Investigation continues to identifying human remains found in Kern River and Lake BV


It’s been several days since a group of teens in the Kern River made the gruesome discovery of a human arm. It happened three weeks after a child found a human leg in the water at Lake Buena Vista.

There are still many more questions than answers regarding both body parts. In both cases investigators face big challenges when it comes to not only identifying the remains, but continuing the search for the rest of the body or bodies. 

Here’s what we know so far: Three weeks ago a human leg from below the knee down to the foot washed up on shore. It was fairly decomposed and following two autopsies with a forensic anthropologist, investigators still don’t know the race, gender, or age range of the individual.

Search and Rescue crews, made up completely of volunteers,  have scoured the lake, which is especially difficult because they say there’s zero visibility near the bottom. Essentially they’d have to use their hands to feel around to find anything. Sonar equipment used to spot objects in the water has been borrowed from Tulare County and used to search a large majority of the lake.

Without having the necessary specialized equipment readily available, investigators and Search and Rescue volunteers are strategizing the best way to search the rest of the lake. They say they are not giving up and plan to continue their search in the most effective way possible.

Now to the arm. The discovery was made inside a duffel bag of sorts filled with rocks. The arm, from the forearm down to the hand was discovered inside, decomposed. Though the bag was on the bottom of the river, it was moving with the current, so investigators say it could’ve been dropped anywhere upstream. This area of the river is particularly dangerous, and with the vast size it makes it very difficult to search. Even for the most experienced divers it would be a potentially life-threatening situation.

Investigators say DNA will be extracted from the arm and leg and compared to see if they’re by chance from the same individual. They say DNA analysis will have to be done to identify the remains. If you have any information on either incident, call KCSO at 861-3110 or Secret Witness at 322-4040. 

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