Scouts find bones that could match human skull

The Hood River County Sheriff’s Office believes that human bones found on Mt. Hood this week will match the skull that was discovered more than two months ago.

Detectives also suspect that the skeletal remains belong to the female victim of a homicide. But the task of identifying that victim could take months given the fact that more than 100 women have been reported missing in Oregon alone during the past two years.

“We’ve found nothing that helps us with identification and that’s what we need,” said Undersheriff Dwayne Troxel following Monday’s successful find of three bones.

A group of Boy Scouts from Multnomah County assisted in the grid search of the woods around Surveyor’s Ridge and the Dog River trailhead. Although a “cadaver dog” had been brought to the site shortly after the skull was found by an environmental group on June 1, the canine failed to turn up any new evidence. However, the scouts came across remains that officials could tell were human even though they had been badly chewed by animals.

“There is a dentist out there somewhere who can help identify this victim and we are going to treat it as a homicide until we can rule that possibility out,” said Detective Gerry Tiffany.

He said the skull has been sent to a state forensic lab to confirm the gender and pinpoint the age of the victim. Based on preliminary studies, he said scientists surmise that the skull had been in that location for less than one year and the deceased was an adult Caucasian female. Because her extensive dental work was done with cheaper materials, she is believed to have lived within a lower income bracket.

Tiffany said since both the upper and lower teeth were intact it should make the task of identification much easier. He has not been so fortunate in finding a match for weathered bones that were found on a rocky ridge above Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort on 2001.

Those remains were discovered by employees of the resort and are believed to have been in that location for more than five years. The skeletal frame of an adult male was wrapped in the remnant of a green leather jacket with a tattered fleece lining. Tiffany said after several unsuccessful attempts to identify the remains within Oregon he broadened the search and requested DNA testing. However, because of state budget constraints, he said that work has been put on a back burner but could eventually lead to a match with a missing man from the East Coast.

Tiffany has been in contact with the family of a lost hiker who made his last telephone call to them in 1999 just before setting off for a trek into the Mt. Hood wilderness.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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