WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – A West Palm Beach man searched a vacant lot Wednesday trying to find a chicken that escaped from his yard, but, in a shocking discovery, he instead found human remains.
West Palm Beach ABC affiliate WPBF reports that the man, who identified himself as James, saw an object that caught his eye.
“I just found something weird and I kick it and when I see something weird like a skull it was scary and I said, ‘I don’t know what this is,’” James told the station.
The man’s instinct proved correct. He called police, who found almost every bone of an adult who was buried just inches below the surface.
West Palm Beach police believe the remains had been at the location for years, WPBF reports.
“(It’s) too early to tell the gender of the skeletal remains or if there was any trauma or anything like that. That will be determined during our subsequent ongoing investigation,” police spokesperson Mike Jachles said.
Anthropologists and forensic scientists cleared the area and moved the remains.
James, an immigrant from Guatemala who moved to South Florida with his wife three years ago, told WPBF that he won’t be able to look at his neighborhood the same way again.
“Humans have feelings and it affects you,” he said.
Investigators are looking for DNA they can compare with samples from missing persons and cold cases as they seek to identify the body, WPBF reports.