LSU’s FACES lab, police, coroner investigate human skeleton found in abandoned Baker home _lowres

Advocate staff photo by ELLYN COUVILLION -- A skeleton was found Wednesday night in this abandoned house at 808 Sherron Avenue in Baker.

A man retrieving items from an abandoned home in Baker on Wednesday night spotted a human skull that police say may be the remains of a man last seen in 2012.

Baker Police Chief Mike Knaps said the man, whose family owns the house at 808 Sherron Ave., which is between Harding and Myrtle streets, spotted the skull under a pile of junk left inside.

The man, who was not identified, contacted police, who then called the East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner’s Office and forensic anthropologists with LSU’s FACES lab, Knaps said.

When police and anthropologists checked inside the house Thursday morning, they found a full skeleton. Knaps said an initial examination of the scene didn’t turn up signs of foul play, but an investigation into the cause and circumstances of the person’s death is ongoing.

The skeleton hasn’t been identified, Knaps said, but police suspect it is the remains of a man related to the family who owns the house. Knaps said the relative hasn’t been seen in four years and was known to frequent the house, which has been otherwise unoccupied and abandoned for a number of years.

The brick home with a shattered front window and a freshly bush hogged front yard sits on a street of otherwise neatly maintained homes, many with bright flower beds in their front yards.

East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner William “Beau” Clark said the skeleton found in the home was intact and found lying on the floor. He was unable to confirm how long the skeleton had been there.

Clark’s employees will assist the FACES lab with identifying the body, including matching dental evidence to existing dental records, he said, and if that fails, DNA from the bones can be examined.

His office also will look for any traumatic findings on the bones.

When only bones are left behind, though, no toxicology testing can be done to verify a possible overdose, for example, Clark said.

Editor’s note: This article was changed on June 10, 2016, to note that Clark said the skeleton was found intact and lying on the floor.

Advocate staff writer Ellyn Couvillion contributed to this report.