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Human skull found near Griffith Park trail

February 16, 2010 12:23:58 AM PST
Detectives are investigating on Tuesday after hikers found a human skull at Griffith Park near Skyline Trail.Authorities were notified of the discovery, just west of the merry-go-round, on Monday night. The skull was quickly turned over to the LAPD, and police are now working with the L.A. County Coroner's Office to try and solve this case.

An anthropologist working as a member of the team said Tuesday that she believes that the skull belongs to an adult male and that the skull may have been at the park for up to two years.

Monday morning, investigators conducted an extensive search with a team of about 15 to 20 people combing the area looking for any other skeletal remains. However, the search turned up nothing else.

The hiker who found the skull was on a steep trail used mostly by experienced hikers because of the difficult terrain.

Assistant Chief Ed Winter of the coroner's office said that there was a small amount of flesh left on the skull. Authorities are not commenting on whether the skull showed signs of trauma.

"We don't know if it was unearthed or if an animal had carried it away from its original resting point, but we're looking into trying to match it up," said Winter.

"We hope to get DNA and possible match to some dental work with any missings or possible missing people from the area," Winter added. "It could take us years to locate and figure out who this person is."

The coroner's office won't confirm how old they think this man was, and they haven't determined whether it was a homicide, accidental death or if it was death by natural causes.

The investigation is still in its early stage, so there is very little information and more questions than answers at this point.