What experts are saying is a human jaw bone with a tooth in it was found on an island in the Mississippi River on July 26, according to Winona County Sheriff Dave Brand. Brand mentioned the grisly discovery at a County Board meeting on Tuesday. A passerby found the bone and took it to the hospital, which forwarded it to the Sheriff's department and the County Coroner for examination. After local experts determined that the bone appeared to be human, Sheriff Brand sent the bone to a forensic lab at Hamline University for analysis. Early reports indicate that it is indeed a human bone and that it quite old, Brand said.
Investigators hope that the forensic analysis can verify whether it is indeed human, determine how old it is, and obtain a DNA sample, explained Chief Deputy Ron Ganrude.
Brand said that he, like citizens, is in suspense to learn the findings of the forensic investigation. "Maybe it is someone who has been missing for a long time. Maybe we can resolve one of those cases," Brand said.
There are only a couple missing people in Winona County, according to Ganrude. In 2005 Marvin Duane Witt, of Winona, left his house and was never seen again. Another man went missing in a similar case in 1986. In 2007, a Hmong family drowned near Lock and Dam 7, and 10-year-old Joshua Xiong's body was never recovered. Brand said that a canine search team from Minneapolis is making another attempt at recovering that boy's body later this month.
Keep reading the Winona Post for more on this ongoing investigation.