A local group that received national attention last week after claiming it found a child sex-trafficking camp near Interstate 19 said Thursday that members found a human skull northwest of Tucson.
Pima County sheriff’s deputies responded to the area and found a human skull, as well as old backpacks and other bones they determined were remains of animals, said Deputy James Allerton, a department spokesman.
Veterans on Patrol, an advocacy group that looks for homeless veterans in washes and desert areas, reported the find to the Bureau of Land Management, which contacted the Sheriff’s Department, Allerton said.
Veterans on Patrol did not respond to a request for comment Thursday. Through Facebook posts, some of which had tens of thousands of views and thousands of comments within hours, the group said it found the bones near West Manville Road about a mile west of North Anway Road.
The Pima County Medical Examiner determined late Thursday that the skull was that of an adult. Deputies did not find any indication the skull was connected to “any sort of sex trafficking,” Allerton said.
The call from Veterans on Patrol came from “an area where undocumented immigrants have been known to travel through on foot,” Allerton said. Human remains have been found in the area before and often turn out to belong to illegal border crossers, he said.
Human remains were found April 17 about 2 miles from the site of Thursday’s find, according to a database maintained by the humanitarian aid group Humane Borders and linked from the website of the Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner. More sets of human remains were found in the area Aug. 15, 2017, and Jan. 17, 2017.
The database lists 118 sets of human remains suspected of belonging to illegal border crossers in Pima County in 2017 and 40 so far in 2018.
The area where the skull was found Thursday is more than 20 miles from the homeless camp Veterans on Patrol found last week near the intersection of Interstate 19 and West Valencia Road.
Veterans on Patrol claimed the camp was the site of child sex-trafficking. However, the Tucson Police Department and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said they found no evidence of illegal activity.