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Sheriff: Bones found are Native American

Bones uncovered on a construction site in South Laguna have been confirmed by the Orange County Coroner’s office as prehistoric Native American, according to Deputy Sheriff Larry Esslinger.

The age, sex, date and cause of death are undetermined due to the condition of the bones.

However, police said that the area where the bones were found has not been worked on since the 1940s. Strict procedures for the disposition of the bones will be observed.

“We have advised the Native American Heritage [Commission], and we will release the bones as soon as they authorize it,” said Slinger, watch commander at the coroner’s office.


A construction worker uncovered the bones Aug. 24 and notified local police and contractor Gregg Abel.

Abel has contacted the Juaneños, the Native American tribe in San Juan, the closest to the burial site.

He declined further to comment out of respect to Native Americans’ privacy.

Protocol for the handling of Native American remains is specified by the California Native American Heritage Commission, headquartered in Sacramento.



 Stop work immediately and notify the county coroner.

 The coroner has two working days to examine the human remains after being notified and 24 hours to notify the commission.

 The commission will notify the person it believes is the most likely descendant of the deceased.

 The most likely descendant has 48 hours to make recommendations to the property owner or representative on the treatment or dignified disposition of the remains and grave artifacts.

 If no recommendation is made, the property owner shall re-inter the remains in an area of the property secure from further disturbance.

 Either party may request mediation by the commission to discuss and confer the disposition.

 Discuss and confer means meaningful and timely discussion considering the view of both parties.


For more information about the commission, visit the state website or call (916) 653 4082.

For information on the disposition of Native American remains, click on Cultural Resources and then Discovery of Human Remains.