Police find skeletal remains in homemade shed

Wednesday, January 7, 2009 | 2:27 p.m. CST; updated 7:51 p.m. CST, Wednesday, January 7, 2009

COLUMBIA — Police found unidentified skeletal remains in a homemade shed Wednesday morning in a wooded area just north of Conley Road, said Capt. Brad Nelson of the Columbia Police Department's Major Crimes Unit.

Nelson said a hiker, who was following a trail, reported the remains to police after the hiker looked inside a makeshift shed and saw a skull and other bones.


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At 10:59, officers found the remains in a campsite where homeless people had been known to congregate in the past. The site appeared to be abandoned for several months, and officers found no apparent signs of foul play.

However, Nelson said foul play has not been ruled out, since an autopsy to determine the cause of death was yet to be performed.

The remains were taken to the Boone County Medical Examiner's Office for identification. The sex and age of the individual is still unknown.

Nelson said the first priority in the investigation is to identify the body.

Anyone with information concerning the body is encouraged to submit a tip on the Crimestoppers Web site, or call 875-8477.


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Roger Columbia January 8, 2009 | 10:26 a.m.

They should check the homeless shacks on MODOT land across from Home Depot. There are several shacks located along the creek just inside the woods west of Home Depot. One of the shacks even has a metal roof with a smoke stack with smoke coming out of it. Home Depot might even find missing items used to construct the shacks. The people that live there are undocumented and most likely know the identity of the owner of that shed on other MODOT land. Why does MODOT allow shanty towns on it's property? How about the city send some inspectors to check the shacks? How about the fire department make sure their fireplace meets code instead of counting people at the next blue note event!

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand January 8, 2009 | 11:29 a.m.

Roger, are you talking about the (now former) MoDOT site southwest of Home Depot and north of Wal-Mart? I think that's where the remains were found. On TV, the shack looked as you describe it.

Anyway, MoDOT traded that site about a year ago to Kroenke's company for land on Route B. That salt shed and other buildings will be torn down and the whole site redeveloped as part of an expansion of the shopping center. Business Loop 70 also will be extended through this tract. There won't be room there for the homeless much longer.

(Report Comment)
Roger Columbia January 8, 2009 | 12:15 p.m.

No Ayn. I am referring to the wooded area north of Clark lane/I-70, west of Home Depot between the 63 ramp and the creek. There are several buildings in that camp site. They have been there for several years.
It does not seem unreasonable that persons in that camp may have been aware of the camp where the remains were found. The police should question people in that camp.
MODOT should not allow campsites to remain on their property. Highway Patrol officers drive right by that camp everyday and ignore it. The highway patrol is part of MODOT so why are they ignoring the issue? Law enforcement seems to notice only when something sensational occurs. How about preventing the next discovery by enforcing the law and removing all camps from MODOT property? How many of our tax dollars now must go to an autopsy, id, and probably a burial... for whom?

(Report Comment)
Roger Columbia January 8, 2009 | 3:11 p.m.

The real reporters in town actually went out and reported on the story.

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand January 8, 2009 | 5:08 p.m.

From the time, it looks as if the Missourian wrote the story as soon as the police announced it, whereas the Tribune reported a day later, which was more time to go out there and do reporting.

(Report Comment)
Karen Mitchell January 8, 2009 | 6:58 p.m.

Roger, if the homeless people are run off that property, where do you think they will go? And are they bothering anyone where they are? This might be a case where, if they aren't causing any harm, it might be best to just leave them alone and let them peacefully exist there. Try to move them along may cause more problems than it solves.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro January 8, 2009 | 7:46 p.m.

The problem of homelessness in the veteran population is broad. ...

(Report Comment)
Concerned Citizen of Pettis County January 11, 2009 | 11:51 p.m.

Hello .. I'm a concerned citizen of Sedalia Missouri, Pettis County .. We've had a missing 23 year old mother of two young children Dana Jane Bruce .. She's been missing since October 4th, 2008 .. We had a search for her today around the Sedalia area ..

Please visit

other stories can be found in the archieves of our local newspaper ..

Contact information for the Sedalia Police Department:

Thank You

(Report Comment)

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