Authorities are investigating whether human remains found by a central Arkansas student near his high school belong to a person who went missing at least two years ago, officials said Wednesday morning.
A sophomore at Riverview High School in Searcy discovered the adult remains while walking home through a wooded part of the campus Tuesday afternoon, district Superintendent David Rutledge said. The student who made the discovery called another student to the scene and called police around 3:45 p.m., the superintendent said.
Officials said the student discovered the remains about 50 yards south of the school’s administration building, just off of Moore Avenue.
Searcy Police Chief Steve Hernandez said the wooded area is thick and would have made it difficult to see the remains. It’s likely they have been there for more than two years, he said.
“[It] just happened to be that a student was walking through the woods for whatever reason and saw the remains,” he said.
The remains will be sent to the Arkansas Crime Laboratory to determine the identity and cause of death, authorities said. Searcy police are looking into a lead on a missing person from out of state but didn't disclose the who the missing person was, according to Hernandez.
“We don’t want to release too much,” he said. “There’s families out there that are obviously looking for loved ones that have been missing for years, and we don’t want to give anybody any false hope.”
Superintendent Rutledge said classes at the high school continued as normal Wednesday, adding he was grateful to the Searcy Police Department, the White County sheriff’s office and the White County Coroner for their efforts.
“They did a wonderful job in doing a very difficult job very quickly,” he said.