MISSION VIEJO (CBSLA) — The remains found in a Mission Viejo backyard Monday are human, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department said Wednesday.

According to the sheriff’s department, homicide investigators would now work on trying to identify the person, how the person died and how long ago it happened.

“The next step would be, obviously, we’re going to try to identify a person, whether it be through DNA, which if we have the capabilities of doing that, we will try to do that,” Lt. Kevin Navarro said. “It’s almost an automatic that we would try in this case, it’s just going to be a matter of what we have to work with.”

Officials said they did not know if the investigation would become a murder investigation as they continued to collect evidence.

According to a sheriff’s spokesperson, the owner of the home in the 24000 block of Via Madrugada was digging post holes for a fence in his backyard Monday when he found a partial skull and bone fragments in a bag. A neighbor then called the sheriff’s department, who responded and launched an investigation, but no other remains were found.

“The skull would probably, if it’s a complete skull, it would probably give us the most information,” Danna Bran, deputy coroner-anthropologist, said.

According to Bran, the department might be able to determine the age and sex of the person depending on the condition of the skull.

The investigation was ongoing, though sheriff’s officials said the current owner of the home was not under suspicion and there was no immediate threat to the public.


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