By LORI EDMO-SUPPAH
MOUNTAIN HOME, Idaho — Elmore County Sheriff Mike Hollinshead said July 18 the skeletal remains of two individuals were turned over to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) as his office determined they didn’t involve a homicide.
The remains are from between 1436 and 1632 but the sheriff said it was inconclusive whether the remains were of Native Americans but a significant amount of corn was found to be in their diets.
The sheriff conducted a press conference where he said tests were inconclusive but the estimated age of the first set of remains was 20 years of age and the second was 10 to 15 years of age.
Lara Douglas, Boise BLM District manager, said the BLM has possession of the remains and will keep them secured in a safe location until the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) process is concluded. She said they will be sending a formal notification letter to tribes that have asked to participate in the NAGPRA process and to those who they believe are likely to be culturally affiliated or to have a cultural relationship. Although she wouldn’t confirm, the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and Shoshone-Paiute are likely part of the NAGPRA notification, along with the Nez Perce Tribe.
On April 15, the Elmore County Sheriff’s office received a call from the Idaho Fish and Game regarding human skeletal remains found partially uncovered inside a badger hole on BLM land on Hot Creek Road near Mountain Home. At the time, the Elmore County Sheriff’s office began the investigation as a possible homicide.
After the remains were found in April, the Elmore County Sheriff’s office contacted the Boise State University Department of Anthropology for assistance. A sample of the remains were sent in May to Beta Analytic Inc. out of Miami, Florida for a carbon test. Once the sheriff’s office received the results, it was determined to get a second opinion.
Another sample was sent to the University of Arizona AMS Laboratory in June. The results determined the era the remains were from and they had corn in their diet. The report said the remains were consistent with some Native American groups but the observation could not prove racial origin.