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Remains discovered after fire

Skull and bones found near Gorman are ‘not recent,’ according to county fire investigator

Posted: March 17, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: March 17, 2014 2:00 a.m.

A coroner's van departs the scene on Sunday where a human skull and skeletal remains were found Saturday following a fire that burned through the area east of Gorman. Signal photo by Jim Holt.


Human skeletal remains found in a rugged area burned by a brush fire east of Gorman are believed to be “years old,” according to one of several investigators who scoured a blackened hillside Sunday.

“It’s a skull and skeletal remains,” one investigator with the Los Angeles County Fire Department told The Signal Sunday as he emerged from behind a roped-off area.

“They’re not recent, they’re years old,” he said.

The remains were found Saturday, about 11 a.m., on Ridge Route Road, one mile south ofHighway 138, by firefighters battling to contain a brush fire that burned 109 acres since Friday. 

The discovery prompted detectives assigned to the sheriff’s department’s Homicide Bureau to examine the scene, Sgt. Diane Hecht said in a news release issued Saturday.

On Sunday morning, the same detectives, and investigators with the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office, returned to the site and collected earth samples in the same area.

A cadaver-sniffing German shepherd was also brought in by officials with the coroner’s office. The dog handler would not to talk about her efforts.

Investigators spent Sunday morning and most of the afternoon picking through thecharred vegetation left by the brush fire, said Coroners spokesman Fred Corral.

“We’re back out there but we still don’t know the gender or age,” Corral told The Signal Sunday.

The collected samples of earth were bagged by investigators who then placed the bags together on a section of rural road closed to traffic.

At about 3 p.m., coroner investigators wrapped up their investigation, leaving homicide detectives at the scene.

Homicide detectives asked that anyone with information about the case contact the Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Anonymous tips can be made by calling Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477 or visiting
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