The jawbone was in the middle of a trail on the west side of the Cuneo Creek Horse Camp, an equestrian site in Humboldt Redwoods State Park just off of Bull Creek Road. The camper, who requested anonymity, immediately returned to camp and alerted family members, who went back with her and discovered a human skull in the bushes just off the side of the trail.
The campers called law enforcement and were joined by several park rangers, Deputy Coroner Roy Horton and Sheriff’s detective Todd Fulton. Horton confirmed that the remains were human and that the skull appeared to have been dragged, possibly by an animal such as a bear, a distance from the rest of the corpse. He indicated that foul play was a possibility and said that while there were "several environmental factors to consider such as exposure to the elements" the remains appeared fairly recent.
Horton said that the next steps would involve finding the rest of the corpse, possibly through the use of a cadaver dog, having an anthropologist analyze the remains to determine age, gender and ethnicity and comparing the anthropologist's findings against missing persons reports.
The campers who found the jawbone and skull remarked that the teeth were remarkably straight and white, with no visible dental work. Because of this they surmised that the remains could be of a child or young person, a theory that the coroner would not confirm.
See the full press release from the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office below, and a photo taken at the scene. WARNING: The photo is a depiction of human remains, and may be offensive to some viewers.
On 08-10-2014, at approximately 7:30 a.m., California State Parks was notified of possible human remains, which were located by a hiker on a trail in Cuneo Creek Campground, Humboldt Redwoods State Park. A Park Ranger responded and confirmed the remains were human. The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office and Humboldt County Coroner’s Office were notified and responded to the scene. The skeletal remains were collected by a Deputy Coroner and will be examined by a Forensic Anthropologist to determine identity, age, sex and possible cause of death, which are all unknown at this time.
Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.
A camper made a grisly discovery on Sunday during her morning walk: a human jawbone.