More remains are found near skull in Dana Point

Times Staff Writer

Forensic investigators and cadaver dogs found more skeletal remains in a popular canyon in Dana Point on Wednesday, a day after a human skull was found by two joggers, law enforcement officials said.

Orange County sheriff’s deputies also spent the day poring through missing-persons reports in an attempt to identify the bones.

Jim Amormino, a sheriff’s spokesman, said it was possible the remains are that of a 29-year-old Dana Point man who has been missing for four months or the wife of a Marine who disappeared two years ago.

The canyon is a few hundred yards from Monarch Beach Golf Links and a few blocks from Dana Hills High School.

Neighbors said they wondered why the bones hadn’t been discovered earlier, since the canyon is a well-used recreation area.


“There’s not a day that goes by that people don’t jog or walk their dogs down there,” said Marla McKeown, whose backyard is a few hundred feet above the pond. “It’s not that remote.”

Amormino said the bones had been in the canyon for an estimated six to 12 months.

Resident Scott Jennie said his neighborhood was so quiet and peaceful, he hoped the person’s death was accidental.

“It’s very, very eerie,” Jennie said.

Molly McKeown, Marla’s 22-year-old daughter, said she’d never thought of the canyon as a dangerous place until the bones were discovered.

“There’s really never been anything to be afraid of,” she said.

“But when I started thinking about the all possible things that could have happened in the canyon, it made me want to lock all the windows and doors.”

Marla McKeown, who has lived in her Caracas Street home for nearly two decades, said it was strange to think that human remains were found in a spot where her children had played for years.

“My kids have built tree forts in that canyon, fished for crawdads in that pond and slid boxes down the hill,” she said. “I don’t want to think there’s foul play involved.”