ALOHA, Ore. (KOIN) — The Washington County Medical Examiner’s Office is investigating after human remains were found in a wooded area along Tualatin Valley Highway, the sheriff’s office said Saturday.
WCSO Deputy Shannon Wilde said a resident out for a walk found the skeletal remains around 1 p.m. in the area of SW 160th Ave and TV Highway, east of Aloha, and immediately reported the discovery to authorities. The remains were found on a footpath in the forested area. The path is not a sanctioned hiking trail, but Wilde said, historically, it’s an area where transients have camped.
“Where the remains were found, it does look like there are several different camps, based on how long stuff has been in that area,” said Wilde.
Investigators are still trying to determine what happened to this person and who they were. Information is limited however, the sheriff’s office said it appeared the body had been there “for some time.” By Saturday evening, the Medical Examiner’s Office had determined that the skeletal remains were those of an adult, and estimated that it had been “at least several months since the person passed away.”
“The conditions of the remains looks like the person has been deceased for quite a while,” said Wilde. “It makes it challenging to know whether the person was male or female, how old they were.”
Kim Stillwell lives in the apartment complex that sits up the hill from where the remains were found and said she has walked her dog along the railroad tracks near the area now taped off for the active investigation.
“There is just a lot of activity. It’s kind of shocking, for sure, but not a super surprise,” said Stillwell. “I don’t know many details about—I’m curious what happened. If maybe it was an accidental thing. The train is right there—something involving the train? It’s anybody’s guess at this point. We don’t know.”
Authorities said that since they don’t yet know what happened, they are currently investigating the death as suspicious in case it turns out to be something other than a natural death. Investigators were at the scene into Saturday evening, and could possibly return on Sunday to process more of the area.
This is a developing story.