Police - Remains thought to be human may be those of an animal

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

ST. LOUIS -- Investigators trying to identify a torso found last month near an Interstate 70 rest area said remains found Monday by a garbage collector may be those of an animal instead of a human as first thought.

The remains -- thought to be human hands and feet -- were discovered in a trash bag in a bin about 10 miles from the I-70 rest stop where a headless, limbless torso was found three weeks ago. Police were trying to determine if the body parts were from the same female victim whose torso was found by state workers June 28 at the rest area near Wright City, about 50 miles west of St. Louis. The torso was clad only in a black bra.

That victim has not been identified, and no arrests have been made. Authorities believe she was about 20 years old.

The St. Louis Area Major Case Squad and the FBI were investigating. Officials from both agencies and the Warren County Sheriff's Department did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Authorities have said the torso had been at the rest area for a few days, and that the woman perhaps was killed elsewhere before the body part was dumped in a wooded area of the rest stop.

Investigators have been combing through reports of missing people, focusing on St. Louis area disappearances.

Discovery of the torso came roughly a month after another person's leg was found in the Missouri River in Callaway County, just a day before two fishermen discovered that man's beheaded torso 60 miles upriver in Moniteau County.

That victim, also unidentified, was thought to be a white man between the ages of 20 and 30.

Police have said there was no evidence the crimes were related.

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