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The Missoula Police Department is investigating after a box containing bones and teeth believed to be from three children was found in the shed of a home.

According to a search warrant recently filed in Missoula County District Court, a Missoula police officer was dispatched in late September to a house on the 2100 block of South 12th Street near Franklin Park after the remains were found.

The search warrant application said a former tenant was evicted from the rental, and a cleaning crew was brought in to clear out the home. In a shed on the property, the crew found a box containing bones and teeth.

The remains were sent to the Montana State Crime Lab, and the anthropology department at the University of Montana, where it was verified they were human.

An anthropology professor determined the remains came from three children, and that they are “likely modern and not archaeological,” according to a search warrant application. The professor estimated the age of one of the children as 5 to 8 years old at the time of death, another at 6-10 years old, and the third as 2-4 years old.

With permission of the property management company, a Missoula detective searched the property in early November but did not find any evidence. He returned with the anthropology professor and a pair of graduate student assistants later in the month, together coming to the decision that a more thorough examination of the property, home and other structures was necessary.

District Court Judge Karen Townsend signed a search warrant for a potential homicide at the end of November, and the detective returned to the home, but did not take any additional evidence from it.

Public information officer Sgt. Travis Welsh confirmed Tuesday that the investigation remains active.

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Law and Justice Reporter

Crime reporter for the Missoulian.