A hiker found parts of a human skeleton in a remote area of the northwest valley Saturday morning.
Las Vegas police homicide detectives are investigating the death. The bones, which included a skull, jawbone, ribs, and part of a pelvic bone, did not show any obvious signs of trauma.
“They looked like they were weathered. They looked like they had been out there for a while,” Sgt. Steve Naegele said.
Because only about a third of the skeleton was found, investigators haven’t been able to determine the sex or age of the deceased. Naegele said the person appeared to be a young or small adult.
The skeleton was found in a wash at the base of a cliff about 2 miles west of Lone Mountain Road and the Las Vegas Beltway.
Naegele said the hiker, who is a member of the Air Force, found the remains while on an early morning hike.
“From what I understand, this hiker got off of Ann Road and hiked up from that area,” Naegele said. “He’s a very experienced hiker. From what I understand, the area is a hard place to get to.”
After spotting the remains, the hiker left to get a GPS device and returned to log the coordinates of the skeleton’s location.
About 10 a.m. he went to the department’s Enterprise Area Command in the southwest valley and told police of the discovery.
Investigators in a helicopter then went to the area to find the remains.
The area is inaccessible by vehicle, and a department helicopter was used to shuttle crime scene investigators and detectives to and from the scene.
Police in the next few days will be using cadaver-sniffing dogs to look for the rest of the skeleton and will be consulting a forensic anthropologist for help, according to Naegele.
The Clark County coroner’s office will be investigating how the person died and trying to determine the person’s identity.
Naegele wouldn’t say whether any hiking materials, such as a backpack or a compass, were found with the body.
Contact reporter Lawrence Mower at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0440.