A standard cleanup of an interstate in Oregon this week has turned into a forensic investigation after a skull was discovered.
Oregon State Police said on Wednesday that a Department of Corrections crew was working on cleaning an area next to Interstate 5 on Monday when someone stumbled upon a "suspicious object" – a small backpack with a human skull inside. The backpack was discovered near milepost 260 next to the northbound side of the interstate.
It was discovered in Marion County, which is located about 75 miles south of Portland.
Police have since taken the skull to the Oregon State Medical Examiner's office to try and make an identification. The bone structure does not have any identifiable features, police said, but "was most likely that of a female in her late 30's to 40's."
Police have not released any other information about the skull.
This is not the first time a human skull has been discovered alongside an Oregon highway. According to the Oregonian, a highway crew found another in June 2018 while conducting maintenance along Interstate 5 in Roseburg. No other remains were found.
It took more than a year for the deceased person to be identified, but in December 2019, authorities said that DNA testing had shown the skull was the remains of Scott Evenson. He was an Oregon man who had been listed as a missing person on Facebook in 2016, but whose disappearance was never reported to the police, the outlet said.
Evenson, who had lived in Myrtle Creek nearly 200 miles south of Portland, was around 44 at the time of his death.