STUYVESANT — Questions abound as to how human skeletal remains ended up on property off Route 9J, and it may be a while before police have their answers.
The remains were unearthed at about 1 p.m. Sunday by a contractor who was using an excavator on the property located near the Columbia County and Rensselaer County line, according to a statement from the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.
After discovering the remains, the crew stopped working and called police.
Sheriff’s deputies and investigators went to the scene and confirmed that the crew had discovered human skeletal remains, but their origin and identity remained mysteries Monday.
It is unclear at this point if the remains belong to a male or female, police said.
Police are undertaking a number of steps to identify the remains and how they got there.
“We will get a hold of the proper authority, more than likely, an anthropologist, to assist us in this particular situation,” said Senior Investigator Kevin Skype with the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.
In the meantime, investigators are still working at the site to see if any other human remains were left behind or to find any clues that could help solve the puzzle.
Investigators could be seen taking some of what was found in small brown bags from the scene Sunday.
Police hope to find DNA evidence that will shed some light on the discovery.
“We’ll have to do further work on site and on scene and hopefully we will get to a point where we will have DNA analysis,” Skype said. “We’re not there at this point, but we’re hopeful we will get there.”
So far, police do not know how long the bones were buried in the ground.
“Once we have the expertise on site, we’ll be able to better judge on how old they are and how long [the remains were there],” Skype said.
The property, which contains a mobile home, was recently purchased, and no one was living on the property at the time the remains were found, Skype said.
Asked if police suspect foul play or any criminal activity to explain the presence of the remains, Skype said, “It is way too early to speculate on that at this point.”
To reach reporter Amanda Purcell, call 518-828-1616 ext. 2500, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or tweet to @amandajpurcell.