News 3 Investigates: Human remains found in Virginia Beach leave unanswered questions

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Posted at 3:49 PM, Jun 28, 2022
and last updated 2023-01-03 22:08:35-05

UPDATE: Police told News 3 the cause of death was complications from a neurological disorder.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Right now, the News 3 team of investigators is working to get you answers about human remains found over the weekend along Shore Drive in Virginia Beach.

We spoke to several people who say they are concerned.

“Honestly, it looked like a scene out of a movie. Tons of police out there, digging around in the woods. It was kind of bizarre,” said local resident Chip Lollar. “That’s pretty scary, obviously, something like that happening so close to home.”

“I watch a lot of crime documentaries, and I love that stuff, but actually being near something like that, it’s so scary,” said Maddy Davs.

Police said right near First Landing State Park, a person made the discovery in a wooded area in the 1300 block of Shore Drive and called authorities Saturday around 10:23 a.m.

Tuesday, News 3 reached out to police again with questions about the remains. Below is the response:

"We do not have any significant updates about this case. The remains were found in the marshy area of the 1300 block of Shore Drive. I do not have a better location to give you, unfortunately. Due to the state of decomposition, we do not have any other information about the individual and will not have anything until we receive information from the Medical Examiner's report."
Virginia Beach Police Department

Richard James is a former forensic science professor and a former detective for the Norfolk Police Department.

He said bone structure can tell you a lot about the basic information about the age of the person, national origin and sex of the person. He said police will be watchful of what they report to the media to prevent jeopardizing the investigation.

James said in forensic science, there's a saying - "The secret shall be revealed."

He said gathering evidence from the scene, along with speaking to witnesses, can provide clues about what happened.

He said investigators are working to figure out how long the body has been there.

“There are different stages of decomposition for the human body, and in each stage, it takes a certain amount of time,” said James.

He said even studying the weather and the bugs in the area can help determine the time of death.

“When you're dealing with entomology, the study of the insects, that can also give you a general idea of how long a person has been at a particular location,” said James.

Police say right now, the cause and manner of death have not been determined.

They said they are waiting for the medical examiner's report to come back.

The News 3 team of investigators reached out to the Medical Examiner’s Office, and they said they do not have any information to share with the media at this time. They encouraged us to contact police.

But for some who live nearby, the answers about what happened can’t come fast enough.

Maddy Davs lives nearby and said she is concerned. She said she feels bad for the person’s family, wherever they are.

She said it is scary knowing it is right down the street from where she lives.

Click here for more News 3 Investigations.