Issaquena County officials speak on ID process for remains found at Steele Bayou

Published 3:16 pm Tuesday, January 17, 2023

The identification of possible human remains found near the Steele Bayou control structure on Monday morning will take some time, Issaquena County Coroner Angela Williams told The Post.

After two duck hunters spotted what appeared to be a human bone inside of a boot while they were in the woods near the Issaquena-Warren County line, Williams said things got moving pretty quickly to get the bone to the Mississippi State Crime Lab for testing.

Once the bone is at the lab and testing is complete, the real work will begin.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

“If they can identify, then we will find the family and notify them,” Williams said. “Or if they can’t, or if it’s something from a casket that was open or something that had floated down the river, (we will proceed from there).”

Williams said she couldn’t provide an initial opinion as to how old the bone was or how long it had been in the area. However, she said, it had been in the elements for an extended period of time.

“Due to the weather, you really couldn’t tell (how old it is). There’s really no telling,” she said. “But just by looking at it, it definitely had been there a while.”

Issaquena County Sheriff Waye Windham echoed Williams’ statements, elaborating on the initial discovery of the bone and boot.

“We were contacted by Vicksburg-Warren E911 yesterday morning and are working with the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations, District Attorney’s Office and Warren County Sheriff’s Office,” Windham said.

He added that the bone was in such a state of decay that it was not possible for the naked eye to determine if the remains were, in fact, human.

“We have to go through a DNA process,” he said. “That would be the next step if it comes back as a human. Right now, we don’t know what it is.”

Law enforcement officers were called to the scene at 7:15 a.m. on Monday.