By LEVI PASCHER
Fulton County Express
EPHRATAH – The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office continues to conduct an investigation into the unidentified remains of a woman that were found in the Town of Ephratah on Thursday.
Although the woman hasn’t been positively identified at this time the investigation has determined the remains belonged to a woman between the ages of 25 and 35 and at the time of death would have been approximately 5 feet 5 inches tall, Fulton County Sheriff Thomas Lorey said during a press conference on Friday.
“We do not have a name and we are still working on the identification,” he said.
He said the cause of death is undetermined and therefore can’t be deemed a homicide at this time. He also said the time of death hasn’t been determined but the body probably went undiscovered for “several years.”
Authorities said the discovery was made shortly after 11 a.m. on Thursday by an excavating crew working at a property within the town. Officials said the remains were found in a gravel pit where the crew was working.
Lorey said the area where the bones were found, just off Fical Road, has been closed off since the discovery to allow investigators to search for additional evidence.
He said the excavation crew was using the site for materials for an ongoing roadway project since the beginning of the month. The sheriff said as a result the department has yet to uncover all of the skeletal remains because they had been moved around the site during that time.
“During the construction process the remains were scattered and we are still recovering them,” Lorey said.
Fulton County District Attorney Louise Sira said despite not having a cause of death the remains are being deemed “absolutely suspicious” at this time.
She said the State Police Forensic Investigation Unit is assisting her office along with the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department.
She said the case will require an extensive investigation into DNA and dental records to ultimately identify the remains.
The sheriff said although the exact identity of the remains is undetermined the department has successfully eliminated at least one possibility.
“There have been rumors circulating that it may be the body of a missing woman from Johnstown but it has positively been ruled out that it is not her,” Lorey said. “We checked the dental records.”
Lorey was referring to Kellisue Ackernecht who disappeared on the night of Sept. 30, 2008, after leaving her job in Amsterdam. Her vehicle was later found engulfed in flames in the Frog Hollow section of Johnstown.
“There is a lot of forensic work being done today to help identify the remains,” the sheriff said.
Lorey advised anyone with information about the investigation to contact the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office.
Sira said with there only being skeletal remains it may be difficult to determine if the victim suffered any soft tissue injuries that resulted in her death.
“Our number one priority is to identify the remains,” Sira said. “Then obviously we want to determine how and when they got to that location.”