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Body parts are found near Antelope Valley school

A severed hand and a torso are discovered near Challenger Middle School, east of Palmdale. 'It's puzzling,' a Los Angeles County sheriff's official says.

September 10, 2009|Andrew Blankstein

Los Angeles County sheriff's homicide detectives are investigating the discovery of human remains, including a severed hand and a torso, in the vicinity of a Lake Los Angeles middle school in the Antelope Valley.

Sheriff's homicide detectives and a Los Angeles County coroner's special recovery team responded to the 41700 block of 170th Street East, near Challenger Middle School, east of Palmdale, about 8 p.m. Tuesday after a resident who was riding a horse saw the hand and called authorities.

Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said it was not clear if the hand belonged to a man or woman or how it turned up in the location where it was found, or even if it was the result of foul play. Cadaver dogs were brought in and made no additional discoveries.

But at 3 p.m. Wednesday, sheriff's officials were called back to the area after they were notified about additional human remains found near the original scene, including what Whitmore described as "an apparent male torso."

In the meantime, detectives were combing through missing-persons reports in an effort to identify possible victims. The coroner's office also was working to identify the hand and the other remains. "It's puzzling," Whitmore said.

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andrew.blankstein @latimes.com

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