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Details emerge about mystery skull

By Staff | Apr 22, 2013

Details are finally emerging about a mysterious human skull found in northwest Pierce County near Round Lake in early October.

According to a Pierce County Sheriff’s Department press release, the skull was initially found by local hunters around 8:45 a.m. on Oct. 3.

Law enforcement officials located the skull with the help of area residents, and marked and secured the site.

The press release said the skull was transported to the University of North Dakota, where it was examined by Dr. Phoebe Stubblefield, a forensic anthropologist and director of UND’s Forensic Science Division.

After examining the skull, Stubblefield has concluded that the skull is of an adult male and is decades, but not centuries, old.

She believes the person died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound from a small caliber firearm, according to the release. Stubblefield reported that the skull likely came from a missing person.

Stubblefield doesn’t believe the skull came from a burial site and was washed into the lake, but was submerged and only located last fall when the lake’s level was low.

The report took nearly six months to compile due to the condition of the skull, and the examination is continuing.

“Based on the skull being located near the shore and submerged in water for an unknown amount of time, the skull had to dry thoroughly for further examination,” she said.

Law enforcement officials have marked the site where the skull was found, and say it will be more thoroughly processed later in the spring or early in the summer, depending on water levels.

Pierce County Sheriff Matthew Lunde said a dive team with underwater metal detectors and other law enforcement agencies will likely be used in the search.

Anyone with information on the skull is asked to contact the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department at 776-5245.

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