posted on Nov, 12 2015 @ 11:24 PM
Seeing the caller ID saying County Sheriff will send the mind racing....
What has happened?
Yes, I just paid my taxes a couple of days ago...
Yes, I just complained about the conduct of a deputy...
No, they don't do death notifications by phone...and a thousand other thoughts flitted through my mind.
I have friends at the department but they've never called me on the official line. This was something different.
Indeed it was. It was a friend but an official call to get an identification on a bone. One of our neighbors is brand new to country life. Her dog
escaped his enclosure this afternoon and took off into the woods. When he returned from his adventure he was the proud possessor of a fine, fairly
fresh femur bone.
The poor neighbor lady was convinced someone had been murdered in the woods and called the sheriff. The deputy isn't a hunter and didn't take any
anatomy classes evidently. He called the coroner. At the coroner's request he sent a picture. The coroner, who also has never had an anatomy
class, told him that since he was in the neighborhood, he should call me and have me identify it because it looked to him like a deer bone. (I've
served as a consultant to past sheriffs and coroners because I'm the only archaeologist with extensive training and experience in human forensics.
I don't do actual investigations, just determine whether or not they need the state medical examiner.)
Since we have more white-tailed deer than you can shake a stick at, any large bone drug up by a dog is most likely from one that has passed on.
Knowing this, I grabbed a few samples of deer long bones and headed over to meet up with the deputy and the neighbor. It was indeed a large femur
with lots of gnaw marks and very little tissue.
I assured them both that it was just the remains of a coyote feast.
The deputy seemed quite relieved that he didn't have to head out to the woods looking for a dead body. The neighbor lady was quite distressed
because she'd already posted to facebook that there had been a murder in her neighborhood. She kept asking, "Are you sure?" "Don't you have to
do DNA testing or something?" as though she was quite disappointed. I ended up doing a quick class on differentiating human bone from animal bone.
(With a femur, it's really pretty easy.) I explained to her that I had, in the course of my career, handled literally thousands of human bones.
Now there's a wild rumor going around the county that there's been a murder and the local cops are covering it up. All because of a retracted
The deputy finally ended up by telling her that if she wanted to have a DNA test she was free to do so since the bone was hers now that the dog had
found it. I suggested letting the dog have his trophy---outdoors of course.
That was one happy dog!