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MOUNT CARMEL TWP. — A decomposed male body found in May about 10 yards off Route 901 at the bottom of an embankment, near Excelsior, was found to have all 10 fingers burned to the bone and had been there for less than a year — likely two to seven months, according to Northumberland County Coroner Jim Kelley.

Kelley released a final report his office received from Dr. Dennis C. Dirkmaat, Ph.D., D-ABFA, of Mercyhurst Forensic Anthropology Laboratory, of Erie, regarding the skeletal remains recovered on May 18, 2021, in Mount Carmel Township.

The report stated the remains were of a male, age 40-80 as a broad range and 50-70 as a narrow range; height of 5 feet, 6 inches to 6 feet, 2 inches; with undetermined ancestry. The report said the ancestry could be either Native American or white.

The report stated the 4th and 5th ribs were broken and were healing at the time of death.

The remains were partially skeletonized with large amounts of adhering dried tissue, the report stated, according to Kelley.

Kelley said Monday the next step is to conduct a DNA test on the remains.

Kelley said his office and the Mount Carmel Township Police Department spoke and no missing person had been reported during this timeframe.

Kelley said the death is considered undetermined as of now.

The skeletal remains were discovered by a man who was walking through the woods.

Mount Carmel Police Chief Brian Hollenbush said it is an active investigation and he would provide updates as they become available.

Hollenbush said state police investigators were also on scene the night the remains were discovered.

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