Charleville, 31, was in the area for a weekend church retreat when he made the discovery. “We decided to go to the dunes. We made our way over to the shore and when we got there, within about 100 feet, we found this bone lying in the sand,” he said.
“It looked like it had been in the water and washed up. We were thinking we might have found a deer bone and we kind of showed a few students and someone started asking, ‘What is it?’ We noticed the bulge on the bone and it looked identical to a human femur and we were really hoping it wasn’t.”
When he got back to the retreat area, Charleville called 911.
“The police thought it looked like a human bone, too,” he said. “Sunday morning, they called us back and confirmed, and I had to go back and show them the exact location where I found it.”
The bone has been sent to the Michigan State Police Forensic Lab for testing and DNA analysis. “I still don’t know that we’ve fully processed it,” Charleville said of his discovery. “We’re hoping it helps put the missing pieces together.”
According to Oceana County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Craig Mast, there aren’t any open missing person cases in the county, but law enforcement officials from other areas have reached out about the bone.
“We don’t have any local missing persons cases open, but we’re hoping we can help put together someone else’s missing person case,” Mast said. “We are very interested to see how this proceeds.” Authorities have searched the area for other remains but haven’t found anything yet.