Possible human remains found at site of former DeAnza drive-in

Possible human remains found at site of former DeAnza drive-in

CREATED May 17, 2012

Reporter: Claire Doan

TUCSON (KGUN-TV) – Given the events of the past few weeks, anything out of the ordinary can quickly turn into a startling discovery. That was the case Thursday, when a construction crew found what could be human remains not far from the Celis home. However, Tucson Police have assured KGUN9 News that given the condition of the bones, they are not connected to the Isabel Celis case.

The bones were unearthed on the grounds of the old DeAnza Drive-In, off Alvernon near 22nd. That is within the 3-mile search radius from the Celis home near Broadway and Craycroft. Crews called police as soon as they unearthed the bones during construction.

“It has not yet been determined if the bones are animal or human. However, due to the possibility that they are human remains, we do have homicide detectives who are responding to the area in order to do a more thorough investigation,” said Sgt. Maria Hawke, a spokesperson for Tucson Police.

This is not the first time Tucsonans have stumbled on the dearly departed. IN 2006, crews discovered a massive cemetery, while prepping land for a courthouse. After that, a downtown homeowner found bones while gardening. And just last year, someone dropped off three grocery bags of human remains at Evergreen Cemetery.

“They’re all over. They really are, especially up and down the Santa Cruz River, where is a lot of prehistoric population,” said Dr. Todd Pitezel, the Assisant Curator for the Arizona State Museum.

“It is actually a regular occurrence during the course of construction typically. And usually we don’t expect anything that will be found out. People have lived here for thousands of years, so it’s not surprising that they’ll be in unmarked graves,” said archaeologist John McClelland.

McClelland said clues from the bones – including their condition, the dirt surrounding them, and accompanying artifacts – allow archaeologists to classify the bones and hopefully allow them to notify descendents.

The Pima County Medical Examiner’s Office will analyze the bones Thursday, but Dr. Gregory Hess, the Chief M.E., said they do not appear to be from a “modern burial.”