We have heard of a few strange and valuable items donated to thrift stores. This is a new one. Human skulls.
The King County Medical Examiner’s Office in Seattle is asking for the public’s help to find who donated three human skulls to a thrift store.
There is no information about who donated the skulls to a Goodwill in Bellevue, Washington, or how they came to be in the donor’s possession.
The third skull is very old and appears to be the fragile remains of a Native American child.
According to Washington state law, the Native American skull must be returned to its tribe of origin, but the medical examiner needs more information to identify the correct tribe.
The two other skulls were from adults and used in medical training. The donor is asked to come forward to provide more information about the skulls, and will not face any penalties for it. Surprisingly, there is only one explicit federal law that prevents the trade in human remains, and that is for Native Americans. The 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act protects against looting Native American gravesites. No federal law prohibits the disturbance of the burial sites of other people. Only New York, Georgia and Tennessee laws restrict trade in human remains. However, if the remains come from a criminal case or are obtained by grave robbing, then that is problematic in general.
UPDATE (21-July-2014) Skull-donation mystery leads others to turn in human remains | Local News | The Seattle Times. No word on whom the remains belong to but others have turned in human bones to make sure they get proper treatment.