COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (CBS4)– The human remains found at Suncor Energy plant are a mystery to investigators as they try to figure out where they came from.

Workers found the bones Friday at the plant near Interstate 270 and Brighton Boulevard in Commerce City.

“We had some work going on inside our plant and essentially we had some workers who came upon what appears to be a discovery of some bones,” said Suncor Refinery spokeswoman Lisha Burnett.

(credit: CBS)

The bones are being examined by the Adams County Coroner who is trying to determine how old the bones are, whether they have any forensic value to police and if they could be linked to a crime.

“They have to decide if this is possibly a criminal case, remains from a homicide,” said Thomas Carr with the Office of the State Archaeologist.

Carr said if anything criminal is ruled out and the bones are more than 100 years old, the case takes an historic turn, “We work with coroners, law enforcement, forensic anthropologists to determine if it’s archeological, Native American or Anglo American.”

Determining the age of the Suncor bones will be tricky. Several factors will be taken into consideration.

“How deeply they’re buried, what type of soil are they in, has the soil not been disturbed for a long time, are there artifacts,” said Carr.

He urges anyone who finds human remains to leave them alone and undisturbed and to call law enforcement. Collecting those bones is illegal and could jeopardize not only a historic site but also a criminal case.

“Make the assumption that it is a forensic case, that you could be disturbing a crime scene that you could make so the case isn’t solvable,” said Carr.

Carr said there are about eight to 10 cases of human remains that his office investigates every year. In most cases, the remains are Native American.


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