Human skull found

HARPERS FERRY, W.Va. — A human skull was found Thursday morning off Job Corps Road in Jefferson County where a new elementary school is expected to open next year, according to police and school officials.
The skull was found by construction workers about 35 feet from Job Corps Road on what formerly was the Walker farm, according to Jefferson County Sheriff Robert “Bobby” Shirley and Board of Education President Peter H. “Pete” Dougherty.
Sheriff's deputies were called to the excavation site about a half-mile from W.Va. 230 near Sam Michael’s Park about 11:45 a.m., Shirley said. An anthropologist arrived from Quantico, Va., Thursday evening to help search for additional human remains while police had the scene secure, Shirley said. County medical examiner Carole Spessert was assisting with the investigation, Shirley said.
The anthropologist was working with a sheriff’s department investigator at the site, Shirley said.
“We’re trying to locate more body parts, if possible,” Shirley said.
The anthropologist will help determine whether the site should be further sifted through to look for remains, Shirley said.
Authorities discussed bringing cadaver dogs to the site but decided to wait until after the anthropologist investigates, Shirley said. Cadaver dogs are trained to follow the scent of decomposing human flesh.
The skull was intact and had upper teeth, but was missing the jaw bone, Shirley said. He said he did not know of any open missing persons cases in Jefferson County.
Officials have been unable to determine whether the skull was that of an adult or a child, Shirley said.
The area where the skull was found is in the “front yard” area of where the new school is to be built, Dougherty said.
There were no known burial sites on the 15-acre property, which was donated by the developers of Breckenridge subdivision, Dougherty said. The previous owners of the Walker farm have resided in the county for generations, Dougherty said.
School officials took part in a groundbreaking ceremony June 20 for the new school, which is being built for about 400 students, according to Dougherty.
Basic site preparation work has been completed and construction bids for the project came under budget for the project, which has been estimated to cost $10 million, Dougherty said. W. Harley Miller Contractors Inc. of Martinsburg is the general contractor, Dougherty said.
“We just approved the contractors on Monday,” Dougherty said.
Anyone with information about the identification of the skull may call the Sheriff’s Department at 304-728-3205.

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