- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 15, 2014

HILO, Hawaii (AP) - Hawaii County police are investigating the discovery of human remains in an area of a veterans cemetery where there was no record of a burial.

The collection of loose bones was discovered at the East Hawaii Veterans Cemetery No. 2, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald (https://is.gd/JVc91Z) reported Wednesday.

County workers were using a backhoe to excavate a plot on Monday when they came across the bones buried about 4 feet deep, police Lt. Greg Esteban said.

“When I first got the call that remains had been found at a cemetery, I was kind of puzzled,” he said. “But the guys who were digging the hole knew that something wasn’t right.”

The bones were found with a piece of fabric-like material and a cellophane wrapper.

Esteban said there was no apparent sign of foul play.

“At this point, we’re nowhere close to identifying this person,” he said.

An archaeologist responded to the scene, and Esteban said it doesn’t appear the bones are ancient.

The area where the remains were discovered is a new section at the southern end of the cemetery that didn’t come into use until the early 1990s, he said.

The remains have been taken to Hilo Medical Center for a preliminary examination and might be transported to Honolulu for analysis by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command. The military-civilian task force conducts global searches, recovery and laboratory operations with the hope of identifying unaccounted for Americans from past conflicts.

Task force spokeswoman Jamie Dobson said the command also is available to help state and local authorities when resources are available.

“Our forensic anthropologists could provide a biological profile of the remains. It really depends on what they’re asked to analyze,” Dobson said.

With a nearly complete set of remains, the anthropologists could determine the sex, race, stature and approximate age at the time of death, she said.

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Information from: Hawaii Tribune-Herald, https://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/

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