Human skull found during pipeline work in Porter County
BY AMY LAVALLEY Post-Tribune correspondent January 20, 2014 2:00PM
Updated: January 20, 2014 9:57PM
VALPARAISO — Detectives with the Porter County Sheriff’s Department, as well as Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris, are investigating the discovery of a human skull Monday morning at an Enbridge Pipeline construction site in Liberty Township.
Harris, who has the skull, has contacted a forensic anthropologist to assist with the investigation, and expects DNA testing to be conducted as well. He is unsure how long that aspect of the investigation will take.
“It depends on what they have to work with,” he said, adding the skull is missing a jawbone but is otherwise complete. “The skull appears to be in somewhat decent condition.”
Contractors working for Enbridge made the discovery shortly before 10 a.m. about 250 feet west of Meridian Road, north of U.S. 6.
“It definitely was what appeared to be part of a human skull,” said Sgt. Larry LaFlower, public information officer for the sheriff’s department.
Contractors were moving a skid trailer in an area being excavated when they made the discovery, so investigators aren’t sure where the skull may have been originally, LaFlower said.
Detectives and workers from Precision Pipeline sifted through dirt in an area that was approximately 200 square feet, and did not locate any other human remains or belongings. The pipeline workers also used their excavating equipment to assist with the search.
“We currently have no open missing persons cases that this would be linked to, and there is no reason for residents to be in fear for their safety,” LaFlower said, though he added that the area is still being treated as a crime scene.
Though bones are occasionally reported to the coroner’s office, they typically are from animals, Harris said.
‘This is the first time I can remember in the over 10 years I’ve been in the coroner’s office that we have a human skull,” he said.