A homicide investigation is underway after skeletal human remains were found near Molalla earlier this month, according to the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office.
The sheriff’s office said a Weyerhauser crew was planting trees in a steep, fire-damaged ravine off a private logging road in a wilderness area southeast of Molalla when they “stumbled across” the remains, including a partial human skull, on Jan. 8.
Deputies, detectives and forensic specialists, along with the Clackamas County Medical Examiner’s Office and Oregon State Police crime scene investigators, spent several days combing over and photographing the scene, recovering and documenting all available remains and any other possible evidence at the site.
Colton fire had units respond and assist https://t.co/RJ3y3w48VO
Search and rescue volunteers also responded to the scene to run rope lines due to the steep 45-degree incline where the remains were found, officials said.
The sheriff’s office believes the remains may have been there for some time and predate the September wildfires.
Scraps of clothing were found in the area. Additional items recovered at the site include a white low-top style canvas athletic shoe (size 9.5) and a dark gray metal ring with a squared red stone.
Police say the on-site investigation concluded last week. The recovered skeletal remains are now with Dr. Nici Vance, State Forensic Anthropologist with the Oregon State Police, for detailed analysis.
The investigator’s preliminary report noted that the Weyerhaeuser forest logging road on which the remains were found runs nearly adjacent to the Molalla River, and is located approximately 4 miles southeast of the center of the city of Molalla.
The hillside that the remains were discovered on was fire damaged from a large conflagration that burned through the area in September 2020.
More details on the remains will follow as the investigation unfolds, officials said. As of now, the case is being investigated as a homicide.