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Remains discovered in Sandoval County

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Sandoval County sheriff’s detectives are investigating the discovery of female human remains discovered Easter Sunday northwest of Rio Rancho, and, though they aren’t 100 percent sure, the remains appear to belong to a 27-year-old Bernalillo woman missing since June 2012.

A family out fossil hunting discovered what appeared to be a human jaw and skull Sunday afternoon near Encino Road and Frost Road, said Lt. Keith Elder, Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office spokesman. Investigators arrived to unearth items that beared striking resemblance to belongings of Brenda Salas, who went missing June 13, 2012.

Those items included clothing with the same description as what Salas was reportedly wearing at the time of her disappearance and a keychain with a design on it that was similar to one belonging to the woman.

Elder said the remains were badly decomposed, however, so they’ll wait until DNA and dental records are conducted before they identify the remains.

“We don’t know it’s her for sure, but we’ve contacted the Salas family and asked them for dental and DNA information,” he said.

The tests should take two or three months, Elder said.

There was no immediate evidence of foul play, Elder said, but cause of death will be determined by the Office of the Medical Investigator. Investigators are treating the discovery as a “suspicious death” in the meantime, he said.


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