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Monday, March 25, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Idaho

Remains of a human arm found along Salmon River

Anglers fish the Salmon River, north of Riggins, Idaho, Oct. 14, 2013, is search of prized steelhead. (Pete Zimowsky / Idaho Statesman)
Anglers fish the Salmon River, north of Riggins, Idaho, Oct. 14, 2013, is search of prized steelhead. (Pete Zimowsky / Idaho Statesman)
By Kathy Hedberg Lewiston Tribune

GRANGEVILLE – A skeletal human arm was recovered along the Salmon River, and Idaho County officials are hoping to identify it.

Detective Jerry Johnson of the Idaho County Sheriff’s Office said Monday the arm was recovered last Tuesday by Idaho Fish and Game conservation officers who were checking a fisherman about a quarter mile from the Rice Creek bridge southwest of Cottonwood.

Johnson said very little tissue remained on the bone, but it appears to be part of a human forearm extending from the shoulder to the knuckles.

“It was located in some brush along the river about the high-water mark,” Johnson said. “We’re not sure if it was deposited during this high water or a previous year. It seemed like some bleaching on one of the bones may have been there since last spring’s high water.”

Johnson said the remains were located about a half to three-quarters of a mile from where the partial skeletal remains of Cayla Danenberg, 20, were recovered last fall.

Danenberg disappeared into the Salmon River in May 2016 as she and 21-year-old Tiffany Maupin were driving north on U.S. Highway 95 to return to the University of Idaho, where they were students. Maupin’s body was found shortly after the accident. Johnson said Danenberg’s torso and cranium were recovered in October, but not the spine or either arm.

There are two other people, however, who have disappeared in or near the Salmon River.

John Randall French, 54, of Boise, has been missing since he failed to return home from a Riggins fishing trip July 1. French’s vehicle was found in the Salmon River near milepost 201 at Fiddle Creek, along U.S. Highway 95.

And authorities also are considering the April 15 disappearance of Shawnta L. Pankey, 25, of Grangeville. Pankey was reportedly last seen along Pine Bar, where she had been camping with her boyfriend, Edward M. Mills, of Grangeville.

“These remains that were recovered appear to look about the same age of Cayla, so I think we’re working under the initial premise this is probably more remains of Cayla Danenberg,” Johnson said.

The remains were sent to the University of Texas Center for Human Identification Monday, and it likely will be a month before any results can be confirmed.

Johnson said the families of Danenberg, French and Pankey have been notified of the discovery.

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