Human bones found near S. Valley highway

FRESNO, Calif.

Workers discovered what they believed to be human remains along a median on Highway 99 near Traver.

Tuesday afternoon, Tulare County sheriff's investigators received confirmation that skeletal remains found in a median along highway 99 near Traver are human bones.

Caltrans workers discovered the bones on Monday afternoon.

"Perhaps the remains have been there for several years," Lt. Rob Schimpf of the Tulare County Sheriff's Office said. "We're going to be doing some more work to pinpoint that time frame but it is not an intact full body these are scarce bone remains that we've located.

The lower jaw bone and teeth were found after Caltrans began digging in the area as part of a Highway 99 widening project between Goshen and Kingsburg.

Investigators don't know how long the remains have been in the highway, but they're hopeful dental records will help them make a positive ID quickly.

"That's one of the main ways we identify missing people so it is very significant in this case to have teeth for dental comparison and teeth are also a good source for dna, for us to extract DNA," Schimpf said.

The Tulare County Sheriff's Office has already been contacted by several local law enforcement agencies about the bones. Over the next few weeks detectives are expected to compare the dental records with records of other missing persons in the area.

The next step for detectives is to meet with a pathologist and anthropologist with hopes of discovering if the remains are that of a man or woman.

Sheriff's detectives could know the gender as early as Wednesday.

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