Two skulls, one with parts missing, were found near Jefferson City -- and police have no idea how they got there.
"It's a mystery," Callaway County Sheriff Dennis Crane tells Daily RFT. "We don't know what we've got exactly."
Crane tells us that a passerby who was walking along Old Highway 94, just east of Jefferson City, noticed one skull by a branch of the Missouri River. "He saw what he believed to be a skull. He got a stick to move it and it was a complete skull."
When investigators arrived, they noticed it was not alone. They found another partial skull that was a piece of a cap, he says.
There was also a broken tombstone laying a few feet away, Crane says.
"You could tell they had been in water," he says. "They don't look fresh."
He adds, "I'm no expert -- that's why we're going to have an anthropologist look at it."
After investigators located the skulls, "We spent the whole day walking up and down that branch," he says. "There's so much debris and different things, just because of the flood."
It's possible, he says, that these could be old skulls that washed up due to recent flooding, but it's too early in the investigation to offer any specifics, he says.
His office is trying to determine if there are any nearby cemeteries where the skulls and tombstone may have originated. "We don't know where it could have come from at this point."
There's nothing on the scene -- no clothes, for example -- to indicate anything suspicious, but Crane again emphasizes that the investigation is preliminary.
The partial cap, he says, does have a very clean cut, suggesting that the individual likely went through an autopsy. Autopsies happen for suspicious deaths or fatalities when the cause is unknown, he notes.
"It's a very precise cut," he says.
A few times in the past, graves have washed up in that area and there was one time sheriffs investigated a headless skeleton, Crane recalls.
Still, he adds, "It's obviously not something you find everyday."