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Skeletal remains found on shore at La Salle Park

Police are trying to determine the identity of skeletal remains that washed up on the Lake Erie shore at the end of La Salle Park in Buffalo. Those remains were discovered by a long-time resident of the Harbour Pointe condos on Friday morning.

Andrew Graham was enjoying a morning cup of coffee when he looked out his bedroom window and saw a spinal column on the rocky beach below. At first, he thought it was a deer.

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Credit Avery Schneider / WBFO News
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WBFO News
Investigators and members of the Buffalo Police Department's Underwater Recovery team pull skeletal remains from the shore of Lake Erie at La Salle Park and Harbour Point Common.

“I grabbed my binoculars to take a closer look and noticed there was a leg attached with a sneaker on it. That precipitated 9-1-1 immediately,” said Graham.

Buffalo Police responded to Graham’s call at approximately 10:45 a.m. Homicide investigators and the police department’s underwater recovery team pulled a fairly complete set of skeletal remains from the water. Graham said there were shorts and a sneaker still attached to the body, and that a skull was recovered after a search of the water nearby.

Captain Joseph Gramaglia of the Buffalo Police Department’s Site Investigative Services team confirmed the remains were human. He said it was clear they had been in the water for “a considerable amount of time.” Divers continued looking for any other potential evidence at the scene.

“We’re actively looking, at this time, with our sex offense squad who handles missing persons, to see who might be missing that might fit some evidence that we’ve already recovered,” said Gramaglia.

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Credit Avery Schneider / WBFO News
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WBFO News
Andrew Graham and neighbors at Harbour Pointe Common look on as investigators search the water for additional evidence.

An autopsy will be conducted by medical examiners on Saturday. Gramaglia said until it’s complete, there’s no way of determining any further details.

Residents of the condos on Harbour Pointe Common said the tucked away neighborhood is normally quiet. A few reported that the only out-of-the-ordinary events until now have been some recent late-night bicycle thefts.

Gramaglia said the beach at Harbour Pointe Common receives a lot of debris due to the current from Lake Erie and the Buffalo River.

“It gets cleaned up,” said Gramaglia. “It was last cleaned up in the spring by the city.”

Graham confirmed that debris washes up on the beach throughout the year, including rare instances of deer or dog bodies washing up. He said in his 28 years living at Harbour Pointe Common, this is the first time a human body has washed ashore.

“This person could have come from Sandusky,” said Graham. “We’re at the downstream end of a very large watershed. He is not a victim from this site, for sure.”

Graham was confident in his assessment, and said the discovery of the remains doesn’t startle him.

“I guess I’d be more surprised that we haven’t seen more, given the number of folks out there that never were recovered.”

Anyone with information is asked to call or text the Buffalo Police Confidential TIPCALL Line at ( 716 ) 847-2255.