State police continue to investigate after a hunter discovered human remains in a Colchester state forest.
The Eastern District Major Crime squad responded to the area of Flat Brook Road in Colchester near the Air Line State Park Trail at 3:20 p.m. Saturday after a hunter found human remains near an ATV path off the trail within Salmon River State Forest, state police said.
Randy Griswold, of East Hampton, was hunting below paths often populated with runners and cyclists just over the East Hampton border in Colchester Saturday when he made a startling discovery -- a human skull.
“I was out hunting, and I saw some deer and they took off running and I made a loop around to see if I could get underneath them and I got in some real thick stuff," Randy Griswold, of East Hampton, said. "As I got closer I saw articles of clothing."
That clothing was half buried in the ground and looked like it had been there for years.
"The clothing was rotten," Griswold said. "It just looked very old to me."
The state forest is very large and has a lot of walking paths. An East Hampton couple that owns a property just across the street from the state park told NBC Connecticut they walk on the trail every day with their dog and see many people on it daily. On Sunday, yellow tape was still tied around two trees next to the Air Line trail, marking the spot in Salmon River forest where state police detectives are investigating.
"It's a little scary to think there's a dead body right near your house," said East Hampton resident Ronald Gaudet, who lives right across the street from the area investigators are focusing on, "... We're just very curious to find out what happened."
The couple across the street said they were surprised to hear the remains were just discovered Saturday given how many people pass through the area daily.
But Aldo Zovich, of East Hampton, wasn't shocked it went unnoticed until now. He was hunting in the same spot with Griswold on Friday, and stumbled upon what may have been the first clue -- a man's hiking boot.
“You can hike by it but it would be down. You wouldn’t be able to see where it was," Zovich said. "....I think if Randy hadn't nobody would have found it..... It's very dense out there in the woods."
State police returned to the scene at about 7:30 a.m. Sunday. Investigators kept the trail open, saying the public is not in danger.
Major crimes detectives continue to comb the scene with the help of K-9 teams. They're focusing on the area of Flat Brook Road and have set up a staging area about a mile away.
Officials from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner responded to assist with the investigation and will examine the remains to determine the cause and manner of death, as well as confirm the identity.
State police will not release the name until the identity has been established and family has been notified.
Griswold said police told him they were looking into missing persons cases from the last two to three years. He hopes his discovery helps the person's relatives find closure.
"That would be nice for a family to have closure for sure," hse said.