Many people in the small town of Dixon and the surrounding areas were stunned to hear about a shocking discovery along the side of a main highway.
"It's just one of those things you would hope would never hope happens this close to home," says Frank, a Pulaski County Resident.
A citizen looking to take in scenes of fall foliage found much more on her walk through town and immediately alerted authorities.
"We had a local photographer that made a grim discovery in the woods. This individual made a stop by the roadway to photograph some trees and in the process she discovered some human remains that were just off of Highway 28."
The remains were located about 30 feet back from the road. Although police don't know if it was an accidental death or a homicide, they say clues found at the scene could be very telling as the investigation progresses.
"Hunters should not have been on property but we did find evidence that there's been a hunter on the property. In addition to the remains there has been other pieces of evidence that have been discovered."
The sheriff went on to say hypothetically, if the other evidence turns out to be clothing, that could shed some light on what season it was and possibly the gender of the deceased person.
At this time the sex, age and ethnicity of the deceased are unknown. And piecing this information together could take longer because of the amount of time that's passed since the person died.
"As of this time about the only thing we can release is that the remains were that of an adolescent pre-teenager and we are assuming the remains have been deceased for about one year at this time."
And as the community waits for answers, some say they're comforted by faith during this difficult time.
"I pray for the people [involved] and if it's more than an accident, well I pray for whoever lost their loved ones," said Frank.
Authorities sent the remains to St. Louis University for forensic tests. An anthropologist is also helping with the investigation.