Remains discovered in Prescott Valley likely from a bear

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Employees at Patriot Disposal in Prescott Valley discovered what appeared to be partial human remains. By Jennifer Thomas Employees at Patriot Disposal in Prescott Valley discovered what appeared to be partial human remains. By Jennifer Thomas

PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. -- Investigators believe the remains found at a waste disposal site in Prescott Valley are most likely those of a bear and not a human as first suspected.

Prescott Valley police and Central Yavapai Fire Department HazMat Crews were called to Patriot Disposal in the 9400 block of East Valley Road on Thursday after employees sorting trash discovered what appeared to be a human foot.

A forensic pathologist examined photos and provided information that further supported the belief that the foot was human, according to police.

Staff at the waste disposal site were able to assist investigators in narrowing down the area where the remains likely came from and crews began searching that area among tons of trash on site.

Additional items were located that further strengthened the belief that investigators were dealing with human remains, police said.

Search team members later located items wrapped in a bag that were examined and determined to likely be remains from a bear. In examining the paws from the bear, investigators determined that they were similar to the foot that was found.

After examination of the foot and further research, detectives believe that the foot was more likely a bear paw and not human remains.

The search of the disposal site was completed and all evidentiary items will be sent to the lab for examination and positive identification. Prescott Valley police detectives have the investigation on hold while awaiting the results.