UPDATE: Skull, teeth, recovered by homicide detectives during search

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Homicide detectives who began their day Friday morning combing a rugged area near Templin Highway where a skull  was found Thursday wrapped up their search by mid-afternoon, after finding teeth in the same area.

The teeth could be just the piece of the puzzle that identifies the victim, according to a Los Angeles County Sheriff Department news release issued Friday afteroon.

Detectives with the LASD’s Homicide Bureau, joined by Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner personnel, wrapped up their search shortly after 1:30 p.m. Friday.

“What is believed to be an adult skull and teeth were the only parts found and recovered,” Deputy Guillermina Saldaña said in a news release issued shortly before 2 p.m.

Investigators collected and transported the remains to the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner’s office where they will be examined to determine if they are human and for “possible identification of the deceased,” she said.

The grisly find was made shortly before noon Thursday by members of an environmental survey study crew who contacted law enforcement.

Investigators with the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Department confirmed for The Signal Friday morning that the recovered remains included a skull.

“We’re up there right now,” coroner’s spokesman Lt. David Smith said.

Coroner investigators joined detectives with the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department’s Homicide Bureau at the hilly site under blustery weather conditions about 8 a.m. Friday.

A comprehensive search of the area was called off Thursday and postponed until Friday morning due to “treacherous terrain,” LASD Deputy Trina Schrader said in a news release issued Friday.

The actual discovery site, she said in her news release, occurred Thursday, near Templin Highway and Old Ridge Route, unincorporated Lake Hughes.

“Detectives have learned that an environmental survey study crew were in the area, when they discovered what appears to be partial adult human remains,” Schrader wrote.

“They contacted the Santa Clarita Sheriff Station to advise of the discovery. The remains appear to have been in the area for a long period of time,” she said.

“The remains will be examined by the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner to determine if they are human,” she said.

If they are found to be human, the Coroner’s Office will attempt to determine the cause of death and the identity of the deceased.

Word first surfaced about the discovery when the remains were found by a group of surveyors.

“These are possible human remains,” Sgt. Brian Allen of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station told The Signal late Thursday afternoon, stressing the word “possible.”

“These are very old and they can’t even determine if their human or animal,” he said.

“It’s being handled now by Homicide and they are rolling out to those hills now,” Allen said, shortly before 5 p.m.

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