News Local/State

Skull, Other Bones Found In Middle Fork River


Champaign County Sheriff Dan Walsh says investigators are trying to determine the origin of a human skull and other bones found in the Middle Fork River earlier this month.

Walsh said in a news release Thursday that the skull and another human bone were found by visitors in early August in the river where it flows through the Middle Fork Forest Preserve, in the northeast corner of Champaign County.

The sheriff said a four-day search of the area by authorities turned up a few more potentially human bones.

Walsh said it appears the skull may be more than five years old and perhaps much older and unrelated to a crime.  A forensic anthropoligist has been assisting the Champaign County Coroner and sheriff. 

There will later be an attempt to extract DNA, and send it to the Illinois State Police Crime Lab.

"I have some hope the anthropologist may be able to give us a more definite age range," Walsh said.  "We are hopeful there may be some DNA that is useful."

Walsh said investigators covered about seven miles of the river.  A large portion was walkable with water from ankle depth to waist depth, though some parts were deeper.