- Associated Press - Monday, June 2, 2014

DETROIT (AP) - A medical examiner was trying Monday to determine the identity and cause of death for a person whose dismembered body was found encased in cement inside a shed behind a Detroit home.

The cut-up corpse was found Friday by a neighbor who noticed an overwhelming foul odor in the shed and called police, said officer Adam Madera, a Detroit police spokesman.

An officer discovered some of the parts after opening one of the containers. The gender of the person was not immediately known and the parts found “are believed to be the entire body,” he said Monday.

A man, who may have been living or squatting inside the home on Freeland Street, was arrested and is being held on an unrelated charge, Madera added.

A forensic anthropologist on Tuesday is expected to begin chiseling away at the cement encasing the body parts, said Mary Mazur, a spokeswoman for the Wayne County medical examiner’s office.

Mazur said a toe and top of a skull can be seen protruding through the cement.

The case is the latest in a number of dismemberments over the past few years in and around Detroit.

Donna Scrivo, 60, of St. Clair Shores, is charged with first-degree murder and faces a competency hearing in the slaying and dismemberment of her adult son. Ramsay Scrivo’s body was found earlier this year dumped in trash bags along roadsides about 50 miles northeast of Detroit.

A judge in April sentenced William Dhondt, 29, to mandatory life in prison without parole in the murder and mutilation of his 29-year-old girlfriend, Kaitlin Hehir.

Authorities said Dhondt spent several hours dismembering Hehir’s body in the basement of her Farmington Hills home, northwest of Detroit. The parts were placed in a large box, baggies and other containers.

Roger Bowling faces trial in August on murder charges in the 2012 shooting deaths of his ex-girlfriend and her fiance in Allen Park, a suburb of Detroit. Their heads and limbs were chopped off and dumped into the Detroit River.

Dismemberments - for the most part - are attempts to conceal remains from earlier crimes, said Dr. Ljubisa Dragovic, the medical examiner for Oakland County, north of Detroit.

“It’s easier to remove the remains if they are in smaller sizes than the whole body,” he said.

DNA testing has made identification easier, Dragovic added.

“Certainly, there are great new technologies that can allow us to put together comparisons if comparisons are available,” he said. “Beyond all that, it all depends on the preservation of the remains. Sometimes people do the dismemberments and try to burn the remains.”

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