The skeleton, which the Sheriff’s Office has not identified to be male or female, was found at around 3 p.m. by several City of Santa Cruz Water Department employees in a wooded area near Warren Drive off of Smith Grade Road according to the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office.
“It was found Friday and retrieved Saturday,” said Sheriff’s spokesman Ryan Kennedy.
Forensics investigators spent a significant amount of time retrieving the body which was partially buried, Kennedy said. The water district employees saw what looked like part of a human skull and reported it to the Sheriff’s Office, which upon investigation, discovered the full skeleton buried in the ground.
Kennedy said the Sheriff’s Office is waiting for a full coroner’s examination before stating the sex, height and weight of the person. He said without tissue on the body, investigators must make a much more careful examination to determine the cause of death.
“It’s a little different because you might be looking for smaller, more intimate details. You might be looking for a chip or any other irregularity,” he said.
There is some speculation on online forums that the body might be that of Elias Sorokin who was killed in July 2009 in Santa Cruz during a marijuana deal gone bad. Sorokin’s burned out truck was found in Bonny Doon, reportedly on a dirt road about a mile from Smith Grade Road.
Kenneth Clamp was convicted of murder and robbery and Stewart Skuba was convicted of first degree murder in the death of Sorokin. Clamp was sentenced to 85-years to life in prison and Skuba life in prison without parole, but Sorokin’s body was never found.
The coroner’s report could take up to several weeks, Kennedy said.