Human bones recovered from storm drain in southwest Valley

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

MARICOPA COUNTY, Ariz. -- A work crew cleaning out a storm drain in the south west Valley made a grisly discovery at the bottom of a deep manhole overnight Tuesday -- human bones in the mud and the muck.

"Detectives got a called about midnight last night," said Sgt. Brandon Jones with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.

"It could have been dumped there via the manhole or it could have washed in," he continued. "Indicators right now are it was in the water for sometime."

The 30-foot deep manhole where the bones were spotted is in an industrial area at 43rd Avenue and Broadway Road.

Because the discovery was made late at night, sheriff's detectives waited until the sun came up Wednesday before being lowered into the dark, dirty and humid chamber.

They also donned protective gear and had Phoenix Fire Department crews test the oxygen levels for safety.

Once inside the MCSO detectives gathered up the bones and brought them to the surface.

"This is a very unusual situation," Jones said.

The Medical Examiner's Office will now evaluate the bones, trying to determine an identity and cause of death.

After that, Jones said, "it will be our homicide team working on the case."