Findings from a forensics investigation into a human jawbone found last year in the Missouri River show the bone to be ancient.
Bismarck Police Sgt. Mark Gaddis said, according to the opinion of a University of North Dakota professor, the jawbone was more than 100 years old.
Bismarck Police and the North Dakota State Forensic Examiner’s Office took up the investigation after a wader discovered the blackened jawbone in early October 2016 near the Lewis and Clark Riverboat landing.
Gaddis said it’s unknown how the bone came to be in the river. Earthlodge communities lined the river centuries ago in the Bismarck-Mandan area, but any connection would be speculative, Gaddis said.
He added that one missing persons case is open in the area of where the jawbone was found: Sandra Jacobson and her son, John, who disappeared in 1996.
“We’re always hopeful whenever something turns up like that, we get some answers and give someone some closure,” Gaddis said.
Police concluded the case within a few months of the bone's discovery.