Sacramento County Sheriff’s Officers are investigating a suspicious death after workers renovating a vacant home in North Highlands discovered an entire human skeleton buried in the backyard.
The homeowner—who wished to only be identified as Dimeas–told Fox 40 he’d been renting out the property for the last ten years. However, in late November, Dimeas was forced to evict the family living there after they failed to pay rent for a year and reportedly trashed the home. When the tenants—who have not been identified—finally vacated, Dimeas found the residence in “deplorable condition.”
While cleaning the home and hauling away seven trailer loads of trash on the day after Christmas, workers and Dimeas reportedly spotted what appeared to be a leg sticking out of the ground near the back door.
Construction worker Brian Johnston told Fox 40:
“One bone, like a femur it looked like, and one below. It was just laid out right there.”
The homeowner told CBS Sacramento:
“Once the trash was pretty much cleared, a cat was digging in that one area, and my friend noticed that it was a bone…It’s strange and devastating, obviously, you don’t go cleaning up the backyard and find something like that…It was shocking, we just had to call the cops.”
It took detectives two days to exhume the entire skeleton.
When Sacramento County Sheriff patrol deputies and homicide investigators examined the bones—which apparently had been buried but had “surfaced” and become exposed—they were determined to be human, according to a Sheriff’s Department news release on Thursday.
Much is still unclear in this still-developing story, including—but not limited to— the victim’s identity and cause of death, as well as how long the remains were buried in the backyard. However, according to Sergeant Hampton, the case is being investigated as a homicide or suspicious death:
“At this time, it is not believed the remains are ancient…We are investigating this as a suspicious death; we do not have a cause of death, we do not have a sex or an age, or anything of that nature.”
The discovery has left the sleepy suburban community shaken.
“That’s a scary thing,” neighbor Michael Wortham told Fox 40. “There’s nothing that goes on around this neighborhood.”
“Was it a female? A male?,” asked neighbor Linda Zamora, “Maybe somebody murdered them, stuck them back there hoping they’d never be found, who knows?”