VAIL — Work at a construction site in Vail was stopped Thursday after an equipment operator found a human skull.
According to a statement from Eagle County Coroner Kara Bettis, that skull was discovered at a construction debris site in Edwards. The debris came from a construction site in Lionshead, where excavation is taking place for a new condo/commercial project approved as “Strata” but now called “The Lion.” That project required tearing down the Vail International and VailGlo Lodge buildings.
The skull was discovered by Joe Caldwell, a heavy equipment operator for United Companies. Caldwell said he stopped work immediately and contacted his supervisors and the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office.
Work at the construction site in Vail stopped just a bit after the discovery, and preliminary investigation uncovered another large bone. The coroner’s office, along with the sheriff’s office, Vail Police Department, the Colorado 5th Judicial District Attorney’s office and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation are all participating in the investigation. That investigation will seek to determine the age and gender of the skeleton, as well as a cause and manner of death. The investigation could take several days.
Caldwell said this is the second time he’s discovered human remains on the job. The first time was a few years ago while working on a pipeline project near Las Vegas, New Mexico. That time, he said, he was working on the site of an old cemetery. Apparently all the bodies hadn’t been moved, he said.
And, Caldwell said, discovering a human skull is every bit as unnerving as it sounds.
“It gets your blood pumping,” he said. “I’ll definitely have a beer when I get home tonight.”