Crime

Fayette coroner, police search for more human remains off Citation Boulevard

Fayette County Coroner Gary Ginn, second from left,  Lexington police and others were at the site Thursday where human  remains were found Wednesday night off of Citation Boulevard.
Fayette County Coroner Gary Ginn, second from left, Lexington police and others were at the site Thursday where human remains were found Wednesday night off of Citation Boulevard. Herald-Leader

Shortly after noon Thursday, authorities said they were recovering what they thought were the "majority" of a man's remains that were found in a field off Citation Boulevard in Lexington.

Fayette Coroner Gary Ginn said at the scene that a search of the field Thursday morning turned up a jaw, pelvis, teeth and some clothing, which were found a short distance from where the first remains were found Wednesday night.

"This morning, we were able to see where this gentleman died, and I do believe we have the majority of his remains that we are recovering right now," Ginn said by phone. "I'm doing an inventory to make sure we have all of him. But from what I can see at this point, we are going to be able to collect all of the remains."

The coroner said there was nothing on the bones that would indicate how the person died.

"I'm going to leave that up to our forensic pathologists, but more to the forensic anthropologists to examine the remains," he said.

Ginn said Lexington police would check missing-persons reports for any hints to the man's identity. He said they also would check for any reports of missing patients from the new Eastern State Hospital, which is visible from the field in the distance.

Lexington police spokeswoman Sherelle Roberts said there was no additional information as of Thursday afternoon. Roberts said any other details would come from the coroner's office.

Ginn was still working the case to find those details. He said the bones had been in the field for months, possibly longer, based on the amount of decomposition.

"For them to be in that state of decomposition, it has to be a fairly large amount of time," he said.

A man driving through the field spotted some of the remains Wednesday evening, prompting a more extensive search Thursday morning that uncovered the additional bones.

Ginn said it could take considerable time to identify the remains unless someone comes forward with a name.

According to authorities, the bones were found in a grown-up fencerow, near a tree line at the foot of a hill on the south side of the field. The site is on the south side of Citation Boulevard about a quarter-mile from Newtown Pike.

Ginn said the bones were "disarticulated," or separated at the joint, as a result of decomposition. Animals also might have disturbed or moved some of the remains, he said.

The remains appeared to be those of a male, officials have said.

"By looking at some bony landmarks that are on his skull, I'm fairly sure that this is a male that we've found," Ginn said. "But we will have to collectively look at everything that we find."

The initial remains were left at the site overnight Wednesday, and the coroner's staff didn't start removing bones until completing their search Thursday morning.

Searchers were careful not to step on or destroy any remains or other evidence that might remain hidden in the thick fescue grass that covers most of the hillside field, Ginn said.

"We have the perimeter taped up. I didn't want to destroy any type of evidence we might find ... or any bony structures, by just walking on them."

Ginn said it was difficult to do a thorough search after the initial bones were found Wednesday night because of darkness and because some of the field is wooded.

The field, which covers several acres, is owned by the city. The partial remains found Wednesday night were about 500 feet from Citation Boulevard, according to Ginn.

Citation is a busy four-lane street, but the site is fairly isolated. There are no buildings nearby, and the site where the remains were found is not visible from the road.

Authorities went to the scene shortly before 7 p.m. Wednesday, after the passerby spotted the partial remains.

"There was a gentleman who was actually driving in that property; why I don't know," Ginn said. "But he stopped, and when he stopped, he looked down, and there were human remains."

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