Teeth from skull found in Peoria Co. linked to remains in Schuyler County

Holly Eitenmiller For Chronicle Media

A U.S. Geological Service map of the Lower Illinois River Basin shows the river and its tributaries. Yellow dots indicate the two areas in which human remains were discovered in 2016, and again in 2017. Forensic pathologists have linked DNA from a torso found in Schuyler County eight months ago with that of a skull found near a Peoria County campsite in June.

NA extracted from the teeth of a skull found in Peoria County in June has been linked to that from human remains discovered by fisherman in Schuyler County late last year.

Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood said forensic pathologist Dr. Amanda Yoemans at the Illinois State Police Crime Lab in Morton made the connection by extracting and testing dentin from teeth in the skull.

Resident campers at the Rivers Edge campground in Kingston Mines found the skull on the receding river bank June 12 while readying their campsites for the summer. The skull was greatly decomposed due to warmer temperatures, and little tissue remained except some hair, but the teeth were intact.

Initially, police from Schuyler County did not believe the torso found there Nov. 13, 2016 belonged to the Kingston Mines remains, likely due to the differences in decomposition. Fisherman at Sugar Creek, where it meets the Illinois River, found the torso.

Sugar Creek is about 50 miles south of Kingston Mines.

Schuyler County Coroner Terry Millslagle said, then, that the torso “appeared to be a man’s remains and that the limbs looked as though they had been removed.”

Those remains were sent to the McLean County coroner’s office where forensic pathologist Dr. Scott Dentin performed an autopsy.

“Since the torso was in a different county, the pathologists will have to marry those reports and collective collaborate a cause of death,” Harwood said.

Once the cause of death has been determined, the county in which those remains were found will have jurisdiction over the case. If the person died as a result of injuries to the torso, McLean County will proceed with the investigation. Likewise with the skull.

In a July 14 press release, Harwood stated, “It was obvious the individual had suffered some kind of head trauma; however, it is unclear whether it was an inflicted trauma, or one of an accidental nature. We are continuing to investigate the cause of death; the task of making identification is also of great priority.”

Though it may be unlikely that the loss of limbs was caused by decomposition or an accident, Harwood said accidental death cannot be ruled out until the pathologists’ work is complete. The remains have been determined to be that of a middle-aged male, who died more than eight months ago.

In the meantime, Illinois State Police and respective county police will begin sorting through missing persons databases in an attempt to identify the deceased. Harwood said anyone with

information related to this case is encouraged to contact the Peoria County Sheriff’s Office at(309) 697-7822 or Crime Stoppers at (309) 673-9000.

–Teeth from skull found in Peoria Co. linked to remains in Schuyler County–