Grey: Bones Found in Mercer County Likely Human

Staff Writer


Bones found several miles south of Celina near State Route 127 are likely from a human, two experts have told Mercer County Sheriff Jeff Grey.

The bones will be tested further to conclusively find if they're human or from an animal in the coming days after a full sweep of the area near Grand Lake St. Marys at the southeast corner of Coldwater Creek near a pull-off area popular to area fishermen has been made this week.

"It's critical to all of us that we get it right," Grey said at a Wednesday afternoon press conference. "If these are human bones, that's somebody's family member they're searching for."

A hiker alerted the Mercer County Sheriff's Office of the found bones on Sunday, Jan. 2 at 2:43 p.m. with a phone call.

The bones were found in close proximity, but weren't "laying in one spot like a skeleton," Grey said. Officers first thought the bones came from an animal but Grey said some "raised suspicions."

After the bones were collected, a forensic lab in Montgomery County then examined them. Doctors there said there's a good chance they come from a human. A second expert from a university viewed photos of the bones and made the same conclusion.

That finding has five officers from the Mercer County Sheriff's Office, five officials from the Ohio Bureau of Crime Investigation and two officials from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources along with a cadaver dog sweeping the area for more evidence. Grey said the search could take until Thursday or Friday. When it has all been collected, it will be sent to a university lab out of state for further analysis.

It's the type of case Grey said he hasn't seen in Mercer County in his years with the department. "We've handled murder cases, but never had bones as evidence," Grey said.

There are currently no missing persons or cold cases in Mercer County.  State Route 127 "runs from Michigan to Florida," Grey said. "It could be local or it could be out of state."

Gray said if the bones are conclusively human he'd treat the case as a homicide from day one.  Grey said it's unlikely the body could've come from a more innocent circumstance. Any DNA found on the remains would be put through several databases in an attempt to find a match.

"If it is a human, it will be a difficult investigation, obviously," Grey said.