The DNA results are in and indicate that the two sets of cubed human remains found in sewers in Warren and Sterling Heights, Michigan, do not belong to the same person.
According to Warren Police Commissioner Jere Green, “They’re both white females, but they’re different people,” he added that, “There are no legal or justifiable reasons why these parts end up in the drain. … We are investigating this as a homicide until the evidence takes us in a different direction.” He did not say whether or not police believe that this is the work of a serial killer. DNA testing only revealed the race and sex of the victims, but national law enforcement DNA databases did provide and matches to the samples, and police have no timeline for the homicides. The only other detail known is that the August 2012 victim likely had a large build.
For those new to the case, human body parts were found in August and December 2012 in two places along a stretch of Detroit’s sewers that runs from Oakland County to Sterling Heights, and then turns south to Warren.
The mystery began on August 15 when sewer workers in Sterling Heights found “maybe a dozen softball-sized pieces of a body,” according to Sterling Heights Police Department Lt. Luke Riley. He added that “At least six or eight of these pieces had part of a tattoo on them,” though not enough pieces of the tattoo were recovered to identify the tattoo.” Experts had hoped that that tattoo, which they estimated to be about 15- 20 years old, would help to identify the person, who was Caucasian, but so far they have had no luck. The fact that the find was hardly decayed, and that workers on that line days earlier had found nothing, led investigators to believe that the pieces were only deposited in the system in the days after the last crew had worked on the sewer line. At this time authorities don’t know where exactly the pieces entered the system.
Then on December 20, 2012, sewer workers in Warren found two four-by-four-inch cubes of human flesh stuck to a grate. At the time they were described as, “pretty precisely cut — not hacked.” Police confirmed that the cubes of flesh had not been in the system since August, but had relatively little decay and had been deposited in the system relatively recently.
At the time they were considering the possibility of a serial killer in the area, assuming the flesh belonged to two different people, but were awaiting DNA testing results to tell them more about the two finds.
Now police are searching for more answers and continue to reach out to the public for help in identifying the two victims.
Anyone with information about the tattoo, a missing person or any other details possibly related to the case are urged to contact the Warren Police Department at 574-4700 or the Sterling Heights Police Department at 446-2805.