Kids find skull |

Kids find skull

John Colson

“My kids are pretty solid kids,” he said. “They don’t get freaked out too much. They’re more concerned that some kid died.”

Pitkin County Deputy Sheriff Joe Bauer went to the Sailors’ home and took the skull back to the sheriff’s department for examination, also believing it to be a real skull.

He said there were signs of a blow to the forehead of the skull, and that the top of it has been sheared off, perhaps by a saw. The surface was completely clean, Bauer said, and Sailor noticed that the inside of the skull was textured.

Bauer said he looked over the ground where it had been found, and the neighborhood, forming the initial hypothesis that it might have been unearthed at a nearby construction site and moved by a dog or other animal.

“At first we were thinking, `This could have come from anywhere,'” he said Friday afternoon. “The kids were great … they were thinking there was an ax murderer running around.”

The skull was “very realistic. I looked at it and said, `Whoa, that is definitely human. There’s no doubt about it.'”

But when he and Aspen Police Detective Ron Ryan began a more detailed examination, they discovered the truth.

“It’s a piece of plastic,” Bauer said. He explained that he had not examined it closely before getting it to the sheriff’s office, because he was worried about contaminating it or destroying some bit of evidence.

But when they studied it, they quickly realized it was pliable, not brittle as human bones will be after they are exposed to the elements for a long time. They still do not know the origins of the skull, or what it might have been manufactured for, Bauer said.

Although all concerned were glad the skull turned out to be a fake one, Bauer said, “It would have been an extremely interesting case if it had turned out to be a real skull.”

As for the Sailors, “We were glad that it wasn’t real, because we were worried that a 5- or 6-year-old kid had met an untimely end up here,” Chuck Sailor said Sunday.

“The kids were surprised,” he said. “They were especially surprised because the nurse looked at it, and she thought it was real.”

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