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Search for human remains begins after skull found

NEAR GARDNER, Kan. — Johnson County Sheriff’s deputies Tuesday returned to a wooded area to search for human remains after the discovery of a skull. Investigators say it appears the skull had been in the woods for some time. The search scene is west of Gardner, near 215th and Gardner roads.

Deputies say two people searching Monday for deer antlers in the woods instead discovered a human skull at about 3:30 p.m. Deputies have since cordoned off a square mile area to do a meticulous search for other evidence of human remains.

“We’re still just trying to figure out what we have here on the property and find evidence that might lead us to somebody who can be associated to this skull,” said Deputy Rick Howell of the Johnson County Sheriff’s Dept.

So far Howell says he’s not sure if any of the material deputies have gathered might be other human remains. Investigators are using a specially trained dog to help them identify potential evidence.

A neighboring property owner says it’s not unusual for people to be in the woods, because it’s a scenic walk.

“It would be unsettling,” said Dean Jenkins. “But we’ve lived here for 23 years and it’s so infrequent that all you can do is shake your head and wonder what could possibly have occurred.”

Jenkins says he also looks for deer antlers whenever he goes walking through the woods.He says it has lots of wildlife and is heavily forested.

Deputies say so far there are no obvious signs of foul play, but they say they hope any evidence they find will help them determine who the skull belongs to and how it ended up in the woods.

Howell declined to comment about whether investigators are trying to match the skull to anyone reported missing in the area.

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