Human remains were discovered Wednesday evening at a secluded site just south of Mount Airy city limits.
Surry County Sheriff Graham Atkinson said members of his department and the Surry County EMS responded at around 6:30 p.m. to a location at the end of Lynnhaven Road, off Old U.S. 601, after walkers found a skeleton in the woods.
The local residents were walking their dogs in the area when they discovered the remains, according to the sheriff.
The remains were discovered in a wooded area, only yards from a dirt trail which runs through a field owned by the Ararat Rock Products Company at the end of the street.
Atkinson said on Thursday that it has been difficult to determine much about the remains.
“It (the skeleton) has been there for an extended period of time,” he explained. “It is fully decomposed. We have only a skeleton to work with.”
Members of his department and the State Bureau of Investigation were on hand to process the crime scene Wednesday night, said Atkinson. Since the skeleton was found in a densely wooded area, however, authorities secured the scene and broke for the night once it was dark.
The sheriff said investigators were back at the scene on Thursday, taking pictures and gathering physical evidence. A cadaver dog was also used in an attempt to locate additional pieces of the skeleton, and before leaving the crime scene, investigators formed a line and walked across the site.
He said some of the remains were scattered, and animal bones are mixed with the human remains. Eventually, an anthropologist will have to examine the bones to determine specifics about the find.
According to the sheriff, the remains will be sent to N.C. Baptist Hospital, where they will be examined. The examination should tell investigators matters such as how old the person was at the time of his or her death, the person’s gender and ethnicity and how long ago the person died.
Surry County Medical Examiner John Shelton said he was unsure how long it would take to get any answers from the autopsy.
Atkinson said after his department has that information, officials will begin reaching out for leads as to who the person may have been.
He noted the case is being treated as a homicide, and anybody with information regarding the case should contact the Surry County Sheriff’s Office at 401-8900.
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.