Shawnee County

Sheriff’s Office

Sheriff Richard W. Barta
Law Enforcement Center

320 South Kansas Ave., Suite 200
Topeka, KS 66603-3641

County Logo

January 9, 2008


NEWS RELEASE # 080108-Skull Fragment

CONTACT: Sergeant Danny Lotridge 785.368.2217

Topeka Resident Finds Old Skull Fragment on Kansas River Bank

The Shawnee County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to the south end of the Westgate Bridge, or approximately the 1500 Block of N. US Hwy 75 on Tuesday, January 8th, 2008 at approximately 3:43 p.m. in reference to a person finding an unidentified bone.  The bone was found by a citizen, 27, of Topeka, who was hiking along the Kansas River on a sand bar near around the area of the Westgate Bridge.   The citizen found the bone along the sand bar while looking for fossils and contacted the Sheriff’s Office. 

Deputies examined the bone and summoned the Shawnee County Coroner’s Office.  Sharon Mandel, Chief Medical Investigator for the Shawnee County Coroner’s Office, determined that the bone was a partial piece of a human skull.  The Coroner’s Office determined that the bone was very old, but had not yet fossilized.  Because it had washed up from the Kansas River, the Coroner’s Office said it would not be possible to determine the origin of the bone. 

Mrs. Mandel said the bone will be sent to the Kansas State University Forensic Anthropologist’s Department, who will later determine the age of the bone, and possibly the gender and ethnicity.  Mrs. Mandel said the KSU Forensic Anthropologist will issue an official report of their findings.  

Let’s make Topeka the Safest Capital City in America.

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