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LSU FACES lab assisting in identifying skeletal remains found in neighborhood

5 months 2 weeks 2 days ago Thursday, February 01 2024 Feb 1, 2024 February 01, 2024 6:05 PM February 01, 2024 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - At the front entrance of Concord Estates off Perkins Road is a popular daycare and a storage facility.

Dawson's Creek runs between them, and last week, some unidentified bones washed up on its banks.

"This neighborhood is real quiet. You don't really see too much out here because it be quiet. It's a good neighborhood," said resident Laterrian Jackson.

The older neighborhood is not usually the site of police activity, let alone skeletal remains.

"Maybe somebody dumped him or maybe the body been there," said resident Sarah Jugsuginda.

While neighbors continue to speculate, the LSU FACES lab will help find answers.

"When they call us to help, one of the first things we do is help to locate as many parts of the skeleton that can be found," said director Dr. Jenny Listi.

Listi and her team will work for weeks trying to create a profile based on the bones.

"So what exactly do we have, and what can we learn about that person from what we have?"

They'll be able to determine the person's gender, relative age, and height and hopefully other more discerning characteristics as well.

"We look for any evidence of previous medical procedures or injuries, we look for evidence of what might have contributed to the person's death."

If possible, they'll look at dental records, or try to extract DNA.

All of this work, however, is only successful in identifying someone if they have a known person to compare it to, usually from the missing person's database.

"You're looking for somebody who had these characteristics."

If all else fails, the final process is facial reconstruction.

"Facial reconstruction is when you have a skull and you try to approximate what the person looked like based on the skull itself."

That image is usually released to the public in hopes that someone will recognize it. It has worked for cases in the past, however it's sometimes impossible to correctly determine the person's weight, skin, eye or hair color.

The FACES lab process takes up to six weeks, however if there are no matches in the missing person's database, the identification process can be indefinite.

As of now, the coroner's office does not suspect foul play in the person's death.

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