GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (CBS4) – A group of Colorado Mesa University students say they are hoping to find out whose remains they found last month while working on a class project.

The students were on an outdoor assignment on the Uncompahgre Plateau when they found a skull and reported the discovery to authorities. A few weeks later they found a jaw bone in the same area, a few hundred yards off Divide Road.

All of the bones have been turned over to the sheriff’s office, which so far says it doesn’t know whose remains they are.

“We don’t have any identification on who that skull belongs to or what happened to them,” said Mesa County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Heather Benjamin. “We’ve reviewed our missing person cases that would have any sort of possible connection to this and for what we have it does not match those cases.”

The students were on a field trip with their environmental sciences class when they made the discovery.

“I kicked it over in the ground and I had nothing to say (after that),” Chris Abshire told CBS4 partner KREX-TV. “I kind of rolled it over with my foot.”

Prof. Deborah Kennard was leading the field trip and said the discovery was shocking.

“He came and got me, and my first question was ‘Are you sure it’s a human skull?’ And when you see it there’s absolutely no mistaking that (fact),” Kennard said.

Benjamin said an investigator has been assigned to the case and that person will work with the coroner’s office and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation in an effort to identify the remains. The hope is that a DNA sample or dental records will match with a national database of reported missing persons.

Abshire said he’s hoping a phone call from authorities comes soon with news of the identity.

“It’s not like finding an animal or anything out there. It’s a person,” he said.

students Colorado Mesa University Students Find Skull During Field Trip

The students pose for a photo after the discovery. (credit: KREX-TV)

“It was like a one in a million shot,” Korey Kennedy, a senior on the field trip, told KREX. “I’ve never met anyone who has found a skull.”

VIDEO: Watch a report by KREX-TV’s Matt Kroschel


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