Officials investigate after human bones found buried behind SLC home

Posted at 6:11 PM, Mar 27, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY -- Human remains were discovered in Salt Lake City in a backyard near 500 North 200 West Wednesday; ancient human remains are scattered all across the state, and many Utahns are finding them without even looking.

“We get reports of finds from people hiking, to farmers, to construction, all the way down to people digging in their backyards,” said Geoffrey Fattah with the Utah Department of Heritage Arts.

According to Salt Lake City Police Department officials, homeowners where digging a pond in their backyard when they found what appeared to be human bones at the bottom of the 6-foot trench.

“When we see the bones, if its fragments or can’t be explained, we’ll just bring them back, book them into evidence, maybe have them sent to crime lab for some way to verify if they are human or animal,” Said Det. Veronica Montoya of the Salt Lake City Police Department.

The medical examiner brought the bones to the lab for testing, and by Thursday afternoon had determined the bones were artifacts not evidence.

“Our forensics anthropologist has been told that they appear to be old remains but we don’t know much more than that,” Fattah said.

When it appears remains are old or ancient, the medical examiner calls the State Department of Heritage Arts to continue the investigation.

“We do find pioneer remains, we do find native American remains that go way back, at this point we still need to do a lot of work and analysis to determine who this individual was,” Fattah said.

Last May, bones were discovered in the basement of a Salt Lake City home. Utah's Department of Heritage Arts said discoveries like these happen on average about five to seven times each year but each time is equally as valuable.

“Every new find of remains is an opportunity to learn more about how the ancient people who lived in this valley lived,” Fattah said.