The teeth and bone fragments found inside a shed at a Missoula house in September are more than 99 years old, according to a report from a national forensic lab.
In a news release on Friday, Missoula County Chief Deputy Coroner Lt. Jace Dicken said the Center for Human Identification at the University of North Texas has concluded that the bone fragments and teeth are archaeological in nature and at least a century old. The report stated that they likely were buried for some time before being unearthed.
The teeth and bones were found by a cleaning crew in September that was clearing out the shed after former tenants of the Missoula house were evicted. They were later determined to be those of three children.
Shortly after the bones were discovered, an anthropology professor at the University of Montana determined they were “likely modern and not archeological.”
In December, the Missoula Police Department sent them to the Texas lab, which is used by the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System — which falls under the federal Department of Justice — for further testing and analysis.
As part of Friday’s announcement, the Missoula coroner’s office officially is ruling out that the remains could be those of three brothers who went missing in Michigan in 2010. Police in Michigan had reached out to Missoula investigators after news stories about the remains were published, interested if they might be related to that cold case.
According to Dicken’s release, the Texas lab also ruled out a connection to a missing 11-year-old boy from Washington.
The lab determined the three children the remains are from would have been 2 to 5 years old, 5 to 9 years old and 6 to 8 years old at the time of their deaths.
The lab has yet to determine the sex or potential ancestry of the remains.
DNA testing results of the remains at the Texas lab are projected to take an additional six to eight months, Dicken wrote.
The director of the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System told the Missoulian in January that if a DNA sample can be extracted from remains, it would be sent to the federal government’s CODIS database to see if it was a match for any DNA samples the government has, including those collected from the relatives of missing persons.