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Missaukee County Property Owners Find Human Remains, Sheriff’s Office Investigates

Michael Tusan and his wife were driving around their Norwich Township woods they’ve owned the past year or more Saturday. It was a nice day that turned into something less so when they discovered bones.

“Actually about a foot from where I mow, when I opened up that path last year… it’s really the first time I’ve been able to go around that property, that part of the property,” says Tusan. “We saw what we thought would have been a coyote skull or something and when I walked up on it, it was a human skull.”

Tusan says the human skull – believed to be a woman’s – was looking right at him.

“Definitely something you don’t want to see everyday, or something that you come across probably never in your lifetime,” he says. “But it was just, like, that’s not good. We’re going to have to call the police and don’t touch anything and back out of the area.”

Tusan says local law enforcement, Michigan State Police and their crime lab came back to the woods to search for more remains and begin looking for answers to something that “shouldn’t have been there.”

He says the woods are hardly traveled so the remains could have been there for awhile. Time and animal activity led law enforcement to search for the rest of the skeleton for several days.

The mostly complete skeleton – minus teeth and a femur bone – is still a challenge for law enforcement to ID. Missaukee County currently has no missing women to narrow the possibilities.

“Investigators [are] making inquiries to the surrounding counties,” says Sheriff Yancer. “The investigation obviously is progressing. The remains have been transported down to Lansing, to Sparrow hospital. ”

Yancer believes they contract with Michigan State University Anthropology Department to help assist with the identification process. With what remains there are, it will rely heavily on DNA records.

“It can be very difficult because our society is very transient,” says Yancer. “People move from state-to-state. You have people that might not be close to family members, which could explain why there is no reported missing locally. The possibilities are endless.”

This type of investigation is not unusual for Yancer. In his law enforcement career, mainly downstate, he’s had a couple of cases involving human remains. “I’ve been involved in a couple where there were Native American remains,” he says.

Though in this case, the remains are not believed to be from an ancient burial ground.

There was a degraded shirt and shoe found that may help match the remains to a missing person, somewhere. Though, Yancer says, it can still take months or even years, in some instances.

It’s still unknown if foul play is involved.

Sheriff Yancer asks that any images that may be on social media, be taken down and not be shared.

“There’s still family out there somewhere that we hopefully, ultimately will make an identification,” says Yancer. “There’s obviously family out there would probably like to hear it from us first.”

Anyone with information should contact Missaukee County Sheriff’s Office at .