Discovery of human jawbone at Edwards Crossing leads to investigation by Nevada County authorities
January 1, 2017
The jawbone waited for Isaac Jones at Edwards Crossing, hiding just beneath the earth.
Jones, who'd received a metal detector as an early Christmas gift, found the bone while hiking about a mile down a trail on Christmas Eve.
"I found some trash," he said. "I found some coins. I found some bullet shells."
Then Jones found a piece of what a Nevada County sheriff's captain confirmed was a human jawbone.
The bone still has teeth, some of them gold. It's unknown whose it was or how long it's been there. Jones thinks it's not that old.
"The gold teeth, especially, were still very detailed," he said.
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Jones took the bone to the Sheriff's Office. Deputies then interviewed him, asking where he found it and saying they'd start an investigation.
According to Capt. Paul Schmidt, a lab will perform tests on the bone to determine basic information like approximate age and gender. Authorities will then search their records for someone fitting that description.
If deputies find no match, further analysis will occur. That second test requires the destruction of part of the bone, Schmidt said.
"We just don't want to destroy that type of thing," he added, explaining the two-step process.
Schmidt said the bone could date from mining days over 100 years ago. Authorities in the past have found skeletal remains 150 years old.
Laboratory testing hopefully will give deputies clues about the bone.
Jones wants to learn more about the person to whom the bone belonged. He figures he was meant to find it.
"I don't have any interest other than trying to tell this man or woman's story.
"I'm interested to see where it goes. I think everyone is," Jones said.
To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4239.