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Found human remains still unidentified

LORTON, Va.—Skeletal remains found in Lorton on Monday night will be sent to Richmond for a closer examination.

The medical examiner’s office in Fairfax County worked Tuesday with an anthropologist to try and identify a human skull and skeletal remains found on Furnace Road about 8 p.m. Monday.

The team decided Tuesday to turn the case over to forensic scientists at the state medical examiner’s office in Richmond.

“It will hopefully happen sooner than later, but it could take weeks or months before we hear anything,” said Fairfax police spokeswoman Tawny Wright.

The skull and skeletal remains were found along Furnace Road – a 3.2 mile stretch of two-lane road that connects U.S. 1 and Va. 123 – by a photographer stopping to take a photo of a deer.

While outside of the car, the man spotted what looked like to be a human skull in a weeded area and called police, said Wright.

With little information released on the remains, many longtime residents’ thoughts turned to the 1989 disappearance of 5-year-old Melissa Brannen.

The girl vanished during a December holiday party at the Woodside Apartment complex in Lorton, where she lived with her mother.

A maintenance man at the complex, Prince William County resident Caleb D. Hughes, was eventually charged with and convicted of abducting Melissa, but her body has never been found.

Police said the remains found Monday are probably not those of the little girl.

“While we have no way of confirming it 100 percent, detectives say it is unlikely that these are the remains of Melissa Brannen,” said Wright.

Police asked anyone with information to call Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS or the Fairfax County Police Department at 703-691-2131.

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