A hiker walking on Deer Canyon Road in rural Arroyo Grande on Monday reported finding a skull and bone fragments, and authorities believe the discovery is of a long-deceased Native American adolescent.
The resident found the remains on Deer Canyon Road just west of the intersection of Corbett Canyon Road, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Tony Cipolla said. A coroner’s investigator determined there was no sign of foul play and the bones appeared very weathered, Cipolla said.
The remains were taken to the Sheriff’s Coroner’s Office, which contacted a forensic anthropologist at UC Santa Cruz who analyzed photographs of the bones and, based on bone structure and wearing on the teeth, determined it was an adolescent of Native American descent, Cipolla said.
An archaeologist from California State Parks also was scheduled to examine the bones in an attempt to determine their age. If the remains are determined to be Native American, Cipolla said the Sheriff’s Office will work to return them to the proper tribal officials.
“To (Native Americans) this is a journey that this person is on, and we’ve now interrupted that journey,” Cipolla said. “We want to remain very respectful to the tribes.”