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Archive for Sunday, August 20, 2006

Human remains found in rural, wooded yard

August 20, 2006

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— The remains of two people were found in a yard in rural Cass County, and authorities were looking for remains of up to four more bodies, the Cass County Sheriff's Department said Saturday.

The bone fragments were found late Friday on top of the ground on property northeast of Drexel in western Missouri, said Cpl. Kevin Tieman. He said two sets of remains were found, but authorities believed more remains were on the three-acre wooded property.

"Right now we can say for sure two sets of remains, but we know that we are looking for as many as six (sets of remains)," Tieman said.

One man was arrested Friday and taken into custody on unrelated charges. Tieman would not identify that man or on what charges he was being held.

"We have a person in custody on other charges that claims to have knowledge of homicides committed at the location we are searching," said Cass County Sheriff Dwight Diehl.

The suspect was connected to the property, but Tieman said "at this point we're not sure how."

The deaths, which Tieman estimated occurred over about five years, appeared to be "drug-related" and were not "random acts." He said the remains did not appear to be related to any ongoing investigations.

"We still haven't identified any of the remains so we can't tell if they were related," Tieman said.

Authorities called in a forensic anthropologist, Dr. Michael Finnegan from Kansas State University, to identify the remains as human. The most recent remains appeared to be several months old, Tieman said.

Tieman said all the remains were found on top of the ground at the property.

"They have not started digging at all so far," he said "What's on the surface is what they have found so far."

He said the search would start again early Sunday.

The Kansas City Crime Lab and the Jackson County Medical Examiner had been called in to assist.

Mary Wilson, 48, of Drexel, said she wasn't surprised to hear there was a possible drug connection to the deaths.

"We're starting to get more and more drugs down here because people are coming down from the city," she said. "It's a quiet little town, something like this happens, and it's big news."

Drexel, a town of about 1,100 is located about 55 miles south of Kansas City, a few miles from the Kansas border.

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