MISSOULA - Missoula Police have a "person of interest" concerning a box they found that contains bones and teeth, believed to be from three children, in a Missoula shed in September.
The police emphasized that the person of interest is not being treated as a suspect.
A search warrant shows that police were called to the home on September 27th located on the 2100 block of South 12th Street West for a report of the discovery of possible human remains.
The former tenant of the rental property had been evicted the previous week. A cleaning crew was contracted to clean up the items left behind by the evicted renter.
The cleaning crew found a box in a shed on the property that contained what was suspected human remains.
"Loose teeth, there was what appeared to be bone from a lower jaw, and others that were not as specifically described, but I would call them pieces of bone," Missoula Police Sgt. Travis Welsh said. "There were also rocks in this box."
Welsh said it is not uncommon for police to check out reports about discovered bones.
"The fact that they are human makes this case unusual. Its not uncommon that people call in a report that they found bones of some kind. Typically, they are determined to be animal bones," Welsh said.
After a search warrant was obtained, Welsh said that follow-up investigations revealed no evidence of a crime occurring at that property.
The children's identities, and the cause and manner of their death, is now under investigation.
Police officials said they are working with the Montana State Crime Lab, which verified that the remains were human.
"Nothing we've been able to connect them too yet, however we are working with the National Center for Missing and Endangered Children, and other missing person databases to see if that's a possibility," Welsh said. "The thing is, there are missing children all over the world. And the thing is, we don't know that this particular case is isolated to the city of Missoula. We don't know where the bones came from, and if they were transported from one area to another, and ended up here."
A University of Montana anthropology professor also determined they were “likely modern and not archaeological.” The professor estimated the ages of the children to be 6-to-10 years old, 5-to-8 years old and 2-to-4 years old at the time of death.
Missoula Police have told MTN News that they have a "person of interest" they would like to talk to about the case, but they are emphasizing that the person is not being treated as a suspect.
We will update this story with any new information.
-- Additional information from Melissa Rafferty