By YVETTE C. HAMMETT | The Tampa Tribune
and NATALIE SHEPHERD | News Channel 8
Published: October 11, 2010
Updated: 10/11/2010 04:39 pm
VALRICO - Good thing they didn't immediately hang it from the front-yard oak tree.
The skeleton Judith and Mitchell Fletcher purchased for $8 at an estate sale, turned out to be the real thing.
Just how it landed at a yard sale, well, that's something the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office is attempting to determine.
The Valrico couple found the skeleton among a box of scary Halloween decorations they purchased at a Brandon estate sale, three weeks earlier, said Debbie Carter, spokeswoman for the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. They didn't realize they had a box of real human bones until they opened it on Friday.
"They thought the skeleton was plastic but as they were decorating for Halloween they realized that it in fact appeared to be human bones," Carter said.
The couple didn't even look in the 2-foot wide box until later, Judith Fletcher said. "It had a lot of loose bones and they were wired," she said. "I asked him (her husband) 'what are you going to do with that?' And I brought it out and took a good look at it and I said, 'you know what? I think this is the real McCoy.'"
Then, they called the sheriff's office.
"We get calls a lot of times from people who say their dog came home with a bone they think is human, but it's not often we get an intact skeleton," Carter said.
Deputies who took the skeleton from the Fletchers said it appears to be a human anatomical skeleton utilized for study at a college or university. The skeleton has a serial number on a femur, but so far, Carter said, that number has not shown up on any data bases of stolen or missing property.
The skeleton has been turned over to the Hillsborough County Medical Examiners Office.
The investigation is continuing to determine the origin of the skeleton.
Reporter Yvette C. Hammett can be reached at (813) 627-4763
Click to view image: '51fd9ff3972f-72540_101110skeleton.jpg'
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