Testing sheds light on skulls

CRYSTAL LAKE – Part of the mystery has been solved, but Bull Valley police continue to investigate where the two human skulls found late last month came from and how they ended up on the side of the road.

Preliminary results indicate that the skulls came from commercially prepared anatomical specimens, police and McHenry County Coroner’s officials said. Such models sometimes are used at medical offices and schools.

A 12-year-old boy found one skull Jan. 24 on his way to the bus stop. Officers from several police agencies scoured two properties in the 1500 block of Cherry Valley Road in Bull Valley and found another human skull near the one discovered by the boy.

The skulls were sent to Dr. Stephen Nawrocki of the University of Indianapolis for analysis, Deputy McHenry County Coroner Kim Bostic said.

“We don’t know where they came from,” she said. “Obviously somebody dumped them. At this point, it looks like we’ll never know who or why.”

But Bull Valley Police aren’t giving up. They will continue to search for answers even though there has been no direct evidence that a crime was committed, Bull Valley Police Chief and Village Administrator Rich Vance said.

“Apparently you can buy these anatomical specimens – you can get them on eBay – and they are legal to own,” Vance said.

Still, police want to know how the skulls ended up along the roadside in Bull Valley and why. Police also want to find out where the anatomical specimens came from. Those responsible could face criminal charges, such as littering or disturbing the peace, Vance said.

The preliminary lab results put to rest a number of rumors and outlandish theories raised in the wake of the find. One local blogger suggested that the skulls may have been the work of terrorists or Mexican drug cartels.

Others speculated in Internet postings about a connection to the folklore
surrounding the historic Stickney House. Located at 1904 Cherry Valley Road in Bull Valley, it houses the
village clerk, police station, and Village Board meetings. And it has a rich history of ghost stories.

George Stickney, one of the first settlers in Nunda Township, built the two-story yellow brick house between 1849 and 1865, according to a history of the house prepared for the village in 1991.

The Stickney family practiced spiritualism, which included the belief that spirits hid in corners. To better communicate with the dead, the Stickneys had the outer walls of the house built with rounded corners.