A broken skull and other bone fragments found in the scorched hills of Latigo Canyon came from a person who died well before the Woolsey fire, Los Angeles County sheriff’s investigators said Wednesday.
A landowner spotted what appeared to be human bones last week as he was checking fire damage to his property off Latigo Canyon Road, about a mile north of Ocean View Road, Sgt. Marcelo Quintero said.
The property owner didn’t notify authorities about the bones until Saturday.
Quintero said the skull was probably hidden by heavy brush until the Woolsey fire burned through the area.
Investigators believe the wildfire may have dislodged the remains from where they were stuck higher up the hilly terrain, and sent them tumbling down onto the pathway where they were found, on property owned by the Ava and Cole Weintraub Family Park conservancy group.
“The skull was broken into pieces but we were able to piece it somewhat together,” Quintero said. “The anthropologists at the coroner’s office believe [the remains] definitely predated the fire.”
Coroner’s investigators believe the remains could have been there between six months and 50 years, he said. They have some fire damage, he said, but no bite marks.
“We only have parts of a skull, parts of a jaw and possibly some cervical vertebra pieces,” Quintero said.
The Los Angeles County coroner’s Special Operations Response Team combed the area, hoping to find more remains. They did find additional bones, Quintero said, but they turned out to belong to animals.
“We’re going to do our best to try to identify whoever this person was,” he said. “But it’s going to be a long shot, at best.”
Anyone with information should contact the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. Those wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.