Lawrence police this morning were investigating the discovery of human bones in a rental house in the 700 block of Connecticut but said they don't yet know if a crime is involved.
The bones were found about 1 weeks ago in the basement of the home, and authorities have found more bones since beginning their investigation on Friday, when they first learned of the discovery.
Police Chief Ron Olin said this morning that a resident of the rental house at 732 Conn. initially dug up three or four bones in a dirt section of the basement of the home. Olin would not say what other bones had been found at the house. He also would not comment on the condition of the bones, or speculate on how long they had been in the area. It is believed the bones could be as much as two years old.
"WE DON'T want to release any information that could jeopordize the investigation," Olin said.
Investigators were still at the house this morning.
The bones have been identified as human by a Kansas University anthropology professor, who notified the Douglas County coroner's office. The coroner's office then notified police about 3:15 p.m. Friday, Olin said.
Michael Strelow, one of five residents of the home, said his roommate, Ron Worley, discovered about four major bones in the basement about 1 weeks ago when Worley was "kind of exploring and pilfering the basement to see what was down there." He said a thigh bone, a shin bone and an arm bone have been identified.
"Initially, we didn't think much of them," Strelow said.
HE SAID that around Sept. 25, Worley took the bones to the KU Museum of Anthropology, where officials said the bones were human.
Worley later called David Frayer, an anthropology professor and chair of the department of anthropology, to find out if he was interested in looking at the bones. When Frayer examined the bones Friday, he confirmed that the bones were human and still had a small amount of muscle tissue attached to them. He told Worley that authorities should be notified.
The house where the bones were found is currently owned by Paul Horvath, 1634 R.I. He said he bought the house in March 1991.
Horvath said the house had been vacant since the summer of 1990, when the tenants were evicted. He said he had renovated the interior of the house after he purchased it and leased it to five people beginning in August.
Horvath said he thought the tenants would stay in the house "and let the police do their job."
THE BONES were found in an earthen crawl space that had been added to the basement, Horvath said.
"The house was vacant for a two-year period," he said. "I suppose (there) could have been some `in-the-dark' activity then."
Horvath said the city was considering razing the house, claiming it was unfit for habitation, when he bought the property. He later received permission to renovate the house from the Lawrence City Commission.
Deputy Douglas County Coroner Laurence Price said today that he had not examined the bones as of this morning but planned to do so sometime today. He said he was awaiting word from the police to see if more bones were found.
Olin said investigators probably would be at the scene at least through today.
"This may be a two-, three-, four-day (investigation)," he said. "It just depends on how today goes and what our experts come up with."