Hammond police believe remains are human

October 7, 2011 2:46:15 PM PDT
Authorities have unearthed what appear to be a human skull, a hand bone, and a finger with a ring on it in Hammond, Ind.

On Friday afternoon, investigators said they believe the remains found are those of a human female.

"Because of the type of the ring that was on her finger, we believe it to be a female body. It has been a while," said Chief Brian Miller, Hammond Police Department.

Authorities describe the ring as gold with a colored birthstone on it. That was enough to convince Doris Starnes the remains could belong to her daughter, Doreen Fogle, who went missing 15 years ago. The 74-year-old says the jewelry found might match the identical rings she and her daughter used to wear.

"One minute you hope it is for closure," said Starnes.

The bones were found by Rottweiler named Brutus while crews demolished the building that once housed the Great Lakes Bait and Tackle Shop. The property was recently condemned and has been unoccupied for 10 years. Crews had been tearing up the building's foundation.

"He went down in there and came back with what looked like chicken bones in his mouth or something, and then we noticed it looked like one of the chicken bones had a ring on it," said Mike Bender, Brutus' owner.

On Friday morning, blue and red markers dotted the excavation site where a forensic archaeologist joined the coroner's office in their difficult search for more bones. But Kenneth Ladien has his own theory about how the remains ended up in the ruble.

"It could just be, if the place was abandoned for a while, someone could have been under there," said Ladien.

Neighborhood residents just don't know what to think.

"Me and my cousin couldn't even believe it. It's disgusting because I've lived here. My parents have lived here for 30 years," said Amber Moore, Hammond resident.

"I heard about this the other night and I never seen anything like this," said Paxton Jones, Hammond resident.

ABC obtained photos of the apparent skull and finger bones, but chose not to show them.

The investigation is ongoing. Hammond police are asking anyone with information about a missing person or possible homicide case connected to the area to contact them.

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