Police say a hiker found human remains behind a shopping area in northeast St. Joseph. (Brett Hacker/KCTV5)
Capt. Jeff Wilson says the hiker reported finding the remains Monday evening. Because of the cold weather, crime scene investigators did not begin their work at the scene until Tuesday. (Brett Hacker/KCTV5)
ST. JOSEPH, MO (KCTV/AP) -
Police say a hiker found human remains behind a shopping area in northeast St. Joseph.
The remains were found by a hiker in the wooded area behind a Kohl's off North Belt Highway.
"The police van was back there, but I hadn't noticed any activity," said resident James Morrison.
Shoppers at the Kohl's weren't sure what to think when they spotted the police mobile command unit behind the department store.
"I figured they were here on some type of business, but I didn't understand what it was," Morrison said.
According to police, it was a discovery of skeletal remains made Monday night by a hiker. The remains were inside a makeshift tent. All authorities know is the remains are male, but who he was or how he died remains a mystery.
"We treat it as crime scene and preserve everything as we would any other crime scene and look for the reasons as to what took place," said Capt. Jeff Wilson.
Police say they will compare what information they find to any open missing persons cases. While authorities cannot say how long the remains have been there, they do believe it's been some time.
While the area is very busy, the spot where the remains were found is pretty well hidden and tough to get to and work with, especially in the frigid weather conditions.
Because of the cold weather, crime scene investigators did not begin their work at the scene until Tuesday.
"In the extreme cold it's hard for them to work in and it also makes working a crime scene more difficult in dealing with the snow compared to spring or summertime, you wouldn't have that to deal with," Wilson said. "There are challenges there."
Authorities say it could be some time before the remains are identified.
Police also say they do not believe citizens should be concerned about the discovery. They do say it's always a good idea to exercise good judgment and be aware of your surroundings.
Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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