Dog unearths human remains, brings skull home to his owner in Cleveland, Tenn.

Dog unearths human remains, brings skull home to his owner in Cleveland, Tenn.

March 30th, 2017 by Paul Leach in Breaking News

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Cleveland police say foul play does not appear to be involved in a case involving the discovery of unidentified skeletal remains in a wooded lot of a quiet Cleveland neighborhood.

"At this time, we have no evidence we've seen that leads us to believe this is a homicide," Cleveland Police Chief Mark Gibson said Thursday.

Gibson said police received a call at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday about a dog who had brought home "what appeared to be a skull" to a residence in the 3100 block of Wesdell Lane, near Glenmore Drive.

Police conducted search, marking remains and other evidence, he said. The wooded lot, which sits between a pair of homes, held the largest concentration of remains.

Police found another concentration of remains in and around the kennel of the dog who brought the skull home, Gibson said.

The dog's owner, who asked not to be identified, said Rex — a German short-haired pointer — had been bringing home what the family thought were animal bones for several weeks.

On Wednesday morning, Rex's owner had a shocking epiphany.

"He came into the garage with something big and white, holding it upside down," he said. "... He sat it at my feet like he was proud of it."

That's when Rex's owner said he put "2 plus 2 together" about all the "animal bones."

The police department believe the victim's identity, when confirmed, will likely match the identity of a missing person, Gibson said. The reported missing person did not live in the neighborhood, located north of 25th Street and west of Peerless Road, where the remains were found, he said. Gibson did not identify the missing person.

"All of the remains were turned over to the Bradley County Medical Examiner's Office," Gibson said. "The remains will be taken to the forensic center in Knoxville to attempt a positive identification as no identification could be located at either of the scenes."

Contact staff writer Paul Leach at 423-757-6481 or pleach@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @pleach_tfp.