IW investigates skeletal remains

Published 9:30 pm Saturday, November 8, 2014

By Cain Madden

The Tidewater News


A set of skeletal remains found in the woods between Carrsville and Holland have been determined to be those of a human female, based on the size of the skull and bones, according to Isle of Wight officials.

Lt. Tommy Potter, an investigator with the Isle of Wight Sheriff’s Department said on Saturday that police so far had no found any evidence of foul play.

“There does not appear to be any sign of trauma,” Potter said. “At this point, it does not appear this is a homicide investigation.”

On Friday, deputies were alerted to the skeleton by a group of hunters, who were preparing to take down a tree stand when they encountered the remains.

Potter said the investigation is still in its early stages. Medical examiner personnel have not had an opportunity to look at the bones back at their lab, where more could be determined in regards to trauma.

“This is based on the examination in the field at this time,” Potter said. “This will go back the medical examiner’s office and the bones will be cleaned and examined.”

Police may have been able to find enough of the victim’s intact teeth to identify her through dental records, he added.

“You can see where the teeth have had some work done, so that will help,” Potter said. “That’s the easiest way to identify someone.”

Investigators were also able to locate portions of the pelvis and other bones that could help determine the age of the victim at the time of death.

A representative from the medical examiner’s office who was present on the scene was able to determine the remains had been there for at least two years based on the field examination, the lieutenant added.

Members of the sheriff’s office, along with Elayne Pope, forensics anthropologist with the Virginia’s Medical Examiner’s Office, met Saturday morning at the Carrsville Volunteer Fire Department and fanned out into the woods near Harvest Drive’s intersection with Glen Haven Drive.

They sifted through the leaves to remnants of the skeleton, which were flagged, photographed, marked and then transported back to the medical examiner’s office in Chesapeake.

Police will first try to see if dental records can be found that will identify the victim. A DNA-based identification could take longer, as DNA samples must be examined against samples from missing persons or other open cases from the time period.

Potter said the sheriff’s department will be talking with families that have reported missing persons in the Carrsville and southern Isle of Wight area during the past several years.