Bones, casket found after Tipton County bluff collapses

By Janice Broach - bio | email

TIPTON COUNTY, TN (WMC-TV) – Bones and remains of a wooden casket were found Thursday morning near a bluff that collapsed along the Mississippi River in Tipton County.

Deputies made the discovery in the Randolph Community of Tipton County.  Investigators carefully brushed off parts of a skeleton protruding from the bluff.

Barbara Spencer, a resident of the neighborhood, said she found out about the discovery via text message.

"One of my sons texted me and he said, 'Momma, we got this crazy Mother's Day surprise for you,'" Spencer said.  "They said there were some bones, looked like a casket.  There were some bones down there."

When Spencer got home, she went down to the bluff to take a look.

"Sure enough, bones," Spencer said.  "You could tell they were really old."

Spencer called the Tipton County Sheriff's Department and the investigation began.

"This is not a marked grave," said Assistant Chief Donna Turner of the Tipton County Sheriff's Department.  "This is something that has been unearthed from the decay of our recent floods."

Investigators said the bones and casket could date back to the Civil War.  A general once lived on the property.

The property went halfway across what is no the path of the Mississippi River.  Research will have to show whose gravesite the property is.

One of the unearthed handles of the casket featured intricate work.  Investigators should be able to determine who made the casket and when it was made.

In addition, bones, buttons and teeth were also excavated.

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