California

Human skull found by Caltrans crews in Morro Bay was there less than a year, sheriff says

A human skull was found in Morro Bay on Thursday morning — and investigators believe it’s been there less than a year.

Caltrans crews were doing maintenance work, including landscaping and tree trimming, at the Highway 1 and Morro Bay Boulevard interchange when they found what appeared to be a human skull, according to Caltrans public information officer Colin Jones.

Their suspicion was confirmed by San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office detectives, coroner investigators and forensic pathologist who arrived at the scene to investigate, according to Sheriff’s Office spokesman Tony Cipolla.

The pathologist estimates the remains have been in the area anywhere from several months to a year, Cipolla said in news release sent Thursday afternoon.

It’s unknown if the remains are associated with a former transient camp near the site, Cipolla said.

There is no indication of foul play, Cipolla said.

He added that the sex, cause of death and identity of the remains are “undetermined at this time.”

The forensic investigation will be conducted by the Sheriff’s Office’s forensic pathologist and forensic anthropologist, Cipolla said, and the Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Team will search the area for additional remains.

The skull is not believed to be ancestral remains of one of the local tribes, Salinan or Chumash, Cipolla said. If it had been, the California Environmental Quality Act requires the coroner to contact the Native American Heritage Commission to protect the remains from destruction.

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