Crime & Courts

Police investigating skeletal remains found by a deer hunter in south Wichita

Detectives scoured the woods along a stretch of the Arkansas River in south Wichita early Friday after a hunter discovered what looked like human bones.

Wichita police are investigating whether those bones are human and how they got there, a spokesman with the police department said. The county coroner and forensic anthropologists will likely be involved in the investigation. Police would not say if any evidence was collected at the scene.

A deer hunter called police around 8:30 a.m. Friday after finding the bones near East 55th Street South and South Clifton. That’s just south and west of Oaklawn.

The bones are “believed to be human skeletal remains,” Wichita police Officer Charley Davidson said, noting the investigation was still early.

Investigators were seen searching the area near the Arkansas River southwest of where 55th ends.

If the remains are human, investigators will try to determine the person’s identity, approximate death date and the manner of death.

It is unknown if the remains were dumped at the location, if they were carried there by the river or if they ended up there some other way. The area where detectives searched sits downstream from the 47th Street Bridge over the Arkansas River. It’s near the end of a drive that dead ends at a mound behind a house.

The area surrounding the site where the remains were found, although still inside the city limits, is mostly crop land and woods between the river and K-15 Highway.

Davidson said police will continue to try to figure out the circumstances surrounding the remains.

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Chance Swaim won the Betty Gage Holland Award in 2018 for distinguished service to honor and protect the integrity of public dialogue on America’s college campuses. He has been a news reporter for The Wichita Eagle since 2018. You can contact him at 316-269-6752 and