A grim discovery in the Casa Diablo Range area Saturday afternoon has led to a number of unanswered questions for Mono County investigators.
Authorities with the Mono County Sheriff’s Department are currently trying to determine if bones found by a group of hikers are indeed human and if so, who they belonged to and how that person ended up dead at Casa Diablo.
The Sheriff’s Department was first notified of the remains about 4:20 p.m. Saturday when the hikers called to report the discovery of several bones they believed to be human.
Deputies responded to the area to get information from the reporting party, but with the daylight hours slowly coming to a close, officials decided to continue the search first thing Sunday morning.
On April 6, sheriff’s deputies, with the assistance of the Mono County Sheriff Search and Rescue Team, returned to the area to conduct a search for further bones and evidence.
“Bones were located, recovered and are believed to be human,” a press release from the Sheriff’s Department states.
Mono County Sheriff’s Public Information Officer Jennifer Hansen said “several” bones were recovered.
According to Hansen, because the investigation is open, she cannot comment on the nature of the evidence found other than to say the bones don’t appear too old or too new.
“The bones are bleached and do not appear to be a recent death nor appear to be an archeological find either,” she said. “The time frame possibilities are to be determined upon forensic examination and evaluation.”
Hansen also said the bones that were recovered appear to be adult, but a gender has not yet been determined.
The bones have been collected for analysis and possible DNA testing to prove if they are human bones. Hansen said that DNA analysis can take some time, but exactly how long before the test results come back depends on the Department of Justice’s case load.
In the meantime, investigators have other avenues to pursue.
“Missing persons are being considered,” Hansen said. “One of the functions of the coroner’s office is identification of a deceased person if possible. When more information is available to us and additional forensic work is performed and analyzed, we will be investigating all avenues of identification that are available to us in an attempt to identify who the person was.”