On Saturday, March 19, 2016, hikers found a mystery skull partially buried, while they were on a popular trail near the Hollywood sign. The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) was called to the scene where they began their investigation.
In Griffith Park, one of the largest urban parks in North America, a group of hikers was walking along the Brush Canyon trail when they spotted something that looked ominous. As they approached, they found what was actually a human skull. Acting quickly, they summoned the LAPD to investigate.
Bronson Canyon, near the Hollywood sign and where Brush Canyon trail resides, is densely overgrown, which made it difficult for police to navigate to the mystery skull. Bronson Canyon, also known for its rocky terrain, forced the police officers to rappel into the area in order to investigate.
The mystery skull was found around 2:00 p.m., prior to the daylight savings conversion. Police had to quickly work in the area, searching for as much evidence as possible. The technical challenges the local police faced due to the terrain, caused the investigation to be temporarily suspended, as working that area at night was deemed impossible.
The skull, found near the Hollywood sign, was submitted for testing and early results discovered it to be “very old,” according to Lt. Ryan Schatz of the LAPD. Currently, it is still too early for the forensics team to determine the age and gender of the skull, but police are awaiting the results.
After suspending the investigation for the night, it was resumed with a forensics team and cadaver dogs to search for more clues that might be in the area. Bronson Canyon is overgrown and its terrain rocky, which made searching the area that much more difficult.
The area around the Hollywood sign is no stranger to such horrific discoveries. The uncovering of this old skull comes only three years after another discovery of a severed head near the same area.
According to the Springfield News-Sun, in 2012, a hiker, walking around the same area, stumbled upon a gruesome sight; a severed head inside a plastic bag. The head was later identified as Hervey Coronado Medellin, a 66-year-old man and former airline worker. LAPD was called to investigate the discovery. The investigation led to the arrest and conviction of the victim’s boyfriend. The boyfriend, now serving 25 years to life, reportedly strangled Medellin and disposed of his body near Bronson Canyon.
Three years later, another skull has been uncovered and its origin remains unknown. Had the hikers not decided to head off the trail, from one section of the Brush Canyon to another, it is likely that this skull would not have been found.
What is certain, at this point, is that the LAPD has established a perimeter around the area and a team of forensic specialists is searching for any possible evidence that will aid investigators to determine what happened to this unknown person.
The mystery skull found 400 feet off the Brush Canyon trail, near the famous Hollywood sign, on March 19, has LAPD homicide, as well as, the coroner’s office of Los Angeles County analyzing the case. While there are not many details about who the skull belongs to and how it may have come to be in this area. The LAPD hopes to resolve the mystery of the skull found on Brush Canyon Trail.
By Harrison Baker
Edited by Cathy Milne & Jeanette Smith
Tech Times: Hikers Find Human Skull Near Hollywood Sign
Fox 5 San Diego: Hikers Discover Human Skull Near Hollywood Sign
Springfield News-Sun: Hikers Discover Human Skull Near Hollywood Sign in LA
Image Courtesy of Capparezza’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License