Detectives investigating allegations of abuse at a former Jersey children’s home have unearthed more bone fragments and another child’s tooth, police on the island said today.
The remains were discovered over the weekend by experts during a sieving operation in one of the underground chambers at Haut de la Garenne.
Last week, police said an earlier find of teeth and chard human bone parts pointed towards homicide, with the remains possibly cremated in a nearby fireplace.
The latest development brings the number of milk teeth found in the cellar to eight.
Earlier tests on five teeth revealed two different sources, raising the prospect that more than one child could have been killed in the underground chamber or nearby.
Speaking last week, deputy chief officer Lenny Harper, who is in charge of the investigation, said of the six teeth to have already undergone forensic tests, five would not have been able to be dislodged naturally.
“Only one shows signs of decay. The rest have so much root attached they could not have come out naturally before death,” he said.
The new bone fragments discovered in the cellar will add to the 30 pieces already collected by detectives in the case.
Of those some had been cut while others were burnt, suggesting that a homicide could have taken place at the former children’s home.
Mr Harper said last week: “A lot of bones appear to have some degree of burning to them, a number were found in and around where we believe was a fireplace in the cellar area.”
Tests to age the suspected victims have so far been inconclusive, with estimates ranging from pre-Second World War to as recently as the 1970s and 1980s, police said.
But if it emerged that they were from the 1950s onwards, officers would launch a homicide inquiry, Mr Harper has indicated.
The latest discovery comes two weeks after it emerged fragments of a “skull” which initially sparked the search at Haut de la Garenne was now believed to be a piece of wood or coconut shell.
Police on the island today rejected claims that they “sensationalised” this original find.
“We have continually stated that we had no evidence of murder or homicide but that in the circumstances we would have to treat the scene as a potential homicide scene,” a statement from Jersey Police read.