Tubbs Hill bones at least 200 years old

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COEUR d’ALENE — The human remains found last month by a hiker at Tubbs Hill will not be used by authorities to solve any local cold cases.

The human femur discovered March 28, as well as the rest of the skeleton unearthed near the point of land that juts into the lake on the east side of the hill, have been aged by forensics experts to be more than a century old.

“After further analysis by experts, it was determined the remains are ‘historical’ and are at least 200 years old and possibly over 1,000 years old,” according to a city police press release.

Detective Jay Wilhelm said, in addition to aging the remains, they were matched with dental records of at least one missing person, and no match was found.

Wilhelm said police were called to Tubbs Hill on a Friday after a hiker found the human bone, and stayed on site unearthing the remains along a well-used footpath until Sunday as the hill was closed to pedestrians. During that time, authorities unearthed a skull and more bones that were sent to a forensics lab to be aged and identified.

Wilhelm said it appeared the remains were exposed through weathering along the trail that is heavily used by hikers. Unlike other parts of Tubbs, no structures were ever built in the area.

Police said the investigation did not turn up a lot of information.

“Taking into consideration the considerable passage of time, there is no information about the identity of the remains or cause of death,” according to the press release.

And because of the age of the bones, further investigation by police isn’t likely, Wilhelm said.

“It’s not something we need to act on as a priority,” he said.

City police would not release its investigator’s report because it has not been completed or redacted, according to the Coeur d’Alene Police Department.

Just over 200 years ago, in the early 1800s, the Coeur d’Alenes lived in the region without much other settlement, and trappers and traders were making their way through the region.

In later years, Coeur d’Alene’s raucous history includes several incidents in which former residents went missing.

Among the more dangerous of its lakefront hangouts was “Fatty” Carroll’s Variety saloon. According to local lore, many visitors disappeared forever after a night of frolic at Fatty’s including soldiers at Fort Sherman. One night in 1887, three off-duty soldiers failed to show up at reveille the next morning after a night spent at the saloon.

The latest findings of old human remains in Coeur d’Alene’s downtown area comes just four months after other human bones were found east of McEuen Park. In November, Coeur d’Alene police were notified of bones found at a construction site in the 800 block of Mullan Avenue, across from City Hall. Officers and detectives, with the assistance of the coroner, confirmed the bones were human. Those bones were determined by experts to be 50 to 200 years old.

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