The human remains found this weekend in the Dixon area were identified as an adolescent of pre-teen age who died roughly one year ago, according to Pulaski County Sheriff Ron Long.
Long said in a press conference on Monday that the remains were discovered around 2 p.m. roughly ¼ mile south of Highway D and Highway 28, also known as "Dogpatch Intersection," on private property off of Highway 28.
Long said that the remains were found roughly 30 feet from the road.
A local photographer discovered the skeletal remains in the wooded area when she was taking photographs of a tree. She immediately called deputies, who determined the remains were human.
"Our investigation took approximately two days," Long said. "As you can figure there at this point we have a lot of work to do since there was limited evidence found at the scene. We have to look at the possibilities of why this deceased [individual] was in the woods and also identify this individual."
Long said that the Sheriff's Department has called in assistance from St. Louis University, who will be looking at forensic pathology on the remains, and a forensic anthropologist to better identity the remains.
The forensic anthropologist arrived on scene on Sunday and concluded that remains were that of an adolescent pre-teenager and the sex is still undetermined, according to Sheriff Long.
"We're assuming the individual has been deceased for at least one year at this time," Long said. "But until further tests are done on the remains, we cannot put a time of death on the remains."
Long said investigators have concluded a limited time frame for when this individual died.
"[The time of death of the individual] is going to be at least one year [ago], but maybe prior 2-3 years previous to that," he said.
Long said that as of right now, there aren't any cases of missing adolescents who went missing in the correct time frame from Pulaski County.
"There have been a lot of questions coming in about mostly women who have been missing for several years from Pulaski County," Long said. "At this time, there is no evidence leading us to believe it is any of those individuals reported from Pulaski County. Investigators will be looking at neighboring counties and going beyond that if there are no possible individuals that could be the victim."
Long said that investigators will be looking at identifying the individual first, then determining the cause of death.
"Due to the age factor on these remains, it's going to be a while, or it might not be ever, to be able to determine the cause of death due to the limited amount of evidence found at the scene."
Page 2 of 2 - Long said it has not been determined whether or not foul play was involved in the death of the adolescent.
"Once we identify the individual it will accelerate the case," Long said. "I ask that the media and citizens be patient, this will take some time."
Anyone with information on this case is encouraged to call the Pulaski County Sheriff's Office at (573) 774- 6196 or email email@example.com.