A team of forensic experts plans to begin combing today a wooded area southwest of Manchester, where a homeowner digging fill dirt in his woods Sunday evening uncovered a suspected human leg bone and a buried, decaying work boot, state police said.
The remains have not been determined to be human and thus cannot be dated, beyond saying they are old, - although apparently not dating as far back as the Civil War or Native American periods, Maj. Greg Shipley, state police spokesman, said yesterday.
Lt. Terry L. Katz, commander of the Westminster barracks, who was on the scene Sunday night after the bone was discovered, said the remains could be about 10 years old, judging from the condition of the boot. He said the boot contained material that might be bones.
Investigators hope to find clues today at the scene of the discovery, off the 2500 block of Manchester Road (Route 27). The area has been secured with an officer on guard and crime-scene tape, and tarpaulins cover the site. The bone and the boot remain at the scene, Katz said.
"We could find substantially more," Shipley said of the planned search. A forensics expert from the U.S. Department of Defense is expected to assist investigators from the state police homicide unit and the state medical examiner's office in a search of the scene.
The experts will attempt to determine whether the bone is human, Katz said. If it is, investigators will study the soil to try to determine how the bone and boot were buried.
The mystery began about 6 p.m. Sunday when a homeowner called state police at the Westminster barracks. The man, whom the police would not identify, said he had been digging fill dirt with hand tools in the woods on his property when he uncovered a bone about 1 1/2 feet below the surface, the police said. When he dug up a decaying boot soon afterward, he stopped digging and reported the finds.
The area is about three-quarters of a mile from the south side of Route 27, off a private, common-use driveway, Shipley said. The man and his family have lived there for 11 years.
Carroll County has no active missing-person cases, Katz said. He said state police were contacting other law-enforcement agencies in central Maryland and southern Pennsylvania yesterday to see whether any missing-person cases or unsolved homicides might be connected to the discovery.