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Dog Finds Skeletal Remains At Northwest Indiana Demolition Site

UPDATED 10/06/11 5:47 p.m.

HAMMOND, Ind. (CBS) -- Police are investigating a mystery stemming from a grisly discovery at a Hammond, Ind., demolition site.

As CBS 2's Susanna Song reports, skeletal remains were discovered at the site of the former Great Lakes Bait and Tackle, at 1718 Indianapolis Blvd.

The Great Lakes Bait and Tackle building had been vacant for a decade before being demolished last week. The discovery of the bones came about when a 2-year-old Rottweiler named Brutus began digging around a demolition site in the back.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio's Regine Schlesinger reports


The dog, who belonged to the owners of the cell phone store next door, had been sniffing the lot for a couple of days.

"I noticed he had something in his mouth. It turned out to be hand with a ring on the finger," said A-1 Wireless store owner Mike Bender. "After that, I went back in to the yard, asked him to dig around a little bit more, and at that point he found a skull."

As CBS 2's Derrick Blakley reports, a forensic anthropologist originally planned to begin digging to unearth all the bones on Thursday, but Hammond Police Lt. Richard Hoydsa said the digging was postponed until 8 a.m. Friday. He said the change would allow the anthropologist to have as much daylight as possible during the dig.

Police found the discovery baffling.

"What's obviously strange about it is there was a ring on one of the pieces of bone that was found by the dog," Hoyda said.

Bender called police right away around 4 p.m. Wednesday, and officers discovered more bones under where the foundation would have been, in the back of the building.

"It didn't have any stink or no odor," Bender said.

Hoyda says police are now investigating by going through the missing persons file.

"Our detectives are in the process of searching all missing persons reports for how ever long we have them, and to see if there's maybe some connection between the bones found and obviously, somebody that's still missing," Hoyda said.

Hoyda said at this point, police cannot speculate about the victim's identity, age or gender, but that may change once the forensic anthropologist digs out the remains.

"It's almost like a dinosaur dig, or something to that the effect, where there's a scientific method of unearthing the bones to try and protect whatever still is in the ground," Hoyda said.

The finger and the gold ring were handed over to the Lake County, Ind., Coroner's office. It is unclear how long the body has been buried under the building.

At the cell phone shop, they're hoping the gruesome find could bring someone relief.

"A family's going to get to know what happened," store employee Jennifer Mansfield said. "Because, a missing child … all those things wonder in your head is … or a child, or woman – is she still out there, are they alive? You know what I mean? And that hope is still there. And everybody needs closure."

While the discovery of human remains at demolition sites is shocking, it is hardly unheard of.

In one of the most infamous local cases, when the Chicago's popular Rainbo roller rink at 4812 N. Clark St. was demolished in 2003, numerous assorted human bones and tennis shoes were found in the basement. The question of how they got there remains unanswered.

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