Thursday, January 13, 2011

Federal Scuba Team Discovers Human Skull During Training Dive

That must have been eerie to come across.

A federal scuba-diving team conducting a training dive in a Miami canal last week made a grisly discovery -- a human skull, authorities said Tuesday.

The team was conducting routine training January 5 in the Palmetto Bay area when a diver discovered the skull in about 15 to 20 feet of water, said Nicole Navas, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

An initial assessment by the Miami-Dade Police Department determined the skull probably belonged to a black male, 25 to 45 years old, Navas said. The time and cause of death could not immediately be determined.

The Miami-Dade medical examiner's office took custody of the skull for investigation.

A spokesman for the medical examiner said that in addition to looking for evidence of homicide, suicide, accidental death or natural death, his examiners also will consult with a local expert on Afro-Caribbean religions.

"Periodically, human skulls found in our jurisdiction are traced to Santeria or Palo Mayombe source," said spokesman Larry Cameron.

Published accounts say adherents of those religions have disinterred remains for religious rituals, and Cameron said customs officials at airport ports of entry sometimes discover skulls being brought in for that purpose.

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