Human skull found in backpack next to Oregon Interstate

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A standard highway cleanup in Oregon this week has turned into a forensic investigation after a skull was discovered.

Oregon State Police said Wednesday that a Department of Corrections team was cleaning up an area next to Interstate 5 Monday when someone came across a “suspicious object” — a small backpack with a human skull inside. The backpack was discovered near milepost 260 next to the north side of the highway.

It was discovered in Marion County, about 75 miles south of Portland.

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Police have since taken the skull to the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s office to attempt an identification. The bone structure has no recognizable features, police said, but “was most likely that of a woman in her late 30s to 40s.”

Police have not released any other information about the skull.

This isn’t the first time a human skull has been discovered along an Oregon highway. According to the Oregonian, a highway crew found another one in June 2018 while performing maintenance along Interstate 5 in Roseburg. No other remains were found.

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It took more than a year to identify the deceased, but in December 2019, authorities said TUSEN testing had shown that the skull was the remains of Scott Evenson. He was an Oregon man who was listed missing on Facebook in 2016, but whose disappearance was never reported to police, the outlet said.

Evenson, who had lived in Myrtle Creek, nearly 200 miles south of Portland, was about 44 when he died.

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