14-year-old Salt Lake City boy digs up possible human remains

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah)- Ali Erturk is just 14 but the Salt Lake City 9th grader uncovered a mystery that could have been just beneath the surface for thousands of years.

All Ali wanted was to dig a trout pond in his dad's backyard. He had been working on it for two weeks until something happened last Friday.

"I was digging this part deeper because it has to be six feet," Erturk told ABC 4 News. "I was basically digging and expanding this area. I was digging under a piece of log that was under there and I just ran into this little uh, piece of bone."

At first he thought it was an animal bone and then he noticed a skull.

"When I saw it looked like a human skull then it definitely was a bit creepy," Erturk said.

Ali's father called the Salt Lake City Police who confirmed that it was human, likely a Native American buried there thousands of years ago. Different groups like the Fremont, Shoshone, Goshute and Utes have lived in the area for over 10,000 years.

"They said that the American Indians didn't have burial grounds so they just buried em in random spots and they've been here for thousands of years," Erturk said. "I really do think there's other bones nearby and I don't think that it's that unlikely or that lucky that I stumbled across this."

A forensic anthropologist is now studying the remains. The image remains with Ali.

"It kind of stayed in the back of my mind even when I wasn't digging the pond, going to sleep, it was in the back of my mind that it was human remains," Erturk said.

Geoffrey Fattah of the Utah Department of Heritage said it's fairly common to have ancient human remains found on private property. He told ABC 4 that if you unearth anything suspected to be human, stop digging and contact law enforcement so they can investigate and call in a forensic anthropologist to remove the bones professionally and respectfully.

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