Neighbors describe strong stench before deputies confirm human remains found in wooded area

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Mo. – A woman taking a shortcut through the woods stumbled across badly decomposed human remains in Jefferson County.

The sheriff's office said the bones were discovered around 5:45 p.m. Monday off of Sugar Creek Road near Highway 30. The area is between High Ridge and Fenton.

The remains had been there for at least a few weeks.

Cindy Day, who lives across from the wooded area, said she can distinctly remember from three weeks ago a very pungent odor coming from that spot every time she drove past it.

“We thought it was a dead animal," Day said. “But if you were, like, standing right here you wouldn’t smell it but you go up by the road and go to the next house, you could smell it."

The sheriff's office said the bones are so badly decomposed even an autopsy couldn’t reveal whether it’s a man or a woman.

“Now I feel bad that we didn’t go walking through the woods to see what it was," Day said.

Day’s nephew, Kevin Albert, lives next door and he remembered that same stench permeating the air.

“You know I never thought anything of it," said Albert. "But the only thing that was peculiar was the amount of time that we smelled it.”

Their neighbors said that people, mostly young adults or kids, are often seen walking back and forth through the woods located behind the BP gas station.

“Over here there is like 10 acres of woods and anybody can come out here and dump something if they want to," said resident Bob Soest.

“It’s real unnerving, you know?" Day said. “It’s like I thought we were safe out here.”

The sheriff's office said that medical examiners are continuing to take a closer look at the bones to determine what may have happened and whom they belong to.