An anthropologist is assisting the Jackson County Medical Examiner's Office in identifying human remains found earlier this week in the Little Blue River.
Jackson County Sheriff Mike Sharp said he hopes the anthropologist can determine the sex.
A nearly intact skeletal hand and forearm were found by two kayakers Monday afternoon. The remains were against some rocks. Enough skin remained attached to the bones that investigators believe conclusive DNA testing can be performed. Sharp said the DNA could then be compared to relatives of missing persons "and we'll be able to connect the dots that way."
Still, determining the identity of the person will be difficult, the sheriff said.
"It's hard," he said. "It's going to be very hard ... it's a pretty rugged terrain and the banks of the river are steep. The river is shallow right now and we can wade the river right now so if we're looking it's a good time to be looking."
Dogs have searched in the area, but have not found any additional bones. Investigators are going a couple of miles up and down from the trail searching the bank, the river and the rugged terrain along the Little Blue Trace Trail.
About three dozen are searching Tuesday.
Police have ruled out that the remains belong to Summer Shipp who was found in a shallow grave along the river about two miles north of where Monday's discovery occurred.
Sharp said investigators are scouring the missing persons' lists in the area and ask anyone with a missing relative or friend to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS.
"We are not going to give up on this," Sharp said. "These obviously are the remains of someone. They have a family somewhere. And we are going to do everything we can to recover the rest of the body parts if they are out there."
The Little Blue Trace Trail is owned by Jackson County and is popular with bikers, walkers and joggers. The location is north of Interstate 70 near R.D. Mize and Necessary roads.
The Jackson County Sheriff's Office is serving as the lead investigators. The Independence Police Department is assisting.
The search ended about 6 p.m. Tuesday and will resume Wednesday morning.
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