Remains of 5 people found hidden in Ariz. desert

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Associated Press

Posted on May 31, 2013 at 3:47 PM

Updated Friday, May 31 at 4:00 PM

Map: Sells, Ariz.

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TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- Authorities in southern Arizona are investigating the deaths of five people whose remains were found concealed in the desert west of Tucson.

Border Patrol agents found the remains Tuesday near Sells, on the Tohono O'odham Reservation.

The remains won't be examined until next week, but the remains are skeletal and were found covered partially with rocks and possibly a tarp or bag, said Dr. Greg Hess, the chief deputy medical examiner for Pima County.

The area is often used by smugglers and there are frequent discoveries of remains of immigrants who die while crossing the desert. But, Hess said, "It's not the typical scenario of deaths that we would see in the desert."

Tribal police did not immediately return a call for comment, and FBI spokesman Manuel Johnson in Phoenix declined to comment. He cited the bureau's role in assisting the investigation being led by tribal police.

Until the remains are examined, there's no immediate indication of possible foul play other than the manner in which the bodies were concealed, Hess said. "That's a little suspicious," he said.

The people's ages and genders weren't immediately known.

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