Investigators have concluded that the box of bone fragments found in a Missoula shed this past fall are not from three missing Michigan boys, nor do they match any other recent missing child case.
According to the Missoula County Coroner's Office, investigators believe the remains are likely more than 100 years old.
Using dental record comparisons and advanced x-ray technology, investigators, anthropologists, and pathologists determined the bones are not those of the Skelton boys who vanished in 2010 after a visit with their father. The bones also do not belong to a missing 11-year-old boy from Washington state.
When news of the discovery became public, law enforcement agencies from across the country checked their own missing child cases to determine if this could be a new lead for them.
But this recent testing reveals the bones are "historical" and "archaeological" in origin, making them more than 99 years old.
Those tests do confirm, however, the partial facial bones and teeth belong to three children all under the age of ten. One of them could be of Native American descent.
Investigators say these bones had been buried for some time before being exposed and later discovered in a box in a shed by a cleaning crew in Missoula. But because the bone fragments samples were so small, there's no way at this point to confirm the sex or ancestry of all three children.
That material is going to be turned over to another agency for DNA testing to try to scientifically confirm that the remains are not a match for any known missing child. That process could take up to eight months.
The Missoula County Coroner's Office has been working with multiple other agencies since the bones were discovered last fall, including the Michigan State Police, Missoula Police detectives, pathologists at the Montana State Crime Lab, the Anthropology Department at the University of Montana and the University of North Texas (UNT) Center for Human Identification.