Search continues for human remains

Hood River County Sheriff Joe Wampler was disappointed with the results of Thursday’s search by a “cadaver dog” for human bones on Mt. Hood.

“We didn’t find anything that is going to help us,” said Wampler, who spent four hours in the forest with a dog team from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.

But Wampler is not going to give up on finding skeletal remains that will match the skull discovered by an environmental group on Sunday.

He plans to organize a crew next week to form a human chain and comb the woods around Surveyor’s Ridge and the Dog River trailhead. Wampler said the skull was found by activists from BARK who were checking the boundaries of a disputed timber sale in the Mt. Hood National Forest.

“We want to find the rest of the remains and any clothing or other evidence that might tell us a little more about who we’ve found here,” he said.

Based on preliminary reports, Wampler said the skull is believed to have belonged to an adult Caucasian female. He said the bones have probably been in the forest for one year or less, although forensics test are now underway to confirm that analysis.

“Our best guess is that it was placed there last fall or summer,” said Wampler, who believes the unknown woman was the victim of foul play. He said that professional opinion is based largely on the fact that there has not been any recent filing of a lost person in that area.

“When we find remains with no report of a missing person then we have to start thinking homicide,” he said.

During Thursday’s canine search by “Charlie,” a border collie mix, some unknown bone fragments were found. Wampler said these small pieces have been shipped off to a forensics team in Portland to determine whether they belong to an animal or a person.

He said because the skull still had the teeth intact it should easier to identify the victim because dental work can be matched with existing records.

According to Wampler, several dentists have determined that the extensive dental work on the teeth was done with cheaper materials, indicating that the unknown woman probably lived within a lower income bracket.

Wampler has begun compiling missing person reports from around the state and Northwest. He is waiting for more information from the medical examiner to begin the process of matching the skull with one of these listed individuals.

He is asking anyone with information about one of these cases to call his office at 386-2098.

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