Body found in desert; treated as crime scene

Forensic Investigative Research Station members with Colorado Mesa University work with the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office near an area in the desert where human remains were recently found. Photo special to the Sentinel.

Mesa County Sheriff’s Office investigators and forensic research students with Colorado Mesa University worked on Wednesday to extract skeletal human remains in the desert north of Grand Junction.

Investigators said hikers found the remains Tuesday in the desert off 16 Road. The remains — which consisted of a nearly complete adult skeleton and some clothing — have not been identified, Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Megan Terlecky said.

“We do believe the bones belong to one person,” she said. “We are looking through our missing persons cases.”

Terlecky said investigators are treating the investigation and the area like a crime scene.

Students with CMU’s Forensic Investigative Research Station assisted investigators with the Sheriff’s Office, the Mesa County Coroner’s Office and the Mesa County surveyor with handling the remains.

Terlecky said the students are “highly trained people” and were vetted by their professors for the duty. Students’ work was overseen at the site.

“This was a unique opportunity and it saved us a lot of time and money,” Terlecky said. “For all intents and purposes, these are crime scene technicians. This is a wonderful resource.”

The Sheriff’s Office is working with the Mesa County Coroner’s Office to identify the remains, Terlecky said.


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