Forensics lab tests fingers found in dumpster

Dr. Robert Mann
Dr. Robert Mann
Trash bin at Kukui Gardens
Trash bin at Kukui Gardens

PEARL HARBOR (HawaiiNewsNow) - Experts at the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command examined the fingers found in a trash dumpster at Kukui Gardens and classified them as fragmentary remains.

The director of JPAC's forensic academy said there's little to go on.

"It's not a complete hand. It's not a complete body. And so the less you have of an individual to try to identify or to work with, the harder our job is," Dr. Robert Mann said.

JPAC is known for successfully identifying remains of soldiers missing in action and remains of prisoners of war. When working with fingers or hands, the scientists take X-rays, then match them against graphs for males and females to estimate an age range.

Mann said from the finger fragments found in the bin, he can't tell if they are from a boy or girl.

"If it is a young girl, this one would be between maybe 2 and a-half to 4 years old. If it's a boy then it would be somewhere between 3 and 5 years old," he said.

A woman sifting through the dumpster found the fingers on February 2, then called police.

Kukui Gardens has 389 units on the property and a lot of concerned parents.

"Some of the families around are also talking about it because a lot of them let their kids roam around here. You always have children out here," Sarah Hwang said.

"I hope for the better that it's not indeed a murder case because it involves somebody that young. It's very disturbing," Jon Betz said.

Mann said the fingers were not well-preserved, and are dry to the touch and leathery.

Even after thirty years in forensics, he calls this case unusual.

"I think for any laboratory, for any police jurisdiction, any medical examiner, this is not the run-of-the-mill typical kind of thing we would ever expect to find," he said.

If you have information that can help solve this case call CrimeStoppers at 955-8300.

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