Former Police Officer Finds Skull and Bones Near Home

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) -- A retired police officer in Chattanooga found a human skull near his home yesterday, and authorities are treating it as a homicide.

Charles Ballard says he smelled decay in the woods two or three weeks ago but found nothing when he investigated.

He thinks an animal dragged the skull to the top of a small hill near his front door, where he saw it.

Chattanooga police spokesman Tim Carroll says investigators confirmed that the skull was human and located the body a short time later.

Detectives want to determine whether the body is of someone on the department's missing persons list.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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