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Human skull found near Pinhook Park

NOW: Human skull found near Pinhook Park

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The Indiana Department of Natural Resources is investigating a stretch of Bolan Drive near Pinhook Park after children discovered a human skull Friday night while racing remote control cars.

"It’s unusual," said St. Joseph County Coroner Michael McGann. "It doesn’t happen that often. (The kids) were out here driving their remote control or RC vehicles up and down the hills and the road because it was blocked off, and they came across a skull that’s located where the yellow tape is up there." 

The children called the South Bend Police Department. Investigators confirmed it was a human skull. SBPD contacted the county coroner, who said there's no reason for people to worry. 

"Kind of determined that the skull was very aged and had a been there for quite a while," said McGann. 

Mark Schurr, an anthropologist, agreed. 

"It was old," said Schurr. “I don’t think it’s probably a homicide. There was a fair amount of wear on the front teeth incisors, which is unusual amongst modern populations." 

St. Joseph County Metro Homicide contacted Shurr to help figure out the details of the skull.

"It had some features that suggested to me that it might be Native American possibly," said Shurr. "I’ve since learned there was a pauper cemetary on the hill behind us, so it could also be an early 20th century pauper skull."

While Schurr’s field examination gives an idea of how old this skull could be, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources of Historic Preservation and Archaeology will uncover the final answer. 

“Often by measuring and observation you can determine whether somebody’s likely to be Native American, or European, or African American descent and some time period, so they’ll be able to figure that out and take the correct steps,” said Shurr. 

There is no timetable on how long the DNR's investigation will take. 

The skull was found along a section of Boland Drive where a trail is being built. That project is on hold at this time. 

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