Sidney doesn't know it, but she discovered a bone that set off a full-fledged death investigation. On her morning walk last Friday, the dog smelled something and ran to a grassy area, in the middle of a construction site for new condos in Brandon.
"It was large size, you could definitely see the ball joint for the hip," said Ashley Crowl, the dog's owner. "We also Googled a picture for human femur and there was definitely no question."
Crowl says her husband snapped a photo of the bone, found lying atop a dirt pile, and called law enforcement on Saturday.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office sent the bone for testing and concluded it's a femur, or thigh bone. They don't know yet whether it belonged to a female or male.
Cristal Bermudez Nunez, spokeswoman for the sheriff's office, says deputies have shut down construction at the site while they continue to dig for more bones.
"Right now it's a death investigation," Bermudez Nunez said. "We're trying to figure out if it's a homicide or if the person died of natural causes. It's really too early to determine that information. But we haven't found anything since over the weekend, we found a few animal bones, but nothing else, no other human bones."
Deputies, along with the University of South Florida and Hillsborough County Maintenance personnel, are together searching the site. In the meantime, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is testing the femur for DNA, to help determine to whom it belonged.
Some of the dirt for construction was hauled in from another location. If no other bones are found at the Brandon site, officials say they may move the investigation to that site.
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