Public’s help asked in identifying skull |

Public’s help asked in identifying skull

Submitted PhotoA forensic psychologist created this clay facial reconstruction of a skull found on Red Mountain near Glenwood Springs.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario is asking for help in identifying a human male skull found by hikers on Red Mountain on Aug. 9, 2003.

Sandy Mays, a Wyoming-based forensic anthropologist, recently completed a clay facial reconstruction of the skull.

According to a report from Diane France at the Laboratory for Human Identification at Colorado State University, the skull is from a white male of European ancestry. The man was likely between the ages of 35 and 55 at the time of death.

Investigative Sgt. Bill Middleton with the sheriff’s department said officials don’t know when the man died, but the skull is believed to be from a recently deceased person.

“In my opinion, given the condition of the skull, it’s not hundreds of years old,” Middleton said. “But I don’t want to speculate. At this time, it’s undetermined.”

Mays’ clay reconstruction includes a “generic” hair style and color, according to Vallario, since the skull held no clues about the man’s hair, eye color or complexion.

“For all we know, he could have had dreadlocks,” Middleton said.

Middleton also said he was not able to give information on the cause of death since the case is still under investigation.

A man and his 12-year-old son discovered the skull last summer at the bottom of a steep ravine a half mile from the Red Mountain water treatment plant, just outside Glenwood Springs city limits.

The two also found a hip bone and part of a spine within three feet of the skull. Those bones were initially thought to be human remains associated with the skull, but were later discovered to be animal bones.

Investigators are hoping that someone will recognize the man based on the clay reconstruction so the sheriff’s office can make a positive identification.

Middleton said the Garfield County sheriff’s department typically processes two or three cases of unidentified human remains a year. Besides the Glenwood case, a fisherman found a human skull in the Colorado River last July. As of yet, it has not been identified.

Contact Carrie Click: 945-8515, ext. 518

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