For Immediate Release
January 12, 2012
Jeffery A. Strelzin, Senior Assistant Attorney General
Chief, Homicide Unit
At the Attorney General's Office: (603) 271-3671
New Hampshire Attorney General Michael A. Delaney and State Police Colonel Robert Quinn announce that additional information is available regarding a piece of bone discovered in Littleton, New Hampshire this summer.
On July 7, 2011, a bag containing a piece of bone wrapped in paper towels was discovered buried inside the Eli Wallace Horse Cemetery located off of Mt. Eustis Road in Littleton, New Hampshire. The New Hampshire Attorney General's Office, the New Hampshire State Police and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner were notified about the discovery. The State Police Major Crime Unit excavated the area where the bone was discovered and confirmed that no other potential human remains were buried in the immediate area. A cadaver dog was also used to search the area for more human remains, however none were located.
The piece of bone was transferred to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Concord. An initial examination revealed that the bone appeared to be a piece of a human cranium and was from a male. The bone was sent to Dr. Marcella H. Sorg, a Forensic Anthropologist in Maine for a more detailed examination.
As the forensic examination was going on, the State Police followed up on leads related to the potential source of the piece of bone. Eventually, they spoke to Mrs. Bonnie Stinchfield of Littleton. Mrs. Stinchfield confirmed that she and her sister had buried the piece of bone in the horse cemetery in Littleton over the summer. She said that her husband had been in possession of the piece of bone since at least 1988. He had received the bone from another man who was moving and didn't want it anymore. Mrs. Stinchfield understood that the man who had given the bone to her husband had had the bone for some time, but she did not know the source or history of the bone. After her husband died in November of 2010, Mrs. Stinchfield said that she did not know what to do with the bone, so she decided to bury it in the horse cemetery.
The results of Dr. Sorg's forensic examination revealed that the piece of bone was a nearly complete cranium and was human. The bone likely came from a male of African-American descent, although a mixture of ancestry could not be ruled out. The male was likely between 25 and 45 years old at the time of this death. The cranium showed no signs of trauma inflicted at the time of death and its condition appeared consistent with having been professionally cleaned, possibly as a medical specimen. The post mortem interval was indeterminate, possibly years to decades. The bone will be retained by Dr. Sorg at her lab in Maine.
Based on the information known to date, this matter will be closed and no further action will be taken.
New Hampshire Department of Justice | 33 Capitol Street | Concord, NH | 03301