COARSEGOLD — With construction halted on the construction site of the new Chukchansi Crossing fuel stop on Highway 41 at Lucky Lane, the investigation into the origin of a fragment of bone found yesterday continues.
According to a report from ABC30, the Madera County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that the bone found yesterday morning at the site is a human bone. The Sheriff’s Office says they are working closely with the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians to determine if there are more bones buried at the site.
Work was halted Wednesday morning after the fragment of bone was found, and the Sheriff’s Office is coordinating with the Tribe in the search for more bones or evidence.
According to ABC30, a preliminary report from the forensic anthropologist at Fresno State University states that the bone seems to be 18 to 30 years old and possibly came from a male.
Sheriff Varney said usually bones found on tribal land are 100 years or older, but since this bone is more recent, it is a Coroner’s case and is being investigated as a possible homicide. He says they will need to do more searching at the site and try to determine why and how it wound up there.
“We don’t know at this point; the entire range of possibilities is out there,” says Varney.
“The ground where the discovery was made is completely roped off and construction is halted in that section,” Tribal Chairwoman Claudia Gonzales told ABC30 in a phone interview today.
The Sheriff’s Office says they expect to bring in cadaver dogs to help with the search, and may have to dig down further to see if there are any more remains at the site. They also will have someone watching the site 24/7 until the investigation is complete.
Anyone who may have information helpful to the investigation is asked to contact the Madera County Sheriff’s Office at 559-675-7770.