At Least Five More Bones Found in Frontier Park
At least five more bones were recovered by Mercyhurst University students, as they searched Frontier Park Thursday for more evidence as part of the investigation into the human remains and skull found along Cascade Creek.
Recent rain helped uncover the additional bones, according to Dr. Dennis Dirkmaat, Chairman of the Department of Applied Forensic Sciences at Mercyhurst, "A couple days ago there was a heavy rain, and that may have dislodged some things, so we have people in the creek and on the banks taking a look."
Cub Scouts who were cleaning the park discovered the human skull on April 6th. Investigators responded in the following days, and found several other human remains.
Erie News Now learned over the weekend that a woman walking her dog at the park discovered another human bone.
The Erie County Coroner's Office, the Mercyhurst University forensic anthropology department, and Erie Police are all working together to identify the bones.
As Erie News Now has reported, the Mercyhurst team, under Dr. Diplomat's supervision, have been evaluating the remains to determine age, sex and any potential trauma.
But we learned Thursday, their probe is going much further, "We're also trying to figure out where the body was originally, whenever we go to these outdoor scenes, we always try to figure that out," said Dr. Dirkmaat. "We have a GPS unit, and we're marking where the bones are, and so we'll put that on a map and see if there's a pattern that emerges to tell us something about where it (the body) may have been," Dirkmaat continued.
Erie Police Chief Dan Spizarny said they are going to use the teeth and compare them with missing person cases and potential dental records, in their quest to find who the remains belong to and how they got to the park.
After Mercyhurst has reached their conclusions, investigators will also send the remains to experts at the University of North Texas, who will use DNA technology to try to identify the person, who investigators believe is a white male in his 40s or 50s.
Thursday, students at Mercyhurst University searched and found more human remains, during their spring break.
For Mercyhurst University Graduate Student, Caitlin Sachsenmeier, this is not just a future career, but a passion, "I want go give a voice to the dead and let them tell their stories, that's why I'm here at Mercyhurst to learn how to do that," said Sachsenmeier. "To be able to be here in Erie and helping to find these remains, and helping to establish what happened to this individual is just an incredible experience," Sachsenmeier continued.
Mercyhurst's Applied Forensic Sciences department is only a select few programs in the world, which allow students to get this kind of hands-on experience in real cases.
Kelly Galvin, also a graduate student in Mercyhurst University's Applied Forensic Sciences department, wants to be a forensic anthropologist.
She came to Mercyhurst all the way from New Zealand, "This is a great opportunity, it's been amazing to be able to get to do this, working with remains, working with the dead, trying go give answers to what happened and who they are," said Galvin.
Erie police also searched Frontier Park and the surrounding area for evidence Thursday afternoon.
Spizarny tells Erie News Now they took the 13 bags of garbage that the Cub Scouts collected at the park during the cleanup, they sifted through all of those bags. He said they kept one bag of what they believe is potential evidence.