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Skeletal remains recovered from culvert pipe in Santa Ana

On October 17, 2022, at approximately 9:30 a.m., California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) workers were conducting a routine inspection of the culvert system on State Route 55 southbound, from Baker Street, using a robotic camera. During
the inspection, Caltrans workers discovered what appeared to be skeletal remains in a culvert pipe. California Highway Patrol – Santa Ana Area officers, along with coroners from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, were dispatched to assess the scene and confirmed the images displayed by the robotic camera were likely skeletal remains.

Due to the location of the remains in the culvert pipe, access was limited. A plan was formulated to recover the remains by flooding the culvert pipe and utilizing the natural flow of water to move the remains to an access point for recovery.

On October 19, 2022, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department Search and Rescue responded to the scene to assist with the recovery. In a joint effort between the California Highway Patrol, Orange County Sheriff’s Department, and California Department of Transportation, the skeletal remains were recovered at approximately 7:55 p.m.

The cause of death is under investigation and the identity of the deceased individual is unknown. The medical report and identification of the remains are pending.

If anyone has information to assist investigators with this case, please contact Officer M. Lussier, at the California Highway Patrol Santa Ana Area office, at (714) 567-6000.

The mission of the California Highway Patrol is to provide the highest level of Safety, Service, and Security.

This article was released by the California Highway Patrol.