INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– A human jawbone found by a woman who was walking in Garfield Park Tuesday night is stirring up several different theories about its origin.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the bone was in a lab at the University of Indianapolis. Forensics experts were hoping to determine the gender and approximate age of the remains.
Until those answers come, investigators and nearby residents were tossing around several possible theories about the bone.
Based on the bone’s appearance, detectives believe the jawbone is very old. It appeared to be very clean, with little or no tissue attached.
The question is, how old?
One detective raised the possibility that the bone could date back to the Civil War era. He cited a possible connection to a nearby burial site from that time period.
Garfield Park does have a large memorial, marking the burial site of more than 1,600 Confederate soldiers and sailors who died as prisoners of war.
However, the Indiana Historical Society tells Fox59 that the bodies of those soldiers were never actually buried at Garfield Park. They were originally buried at Greenlawn Cemetery, then later moved to Crown Hill Cemetery.
Another theory involves recent flooding at the nearby Pleasant Run Creek.
“That it could have risen, and it could have washed the remains up to its resting place from the creek due to all the rain,” said Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Hewitt.
But, if the bone was washed up onto the grassy area from further down the creek, that still leaves the question of who the bone belonged to and how long it had been buried.
Another theory is that the farmers who owned the land before the city bought it in the 1800s may have buried a loved on their property. But why would the bone surface now?
There is a group called Indy K9 Search and Recovery who use human bones to train their search and rescue dogs in Garfield Park. But they tell Fox59 that although they have lost bones in the past, all their training bones and materials are currently accounted for.
As theories continue to surface, solid answers won’t come until experts at the University of Indianapolis and the Marion County Coroner’s Office have enough time to complete their work.
They may never be able to identify the person, but they may be able to identify how long ago the person died. That could prove to be important information for families who are still waiting for answers about missing loved ones.