A mystery more than two years old was solved, up to a point, Friday when the Department of Public Safety (DPS) issued a press release stating that two bags of bones located inside an old warehouse in Dow City are of no criminal investigative significance.
The bones were found in the warehouse on May 16, 2011. Law enforcement authorities were called to examine the bones and the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office requested the assistance of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI). The DCI also solicited the assistance of the Iowa State Medical Examiner’s (SME) Office for help in examination of the bones, the DPS release said.
The bones were examined in Ankeny at the SME’s lab and further sent to out-of-state forensic archeologists.
Mitch Mortvedt, the special agent in charge, said the bones were not cleaned, indicating they had not been used for any medical uses or for education.
Mortvedt said the process to get DNA from the bones in the crime lab took quite a lot of time.
According to the Department of Public Safety release, the bones were sent to the Center for Human Identification for DNA molecular identification. Once that is completed, the DNA profiles will be uploaded to the Unidentified Human Remains Index and the CODIS (Combined DNA Index System) Missing Persons DNA Database.
According to a story in the May 20, 2011, Denison Review, the bones were located in two large bread sacks.
The warehouse, which was located at 113 North Franklin Street, had been purchased from the estate of Melvin Kuehnhold by two individuals in order to clear the building. The building had been purchased by the City of Dow City to be demolished.
One of the individuals who purchased the contents of the building, Vic Thomsen, told the Review at the time that he at first thought the bones were dog bones, but then decided to call the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office.
A story in the Omaha World-Herald said the remains appeared to be finger bones, toe bones, a leg bone, a jawbone and two shoulder blades, authorities and witnesses told the World-Herald at the time.