SAUGET — For two years, a body lay decomposing in the woods with a hole in the back of the skull and five Russian coins in a pants pocket.
Police don't know the name attached to the bones, whether the skeleton belongs to a man or woman, how the person died or why they were in an industrial area near a chemical plant and water treatment plant.
"It's a mystery right now," said St. Clair County Coroner Rick Stone said. "We are going to have to conduct some tests and have an anthropologist look at the bones."
A hunter discovered the skull on Monday about 4:30 p.m. on American Bottoms Road and called police, said Sauget Police Detective Sgt. Vito Parisi. The lower jaw bone was discovered nearby, Parisi said.
"The skull had a hole in the back," Parisi said. "I don't know if it was from a gunshot or other trauma. I do believe that this person died as a result of foul play."
The skull was turned over to the St. Clair County Coroner's Office for further examination.
Parisi, Chief Patrick Delaney and other officers returned to the area on Tuesday and located the rest of the skeletal remains about 25 yards from where the skull was found, Parisi said.
On the lower part of the body, police discovered what they believe to be blue sweat pants size extra large 44 to 46, Parisi said. They didn't find any identification or any papers, just five Russian coins in the pants pocket, Parisi said.
No shoes or shirt or other clothes were found, Parisi said.
Parisi said Wednesday that the body had been at the remote location west of Illinois 3 near a waste water treatment facility for at least two years.
Anyone with information that could help identify the body should call Sauget police at 332-6500 or Parisi at 581-7012.
Contact reporter Beth Hundsdorfer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 618-239-2570.