Human leg bone found in tanker

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 17, 1998

Rebecca Burk Ellis / L’Observateur / July 17, 1998

RESERVE – Cargill Grain Elevator workers found something extremely unusual while cleaning out a soybean oil tanker Wednesday afternoon.

They found what appeared to be a human leg bone, Lt. Mike Tregre of the St.John Sheriff’s Office said.

The bone was sent to the Louisiana State University department of forensic anthropology for examination, and officials there confirmed it was human and determined that it was probably that of a male.

Tregre said investigators are searching in the tanker for more evidence.

“We are still checking the tanker for any remaining pieces of a human,” he said.

But the process is slow. Tregre said the oil had almost solidified andsmells bad, so workers can only search through the muck for short periods of time.

The tanker travels nationwide and most recently traveled to St. JohnParish from Atlanta. It’s doubtful the bone came to be in the tanker whileit was in St. John Parish, Tregre said, citing reports from theanthropologist.

Tregre has no idea how the leg bone got inside the tanker in the first place because the tanker’s only opening is through a round 20-inch diameter hole in the top. “A slip and fall seems unlikely,” Tregre said. He added that to lower men to search in the tanker for evidence a wench had to be used, and the men had to raise their arms above their heads.

An investigation is ongoing.

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