Middle Georgia Cold Cases: The Bone Collector

Mixed-breed dog named Chaser found a human skull in Jones County.
Mixed-breed dog named Chaser found a human skull in Jones County.

GRAY, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Jones County sheriff’s investigators are trying to figure out whose remains were found on the southern part of the county in 2015.

If man’s best friend could talk — this story would be a lot different.

It was December 2015, and a white mixed-breed dog named Chaser found something unusual.

“It appeared to be an odd shaped bone and caused the residents some concern, so they contacted us,” Investigator Kenny Gleaton said.

What was so peculiar about that bone? Gleaton said it didn’t look like any type of animal.

“They’re telling us that the bone is consistent of a white female or a Hispanic male,” he said.

After testing at the GBI crime lab in Atlanta. Forensic scientists determined the bone was part of a human skull — but who did it belong to?

“Due to the close proximity to the Twiggs County line where the remains were recovered, the Twiggs County line is literally a few feet of there, we’ve been coordinating with that agency,” Gleaton said.

Chaser collects bones and his owner collects anything he digs up ever since they found the human skull.

“This particular case is also hampered by the geographical location. We’re talking about hundreds of acres of heavily wooded area right here where the remains were found,” Gleaton said.

Investigators in Jones County didn’t have a missing persons report on file. The forensic team determined the remains didn’t belong to a missing girl in Twiggs County either.

“Directly across from where the remains were recovered is a heavily wooded area at one time it was a heavily populated mobile home park,” Gleaton said.

He, his team, and cadaver dogs began a search of more than 100 acres — covering what used to be an old trailer park on Hidden Valley Drive.

The bone was there for at least a year, but it’s impossible to tell how long.

“We can’t search every single thing, every square inch. We have to narrow down where we think things are likely. That’s why we’re concentrating on the area where this trailer park was,” Gleaton said.

He says because there aren’t many clues, the investigation is at a stand still and it’s difficult to imagine what this person even looks like.

“…jawline. We have nothing like that to work on so to do any type of facial reconstruction would be impossible,” Gleaton said.

Leaving all the answers with Chaser and a mystery for those looking to solve this case.

Gleaton says the sheriff’s office plans to send the skull to the University of North Texas in Fort Worth to a program to do a DNA profile up against missing people nationwide.

If you have information that can help in the case, call the Jones County Sheriff’s Office at (478) 986-3489.

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(478) 745-4141 ext. 311 Skyler joined the 41 NBC News Team in April 2013. He anchors the news at 6 p.m. and also covers stories going on throughout the day. He was born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in Stone Mountain, Georgia, a suburb right outside of Atlanta. Before heading to Middle Georgia, Skyler worked as a stage manager for WSB- TV in Atlanta. Skyler graduated from Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia in 2011 with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Multimedia Communication. He went to school initially to be an architect, but one step inside of the student radio station changed everything. While at Georgia Southern, he was exposed to radio and television and became the Program Director of the student radio station and was a part of a team that received a Southeast Regional student Emmy for their work on the program "Inside Georgia Southern Football." Skyler anchored and reported for Georgia Southern University's "Eagle News." There he covered the 2010 midterm elections live as well as reported on stories in the community. In the Spring 2012, Skyler interned for Clear Channel in Los Angeles, California. Skyler is a proud member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated. In his free time, you can find Skyler watching the latest movies and reading up on all things in Hollywood. He also loves spending time with his family and friends and finding inspirational quotes. He loves telling stories about politics, tax dollars at work in the community, and highlighting people and business who don’t normally get the spotlight. If you have any story ideas, email Skyler at shenry@41nbc.com.