05-27-2005, 09:41 AM #1
GA - Chatham Co., Bones found in Thunderbolt, May'05 - Likely from 70s or before
I dont recall any missing persons in this area, from back in the 70's or earlier.
Last edited by Cubby; 02-07-2011 at 09:04 AM.
02-06-2011, 01:28 PM #2
From the link in the OP (, mind you, there are bones photos in the articles if you'd rather avoid them) :
Thunderbolt police have no missing persons reports or active homicides, Buttersworth said. Savannah Electric crews were working to repair a power line that runs under the River Crossing Apartments on Dogwood Avenue when they spotted what looked like a bone, company spokesman John Kraft said.
The bones were only about 40 inches deep under the ground, Kraft said.
However, Snow's findings, including several plastic buttons next to the skeleton's hands, indicate the remains were much more recent, Buttersworth said. The clothes have since deteriorated. No other personal items were found, police said.
The skeleton has to be older than the power lines, which were laid on May 25, 1977, according to Savannah Electric workers. Police found evidence that the body's feet were destroyed by excavation equipment when the power lines were built.
"We're investigating whether this is part of a yellow fever burial site thanks to a tip from a construction worker from the 1970s who remembered finding bones back then," Buttersworth said. "It makes sense because the body is too old to be from an active case."
Police said there was no evidence of bullet wounds or other foul play on the skeleton. However, that does not necessarily mean the remains are not the result of a homicide, Buttersworth said.
But that's not very likely, he added.
The Savannah Morning News reported in May 1977 that 13 skeletons were unearthed by a bulldozer. The skeletons were about 100 years old and likely the victims of yellow fever, a disease responsible for thousands of deaths in Savannah in the 1800s.
Several bones were also found at the same site in the mid-1960s when a septic tank was being installed, former Thunderbolt Mayor Hal Lane told the Morning News.
Like the recent remains, the 1977 construction crews never found coffins. However, police told the Morning News in 1977 that they did see imprints of wooden boxes at some of the sites.
And just like the skeletons found in 1977, the remains found last month were laid out ceremonially, on its back with its arms extended downward, police said.
Other historians told police in 1970s the remains may be from a "pest house" in the area, which housed elderly, sick, alcoholics and indigents, news reports said. Reports say that the pest house residents were wrapped in sheets or blankets and buried on the river's banks.
02-07-2011, 10:19 PM #3
For what it is worth, I was in Savannah a few months ago because I had to give a lecture, and the group I was with took a "ghost tour" in several hearses that had been modified so that about 12 people could sit on top of the hearse and ride through the city to the "haunted" places. It was a gorgeous warm southern night with a full moon, and perfect for a ghost tour! One thing that stood out, however, was the narrative of the tour guide. Everywhere we went, there was a story about "bodies buried under the grounds". He kept insisting that Savannah was "virtually a city built on top of a mass grave". The Yellow Fever epidemic was a large contributing factor to his story. The creepy old, abandoned Candler Hospital was my favorite spot. It was truly creepy!! The oldest hospital in Georgia, it was used during the Yellow Fever epidemic and bodies were transported and temporarily housed in a tunnel that runs from underneath the Candler Hospital out towards Forsyth Park - also supposed to be haunted. I think we should host a WebSleuth's convention in Savannah! It is a beautiful city, and one of my favorite places to visit.
Big Shout Out to Donjeta!!! You are doing a great job of helping clean up some of these old cases!!! Thank you!!!
Last edited by Reannan; 02-07-2011 at 10:21 PM. Reason: Thanks to Donjeta!!!
02-07-2011, 11:01 PM #4
02-07-2011, 11:15 PM #5
NOT OFF TOPIC - are you surprised by these bones being classified as a Yellow Fever victim?? What is your take on the situation in terms of Savannah being built over a lot of graves?
02-07-2011, 11:31 PM #6
I do know that in the tunnels as recently as the 80's, there were remains discovered. It is not uncommon for remains to be found when the City is doing some underground repair work OR someone is doing some renovation. It is very hard to get a permit for NEW construction in the Historic District unless that lot is vacant or the building is condemned. I would not be shocked at the remains that are still under buildings.JMO.
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