Authorities in western Iowa’s Pottawatamie County announced today (Friday) that skeletal remains have been found north of Council Bluffs. Officials say the bones were found May 6 in a fifty-five-gallon barrel located in secluded area.
Pottawattamie County Chief Deputy Jim Matthei says mushroom hunters discovered the remains last Friday (May 6th) in a secluded area. Authorities took the barrel to the Iowa State Medical examiner’s office where it was noted the body had decomposed to the point where only the bones were left in the barrel.
Matthei says a forensic anthropologist was called-in the examine the remains, and declared they’re the bones of a woman who was somewhere between age 24 and 32 at the time of her death. She’d have been five-feet six to five-feet nine-inches tall, he says. At the time of her death she had short, straight brown hair and wore size-11 jeans. The woman was most likely Caucasian, but may have had some African American ancestry also.
The examiner said it appears the woman had a physically active occupation or regularly engaged in extremely rigorous activity. Matthei says her death has been ruled a homicide. A forensic expert will be called-in sometime next week to examine the teeth, and to try and narrow down her age.
In addition, clothing that was found in the barrel and other items will be examined to try and find an approximate date of manufacture so they can further narrow down the time of death. The Chief Deputy says similar tests will be conducted on the barrel, to determine by markings and patent numbers when it was manufactured.
Matthei says the barrel containing the body was found out in the open, but was likely not noticed because at one point it may have been in, or under, water. Matthei says they thin the barrel was dumped in a place that was wet at the time, years ago, and can tell it’s been wet for a long time even though the place where it was found is now on dry land. The barrel had rusted through in a couple of spots.
Bluffs officials say the body is not that of Tracy Tribble, a woman who disappeared from her home last week.