Police in Redding are trying to piece together clues after human skeletal remains are found in a ravine near the city limits.
Hikers found the remains Tuesday and now police investigators are working to determine how they got there.
Before police were able to start a full investigation on Tuesday, night fell and it was delayed until Wednesday.
Investigating officers gathered their gear and hiked in to the scene early Wednesday morning, eager to start the investigation.
“This is the salt creek drainage that is behind us and we are west, at the western edge of the city limits off of eureka way,” said Sgt. Brian Barner with the Redding Police Investigations team.
Two men panning for gold in the area made the discovery Tuesday in a secluded ravine far behind the Old Mill House Deli.
“We have recovered quite a few bones including the skull, now we are going to begin a search to see how many other bones we can locate,” said Barner.
Using a grid pattern police scoured the area Wednesday; searching through steep, rugged terrain, covered in Manzanita bush.
They were looking for more bones but finding all 206 could be difficult.
“It looks like animals most likely have gotten into it and scattered those bones around,” said Barner.
The bones are clean of any tissue and scattered in a 100 yard radius. Police say they have no obvious signs of trauma and it’s unclear what caused the death. They do not know if foul play caused the death.
Their goal right now is to identify the body.
“Dental records can be used, if there are dental records. That will be up to the coroner’s office to do that,” said Barner.
It’s possible the skeleton is that of a transient. The area is known for homeless camps but police say no camps were found near the remains.
Police say they have only found one skull which indicates to them that there is only one victim.
Late Wednesday afternoon police announced the remains will be sent to the Human I.D. lab at Chico State for identification.