ROHNERT PARK (CBS SF) — Excavators on Thursday were continuing to sift for clues after the grisly discovery of human remains found on the Sonoma State campus.
An employee clearing brush made the discovery Wednesday afternoon when they uncovered a partially buried body on the property of Sonoma State University.
The landscaper first notified Sonoma State University police and the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety. The Sonoma County Sheriff’s office then took over the investigation.
Authorities have set up a staging area in a nearby parking lot on the campus. The lot has been blocked off with police tape. The body was found about 200 yards from the lot in a heavily wooded area.
Sonoma County Sheriff’s Sgt. Spencer Crum said investigators initially could not determine the sex of the body. Crum later told a reporter for the Santa Rosa Press Democrat that the body was a male.
On Thursday, crews sifted through the heavily treed area for evidence.
Investigators were looking for hair, clothing or any other trace evidence. They were also trying to find the entry and exit points to the area and looking for shoe prints or bicycle tracks.
“It’s a very slow, methodical search,” said Crum. “We’re going to ask for patience, because it takes a long time.”
Given the condition of the body, officers said the person hadn’t been dead long. The coroner will determine the cause of death as well as who this person might be.
A pathologist from the county’s coroner’s office, an investigator with the district attorney’s office and violent crimes detectives are expected to take a few hours to unearth the remains, Crum said.
The remains were still not completely unearthed as of about 3:45 p.m., he said during an afternoon press conference.
Crum said that the remains were definitely of an adult, or at least of someone who was fully grown.
The body was finally removed from the shallow grave at about 4 p.m. and taken on a gurney to the coroner’s van to be transported for the autopsy.
Anthony Durenberger voiced concerns the remains could belong to a young North Bay man.
“A family friend has been missing for two weeks. Kurt Kimberly, lives in Cotati,” said Durenberger. “He left he left home and has not come back.”
“There’s nothing right now that stands out in our mind of a recent missing person in the last week or so”, explained Crum.
Sonoma State student Marissa Cerros found out about the discovery through a campus email telling students to report suspicious persons and outlining how to call a campus escort.
“It’s scary,” said Cerros. “It makes me think twice about going out at night.”
Authorities said it is also possible that whoever buried this body came from the other side of the property on the Rohnert Park Expressway.
An autopsy is scheduled to be done by the Sonoma County coroner Thursday evening. The identity of the body will likely be released on Friday.