Wednesday, May 05, 2010

On the discovery of bones

In March, our local newspaper reported that a human skull and some other bones had been found in an undeveloped plot of land in San Jose. The remains were going to be looked at to evaluate their age and cause of death. It was believed that the bones belonged to an adult who died between three and 10 years ago.

Every time I hear about bones or bodies turning up in remote areas kind of near San Jose, my ears perk up a little. I am not morbid. It happens that in the summer of 2001, I assisted in the coverage of a story of the disappearance of a woman last seen in the Pruneyard shopping center in Campbell, with a man who was later arrested for her death. Problem is, they never found a body.

Ever since, when I hear that a body has been found, I check news sites for updates to see if it's her. But this time there have been no updates on these particular remains. By mid-April, I was irked. One of the top rules of journalism -- you can't report on something that just screams for a follow-up and then not follow up on it. Even if the cops won't tell you anything, you write a story about how difficult the cops are being.

So I emailed the reporter. Who never e-mailed me back. And now it's May, and I'm a little pissed off. I'm wondering what the problem is, here. The most recent article mentioned the remains could be that of a homeless person. Are we no longer reporting when the remains of homeless people have been found? Is it that the police are not cooperating? Is it that the reporter doesn't have time to cover it? Has the reporter been laid off? No, he has a story on A1 today. Has everyone forgotten about this person -- An Entire Person! -- whose body was dumped in a shallow grave like so much trash?

Is it that I missed it? Have I somehow missed the update, despite my constant scouring of news sites?


Anyway. I'm contemplating just calling the coroner myself. I mean, why not? Freedom of information, and all that.


  1. Do you realize what a good story that would make? I have no idea what your book is about, but what if the woman is a reporter, and her sister goes missing at a shopping center. Someone is convicted, but the body never found.

    So every time she finds out that bones were found in/around this town, she goes investigating. And her Texan hunk is a ... cop? reporter for a different paper? an investigator?

    The possibilities are endless!

  2. That's so sad!!! The bones story makes me ill. With all the forensic stuff, you think the cops could break this case.