Newton County Sheriff’s Office investigating after human remains found at Joplin campground

Human scalp found at Holly Haven Campground

NEWTON COUNTY, Mo. – The Newton County Sheriff’s Office is investigating after a human scalp and hair were found at the Holly Haven campground in Joplin.

On Saturday (June 20th), the sheriff’s office got a call from the owners, saying they found what appeared to be part of a scalp.

The sheriff’s office confirmed that, had cadaver dogs check the area, and got a hit on a nearby pond.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol Dive Team searched the pond but didn’t find anything. So, they don’t believe the remains were originally at the campground.

“We had nothing to tie it to the water other than the cadaver dogs indicated they thought there was something in the water. But it was checked and there was not. The item itself was dry,” says Newton County Sheriff Chris Jennings. “It could have been packed by an animal, which is really common on body parts like that for animals to pack off parts.”

The sheriff’s office plans to send the remains to a lab for DNA testing, but they are currently looking for the right lab to send it to.

“We’re trying to get the Missouri Crime Lab to do it. They’re not really sure they’re gonna be able to do it this time. We’ve contacted the University of Texas, don’t believe they’re gonna be able to do it,” says Jennings. “So, we’re still looking for the correct place to take it for sampling.”

Jenning says after they are sent to a lab, his office might release a description of the hair.

“We will probably put out a description of the hair to see if that may mention anything that anybody knew. It’s fairly unique. So at some point we may put out a description. I’d rather it go through the lab first,” says Jennings.