MONTECITO (CBSLA) – Bones discovered last week near the Montecito home of Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle have been determined to be Native American remains, officials announced Thursday.
The bones were discovered May 24 in the 800 block of Riven Rock Road, about 350 yards from the Montecito estate belonging to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
The bones were discovered while work crews were digging a trench for a construction project, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office reports.
Digging was suspended while sheriff’s forensic technicians and coroner’s office detectives collected and examined the remains.
Detectives noted that the bones were yellow and in a state of decomposing and deterioration, indicating that they were old. The teeth were also “worn down in a manner that is consistent with a much rougher diet that would cause that type of wear, similar to Native Americans,” the sheriff’s office said in a news release.
The bones were not a complete skeleton. Most were fragmented and the majority of the bones in the hands and feet were missing, the sheriff’s office disclosed.
On Thursday, Dr. Rick Snow, a forensic anthropology consultant, was brought in to examine the remains and the area where they were found.
Snow concluded that the remains belong to a Native American male of unknown age.
The sheriff’s office is now coordinating with the California Native America Heritage Commission to release the remains to the most likely tribe they belong to.
“The NAHC Environmental and Cultural Staff will designate which California Native American Tribe on its most likely descendants list is the most likely descendant of the Native American whose remains were discovered and contact that tribe,” the sheriff’s office wrote.