewhere between the 7200 and 7400 blocks of Hazard Center Drive.

    Check back for updates on this developing story.

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