BRADENTON — As cameras clicked inches from it and questions reverberated all around it, the mysterious human skull discovered at the Bradenton Police Department held tightly to its secrets today.
Reacting to a Bradenton Herald story about a skull being found last Thursday in an unmarked box in the corner of its 12-foot by 12-foot homicide evidence room, the Bradenton Police Department held a press conference this morning to satisfy a flood of interest in the skull.
The skull was discovered carefully wrapped in old newspaper in a box with the word “Skull” in caps underlined twice along with an FBI lab invoice reading: “Examination of portion of human skull discovered in four inches of water near Bradenton on Sept. 28, 1974.”
The lower half of the skull is missing with no jawbone and, hence, no teeth, remaining.
“We want to bring closure to some family out there still missing a family member,” said Deputy Chief Bill Tokajer. “With new advances in technology, including DNA testing, we might now be able to solve the mystery.”
Tokajer and Detective Lieutenant John Affolter believe the skull is that of a missing person and not connected to a Bradenton homicide.That’s because they have homicide books on cases dating far earlier than the 1970s and none involve a missing skull.
They handed out copies of old Bradenton Herald clippings from that period, which found about a dozen missing residents and missing tourists.
But they are not even sure those people were ever found.
A promising lead, they think, is a man named Richard Cavenough who left on a Braden River fishing trip in 1971 and was never found, although his overturned boat was discovered.