Forensic anthropologist: Bones under home were not from infants - | WBTV Charlotte

Forensic expert: Bones under home were not from infants

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  • Infant bones found under historic home

    Infant bones found under historic home

    Friday, January 11 2013 1:03 PM EST2013-01-11 18:03:36 GMT
    (WMC-TV) - A man doing some renovations on a historic home found human bones in cellar. The bones are believed to be more than 150 years old. The Maxwell family likes historic homes. When they stumbledMore >>
    A man doing some renovations on a historic home found human bones in the cellar. The bones are believed to be more than 150 years old.More >>

(WMC-TV) - A forensic anthropologist in New York City is countering the state crime lab's initial claims that more than 100 bones found under a historic home were those of infants.

Action News 5's original story about the bones made national headlines. That is how Bradley Adams, chief director of forensics in New York City, got wind of the discovery. Adams says the bones are not those of infants, but instead, possibly dogs.

"None of the bones were actually human bones," he said. "There was a couple other bags that showed single bones, femur bones from the leg that were from probably a dog. I'm not sure of what type of animal."

Adams says he has seen video and photos of bones were more than 20 years. He is always asked to identify human or animal remains. He watched our initial story on CNN and says the shape of the bones gave it away.

"Based on the way the bones were formed, the ends of the bones were fused on, so it was from an adult animal, whatever it was," he explained. "With infants and children, the ends of the bones, the caps aren't fused on yet, so you've got a shaft and then cartilage and unattached bones."

Last week, Todd Maxwell was still finding bones under one of the most historic homes in Marshall County, Mississippi. The home is called Thistledome. It is on the National Register of Historic Places because it used to belong to Gerald James Ronald Chalmers, who led the Battle of Collierville three different times.

He said the state crime lab first determined the bones he found may have belonged to several infants. After learning more about the house, Maxwell guessed they could have belonged to General Chalmers' siblings, who died of Scarlet Fever.

But now, with doubt about the type of bones he found, Maxwell says what he saw up close convinced him.

"The two femur bones were in bags by themselves, but the other hundreds of bones that we found of the remains were in two full sacks stacked together," said Maxwell. "You really couldn't see the scapula, the arms, the small toe bones that we found."

The bones are officially being tested right now in the Mississippi State Crime Lab in Jackson. Investigators will be able to determine, once and for all, what was found underneath the Thistledome, the home of a Civil War general.

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