HALIFAX — When Ivette Coulombe moved to Halifax from New York City nearly two years ago, she never believed one day she would discover skeletal human remains on her property.
However, Friday around 9 a.m., Coulombe, at her home on Montford Street in Halifax, was taking her dog, a Weimaraner-Shar-Pei mix, out for her morning walk in her backyard when they passed under her clothesline.
“I ducked up under the clothesline, and that’s when I saw the bone,” she said.
Coulombe, who was a dance major at Lehman University in New York and studied anatomy and physiology, recognized the bone as a human thigh bone. A few steps later, she discovered a leg bone and what appeared to be a jaw with teeth attached.
“It creeped me out a little bit,” Coulombe said.
For some time, she said she could only stand and stare.
“You know when you’re half-believing, half-not believing it?” Coulombe said. “That’s how it was at first.”
After a time, Coulombe realized what was happening.
“I started to think, this is a person,” she said.
Coulombe contacted her neighbor Raye Burnell, who was outside the house next door at the time, and directed her to the find.
“When I saw it, I thought it was a deer,” Burnell said. “I still believe it was a deer.”
Coulombe had her husband call the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office to report the find. As they waited, Coulombe and Burnell began to believe Burnell’s dog, a pit bull which had gotten loose the night before, found the remains in nearby woods and brought them to the yard.
Coulombe was still in a bit of shock Friday afternoon.
“It’s not real,” she said. “I really can’t explain it. I expected to maybe one day see a skeleton in a classroom setting, but not in the woods.”
Det. Sgt. Tyree Davis, of the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office, said Saturday the State Bureau of Investigation Forensic Team and the anthropology team from East Carolina University assisted local authorities at the scene Friday.
“We don’t feel foul play is involved at this point, but that is still be investigated,” Davis said. “We definitely are not ruling it out. A positive identification has not been made at this time.”
Davis said Saturday that it would be the State Bureau of Investigation who would make a final determination on foul pay and identification.