Ontario couple finds 400-year-old skeleton, gets $5,000 bill

Ontario couple finds 400-year-old skeleton, gets $5,000 bill
William Holt
·William Holt

A Canadian couple who recently stumbled upon a 400-year-old skeleton is now saddled with a $5,000 bill, the Star reports.

Two weeks ago, Ken Campbell of Sarnia, Ontario, came upon some bones while digging postholes in his backyard. His wife, Nicole Sauve, encouraged him to unearth the rest of the skeleton.

Ontario police, who cordoned off the area, called up forensic anthropologist Michael Spence to examine the site. Spence told the Star that the skeleton is likely that of a 24-year-old aboriginal woman who died in the late 1500s or early 1600s. Spence then contacted the Registrar of Cemeteries, which told Sauve that she and Campbell would have to hire an archeologist to examine the rest of the backyard—at their expense.

According to the Star, property owners are legally responsible to pay for such an assessment "if human remains are found on their land."

Stuck with a $5,000 bill, Sauve appealed to the mayor of Sarnia but has yet to get a clear answer about whether the government will pay. According to the Star, she might be able to make a request to the Registrar of Cemeteries to cover the costs.

Sauve told the Star that people have been telling her if they wind up in a similar situation, they won’t risk getting a bill by telling the authorities about their finds.

“This is awful,” said Sauve. “God forbid you have a murder victim, and you cover them up.”