By Associated Press - Sunday, July 31, 2016

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - The human remains found last week at a Council Bluffs construction site may offer clues about the Mormon pioneers who crossed the region in the 1800s.

Sister Terry Latey is a research librarian with an Omaha chapter of the Church of Latter-Day Saints. She says the area where human remains were found was likely part of the Mormon Trail that hundreds of pioneers followed west to Salt Lake City.

The bones discovered Thursday and Friday will be examined at the University of Iowa to determine their age and other details, the Daily Nonpareil reported ( ). The bones are believed to be more than 100 years old.

Pottawattamie County Medical Examiner Karen Foreman said the bones are from several different individuals, who were most likely of European descent.

Latey, who is a research librarian at the Mormon Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters, said hundreds of Mormon pioneers passed through the area in 1846 on their way from Illinois to Salt Lake City, she said.

“The first group of Mormons who came through Iowa had a rough time,” she said. “They left Illinois in February during a very cold winter. To get across Iowa took them four months and many died. It’s not uncommon to find a gravesite every few miles on the Mormon Trail, and, unfortunately, oftentimes families had to bury more than one person at a time.”

Latey also said the remains could be from Fort Croghan, which operated nearby in 1842-43.

Council Bluffs Police Capt. Todd Weddum says the department isn’t investigating because the age of the bones means they couldn’t be linked to any missing persons cases.


Information from: The Daily Nonpareil,

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