By John Nickerson Updated 1:43 pm, Wednesday, March 7, 2018
A mound of fresh dirt in the foreground is where police found human bone fragments earlier this week in a near-forgotten cemetery in Springdale. Photo: John Nickerson / Staff
Photo: John Nickerson / Staff
IMAGE 1 OF 3 A mound of fresh dirt in the foreground is where police found human bone fragments earlier this week in a near-forgotten cemetery in Springdale.
STAMFORD — A grisly discovery was made this week at an old Springdale cemetery that’s home to some of the city’s founding families.
Stamford police Capt. Richard Conklin said someone called 911 after finding bones, at least one tooth and a piece of a human skull in the cemetery tucked behind the Shiloh Seventh Day Adventist Church on Hope Street.
But Conklin said the culprits appear to be a few rodents who burrowed underground, grabbed the remains from rotted wooden caskets and had been nibbling on the bones for calcium.
“They look human and look as though they have been there for a long time,” Conklin said.
The cemetery, which is behind the church at 977 Hope St., dates back to the mid-1800s and contains the remains of some of Stamford’s early founding families like the Scofields, Taylors and Quigleys.
The cemetery had been tied to the Emmanuel Episcopal Church, which closed in 2003 after 136 years in Springdale. Church officials cited a dwindling congregation, drop-off in donations and the costs of repairing and maintaining the building as the reasons why they needed to close 15 years ago. The Seventh Day Adventist Church, which didn’t have a home at the time, then purchased the property.
Conklin said the remains were found Monday in the northwest corner of the cemetery in fresh piles of dirt likely made by tunneling vermin such as woodchucks or groundhogs.
Conklin said these types of rodents can easily get into a rotted casket.
“The bones were cast up from the holes with the dirt debris from the hole,” Conklin said. “It appears that some of these bones have teeth marks and appears that the animals may have eaten on the bond, which is not uncommon for rodents to eat on the bone for calcium.”
Conklin said the bones were “respectfully” collected and are being turned over to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner to confirm they are human.