DNR takes over investigation of skull found in Porter County

2014-01-21T16:14:00Z 2014-01-21T22:26:15Z DNR takes over investigation of skull found in Porter CountyJohn Scheibel john.scheibel@nwi.com, (219) 548-4358 nwitimes.com

LIBERTY TOWNSHIP | State preservation officials have taken over the investigation of the origin of a skull found Monday by workers installing an underground pipeline.

Workers for Precision Pipeline reported finding the skull about 9:45 a.m. Monday along Meridian Road, about a quarter mile north of U.S. 6.

Detectives from the Porter County Sheriff’s Department processed the area and found no other remains.

On Monday night, the Department of Natural Resources announced it would lead the investigation based on findings by forensic anthropologist Stephen Nawrocki from the University Of Indianapolis.

DNR public information officer Cpl. Shawn Brown said Nawrocki believed the skull to be “pre-1940 origin.”

Because of its age, the DNR Historical Preservation and Archaeology Division will be analyze the skull to determine its age and origin.

Brown said the DNR ordered Precision Pipeline to cease operations in the area while the Historical Preservation and Archaeology Division decides whether any further exploration of the area is warranted.

That division will try to determine if there’s any historical value to the skull and whether it’s possible it came from a native American burial ground.

Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris confirmed the skull was handed off to officials with the DNR. He said erosion on the skull was one clue in determining its age.

He said the coroner’s office involvement with the case is over, unless more thorough inspection reveals the skull is not as old as originally thought.

Porter County police Sgt. Larry LaFlower said the sheriff’s department role in the case is also finished.

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