Human remains found about a year ago in Kentucky belonged to a woman of Native American descent who appears to have been scalped, state police said Tuesday.
Detective Chad Winn told The Associated Press that the case is being investigated as a possible hate crime. Forensic examiners found markings on the skull consistent with a scalping, he said. By examining the structure of bones and teeth, investigators determined the woman was likely of Native American descent.
College students searching an area of Barren County near the Cumberland Parkway for a rare tree stumbled across the remains in August 2011. A search by investigators turned up bones scattered in a culvert over a 100-foot area around mile marker 8.
Winn said forensic examiners determined that the woman was about 6 feet tall, was between 20 and 50 years old, and had been killed by a shotgun blast between one and 15 years ago. Winn said it appears someone dumped the woman’s body near where it was found.
Winn said there’s little evidence to help authorities identify the woman.
“We’re grasping at straws,” Winn said. “We hit a dead end.”