Bottle collector's dig yields 'historic' bones

Skull bones excavated from a wooded area near Cypress Creek, Millington, on Aug. 8 are at least 100 years old, according to a forensic anthropologist who works with the state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

MILLINGTON — Bones from a human skull found here earlier this month are “historic,” according to a forensic anthropologist working with the state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

That’s the report that was given to the Kent County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday, Lt. Stuart Lodge said in a phone interview with the Kent County News.

Lodge said the bones are at least 100 years old.

“Probably much more,” Lodge said he was told by forensic anthropologist William Rodriguez, Ph.D.

Rodriguez identified the bones as those of a Black man who was in his 40s at the time of death.

That eliminates the possibility that the remains are those of William Arthur Simpler III of Millington or Miona Joanne Dickey of Worton, the only open missing person cases in Kent County, according to Sheriff John Price.

Simpler was reported missing June 30, 1992 and Dickey was reported missing in 2018.

Simpler was 34 at the time he was reported missing.

Dickey would be 19 now, according to the sheriff’s office.

Lt. Lodge, who heads the KCSO’s Criminal Investigation Division, said this case will be closed.

“There’s nothing to investigate. There’s no criminal concern,” he said in Tuesday’s telephone interview.

The bones were discovered Aug. 7 by a Cecil County woman who was digging for old bottles on private property near Cypress Creek in Millington.

She brought the bones to the sheriff’s office.

Photographs and measurements of the bones were sent that night to anthropologist Rodriguez in the ME’s office, who confirmed that the bones were part of a human skull.

The following morning, after securing a search warrant for the property signed by Kent County Circuit Court Judge Harris Murphy, crime scene technicians from the Maryland State Police excavated the area. Lodge and the entire sheriff’s office command staff assisted.

There were as many as 12 members of law enforcement on-site working from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Lodge said.

He described the locale as a wooded area overgrown with bushes near Cypress Creek, an area that might flood in a very big weather event like Hurricane Floyd (in 1999) but not on a frequent basis.

Most of the skull was collected, all but the jaw.

No other skeletal remains were found, according to Lodge.

The excavation — underneath and around the entire area where the first skull fragments were found — was directed by the MSP in consultation with Rodriguez.

There was no evidence that the skull had been buried deliberately, “and there’s no way to know how it got there,” Lodge said Tuesday, Aug. 17.

Nothing was discovered that could help with identification such as jewelry or clothing.

Mid-Atlantic Removal Service, which offers mortuary support services, transported the bones to the medical examiner’s office in Baltimore after the Aug. 8 excavation.

What’s to be done with these “historic” bones?

For the time being, they will remain in possession of the medical examiner’s office, Lodge said.

Eventually, the bones will be released to a state archaeologist “who will reinter them somewhere ‘appropriate,’” Lodge said.

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