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At 1 p.m. on Friday, June 2, Orange County Sheriff’s Department announced the remains found in San Clemente on Thursday, June 1, are from a human being.
The investigation is now being turned over to the OCSD homicide unit.
Lt. Lane Lagaret of OCSD said the remains that were found included a skull and some pieces likely from it. Some teeth were also found in it, and the Orange County Coroner will examine them for dental records to possibly identify the deceased. Nothing else was found, Lagaret said. OCSD will also check missing persons records.
The remains were found by a “hiker” early afternoon on Thursday, June 1, according to police, but some witnesses have said it was a biologist in the area doing field work.
The hillside where the remains were found is known to have multiple encampments of homeless people where deputies frequently issue trespassing citations and have them removed.
Because of the remote location, OCSD used helicopters to airlift deputies and experts in and out of the area, according to Lt. Lane Lagaret, and made it safer and more effective than making them walk through the foliage.
It could take some time for forensics to extract any DNA from the bones, and officials said they don’t have a timeline for when more information will be released. San Clemente has had few homicides in the last five years. One in 2014, a murder-suicide, and another in 2015 in which a homeless man was killed near the San Mateo Campground in south San Clemente. On Monday, SafeWize, which tracks FBI data of cities, ranked San Clemente the 25th “safest city” in California. —Eric Heinz