Human Bones Found In Tom Nevers Swamp

Jason Graziadei •

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Human bones were discovered near the Philips Run swamp area in Tom Nevers last night, and the Nantucket Police Department and the Massachusetts State Police are investigating.

The bones were discovered by a seasonal resident who was walking in the area on Thursday looking for dropped deer antlers, often called sheds. The location was about a half-mile south of Milestone Road.

"Patrol Officers, Detectives, and MSP responded and located the human remains in the dense woodland off Milestone Road," the Nantucket Police Department announced in a press release Friday morning. "The scene was secured, processed and evidence was collected. The human remains were then removed and transferred to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. The cause of death is unknown at this time and remains under investigation by the Nantucket Police Department Detective Unit."

Medical examiner Dr. Tim Lepore said authorities contacted him last night and sent pictures of the bones, which he said were human remains that included a skull.

Peter McHugh, a Connecticut resident who has been coming to Nantucket for 20 years and owns a home on the island, told the Current he found the bones around 5 p.m. Thursday while looking for shed in the remote, swampy area.

"It was surreal," McHugh said. "I kept questioning myself about what I was looking at."

The bones caught his eye from about 10 feet away, and he initially thought it was a dead deer.

"I looked closer and it looked much like what you would think a human skull would look like and I realized that must be what it is," McHugh said.  "There's a lot of deer stands in that area, so there were hunters within yards of it years, but for some reason, it was covered or not seen." 

Nantucket Police Department Lt. Angus MacVicar stated that the investigation is in its early stages and that nothing had been ruled out at this point.

"It's an open case, and all of those things are not ruled out, including foul play," MacVicar said. "We're looking into anything and everything. I'm reasonably confident that we'll be able to identify the human remains that were recovered. I can't say for certain, but I'm reasonably confident we will be able to. I have no idea when that will be."

The remains - including "an intact skull and many bones" - will be transferred off-island to the custody of the state medical examiner, MacVicar added.

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