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Corpse found on Tumamoc Hill may remain a mystery

By Bryon Wells
Arizona Daily Wildcat
August 31, 1998
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Police may never know how a man who died about five months ago came to lie in a remote area on UA-owned Tumamoc Hill, where a hiker discovered his remains Aug. 16.

"Unless we can match a missing person report, the cause of death cannot be determined because of the condition of the body," said Tucson police Detective James Filippelli.

Human remains - parts of a jaw and other bone fragments - were located within 20 yards of the body, he said.

The body was missing the right femur, which Filippelli attributed to "carnivore activity."

Police have not yet identified the partial skeleton, which was the second body found on the property in a year, but have determined it is that of a 5-foot-9-inch, 40- to 50-year-old male, Filippelli said.

Inspectors will analyze the corpse's teeth, cross reference the findings with computerized dental records and check backlogs of missing-persons reports to determine if there was any foul play, Filippelli said.

"The doctors said that at one time he took good care of his teeth," the detective said. "If there's a hit there, at least we can identify the victim."

Filippelli said the man, who may have been a transient, was found at the bottom of a 45-degree slope.

The body had no apparent injuries consistent with a homicide, nor any fractured bones to suggest that the man fell down the ravine, Filippelli said.

Bryon Wells can be reached via e-mail at Bryon.Wells@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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