LEESBURG, Fla. — A Florida medical examiner’s office has been shut down temporarily after mercury was discovered on human bones.

The Daily Commercial reports that the bones arrived at the Leesburg office Tuesday.

Chief forensic investigator Brett Harding says he noticed something shiny on the bones before suddenly realizing what the substance was. Officials alerted the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, which ordered the shutdown.

Officials say the bones had been found Sunday at Ray Wayside Park in Silver Springs. They had apparently been part of a Santeria ritual, which commonly uses mercury.

Investigators were trying to determine who left the bones at the park.

High mercury exposure results in permanent nervous system and kidney damage. Harding says he hopes the office will be cleaned up and reopened within a day.

Information from: The Daily Commercial (Leesburg, Fla.), http://www.dailycommercial.com

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.