Mystery human skull found in Townbush

2013-10-23 00:00

POLICE are investigating the discovery yesterday of an old human skull in the forest next to Townbush Road.

The skull is expected to be sent to the police’s forensic science laboratory for analysis, including DNA tests, as police try to identify whose it is and the cause of the person’s death.

Lieutenant Jack Haskins of the Pietermaritzburg K9 search and rescue unit and his dog, Udain, yesterday searched the area for more possible remains, but found nothing.

Haskins could not comment on speculation that the skull might be that be that of Pietermaritzburg man Ronald Stimpson (79), who vanished on November 18, 2006.

Haskins, who played a key role in the search for Stimpson at the time of his disappearance, confirmed that he had vanished in the “general area” but said the spot where the skull was located was quite far from where Stimpson was reportedly last seen alive.

The skull was found about 150 metres into the bush, close to the road, by cleaners working in the plantation.

Haskins said a reason it might not have been found earlier was that it could have been moved from its original resting place by an animal.

The mystery of Stimpson’s disappearance in the Ferncliffe nature reserve in the Townbush area has never been solved.

Three years after he vanished while walking his dogs in the reserve, the Pietermaritzburg high court granted an order in September 2009 declaring him to be presumed dead.

The court order was obtained by Stimpson’s long-time friend and attorney, Brendan Cullinan.

Cullinan said in court papers at the time that no acquaintances had ever heard of Stimpson again, there had been no activity on his bank and investment accounts, and added that his friend would never have abandoned his beloved dogs.

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