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Remains found in a ditch south of Seymour on Wednesday night are those of a skinned, decomposed bear, according to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department.
A forensic specialist from the University of Indianapolis confirmed the remains are those of a bear that was likely killed elsewhere, skinned and later dumped, Lt. Andy Wayman said Thursday.
Police were not sure whether they were dealing with remains of a human or another mammal upon first investigation, Wayman said.
Jackson County Coroner Roger Wheeler and Dr. George Weir, a pathologist with
Schneck Medical Center, visited the site after the discovery but were unable to make a complete examination because of darkness, Wayman said.
“The decomposed, skinned paws of the bear looked very much like the decomposed hand of a human,” Wayman said.
Those doubts led to bringing in the University of Indianapolis expert on Thursday morning. Krista E. Latham, an assistant professor of biology and anthropology at the university, traveled to the scene and met with Detective Bob Lucas to determine if the remains were human or animal.
Police cordoned off the area and kept an officer at the scene overnight.
“We treated it as a crime scene until we could be sure,” Wayman said.
He said the front paws and a bone from a rear paw were found along with some of the bear’s entrails in a ditch on the north side of County Road 400N, about a quarter-mile east of County Road 975E.
Wayman suspects someone skinned the bear for a trophy.
“There was no hide found,” Wayman said.
A woman walking in the area reported finding the remains at 6:43 p.m. Wednesday, according to the sheriff’s log.
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