Human bones were uncovered in downtown Rico on Sunday, reports the Dolores County Sheriff’s Office.
No foul play is suspected, said Sheriff Jerry Martin, but the case is being investigated.
“It appears they are from the early 20th century, probably a miner,” Martin said. “The coroner was on site, and the bones were sent off to the state archaeological department for identification.”
A piece of a foot and an arm bone were uncovered behind the Rico Mercantile by shop owner Cody Causey. He was digging a hole for a septic tank when the bones, a squared-off flat stone, an old hammer, and pine planks, possibly from a casket, were discovered two feet down. He stopped and called the sheriff.
“He has been very cooperative, and digging has ceased. We secured the scene until we can positively rule out foul play,” Martin said.
The mercantile dates to 1871, the heyday of mining in the area. Back then, the town had a mortuary, and thousands of residents.
Once a forensic investigation is completed, and foul play is ruled out, the body will likely be exhumed and reburied in the Rico Cemetery, Martin said.
“It is not a regular thing to dig up a body. We will do the right thing and use dignity and respect as we proceed with a reburial,” he said.
A video about the discovery can be viewed on the Dove Creek Press Facebook page.