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Man removing dock in Oceana County finds human jawbone

The Oceana County Sheriff's Office believes the jawbone is old enough to belong to a Native American, and the remains will be sent to various labs for analysis.

OCEANA COUNTY, Mich. — The Sheriff's Office in Oceana County is investigating after a man removing his dock for the season found what appears to be a human jawbone this weekend. 

On Sunday, a cottage owner in Silver Lake was removing his dock when he felt a sharp object about six to eight feet from the shore. 

The man thought it was a bottle or a beer can, but when he pulled the sharp object up, it became clear it was a jawbone. 

"It looks old but I don’t know what effects being under the water for a period of time is going to have on a jaw or teeth. And it is very coarse sand on the bottom of Silver Lake...rough stuff," Oceana County Sheriff Craig Mast said.

Investigators have a hunch the jawbone could belong to a Native American.

The Oceana County Medical Examiner said he reviewed the photos of the jawbone and believes it is human.

There are a couple of missing person cases still active in Oceana County that have never been solved, so investigators will check to see if these remains match up with those cases. 

The Sheriff believes the jawbone is likely way too old to be relevant to any of those cases. 

"There's a lot of unanswered questions we just don't know," Chief Mast said. 

At this point, the jawbone is locked in the evidence room at the Sheriff's Office. 

Authorities will eventually send the jawbone to the Michigan State Police Crime Laboratory and then to the Michigan State University's Anthropology department for analysis. 

Mast said don't expect an update anytime soon as this process often takes a long time for conclusive results. 

In November 2013, a man walking on Juniper Beach found a human femur bone. 

That bone remains at a facility at North Texas University with hopes it might be dated or identified. 

Credit: Oceana County Sheriff

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