Clinton resident and picker John Norris poses for a photo with some of the items he found last year in a purchased storage unit. Inside the white sack are the remains of the skull. Photo by Justin Burnett

Clinton resident and picker John Norris poses for a photo with some of the items he found last year in a purchased storage unit. Inside the white sack are the remains of the skull. Photo by Justin Burnett

Storage unit skull deemed Native American

“Everywhere I go everyone asks me about the skull.”

A human skull that was found along with a jumble of stolen goods in a Whidbey Island storage unit was Native American, according to the Island County coroner.

Clinton resident John Norris said he was happy to finally get an answer to the mystery of the skull’s origin. It was a question on his mind ever since winning the bid in a storage unit auction at Waterman Self Storage on South Whidbey last fall.

Amongst the items purchased was the small, broken skull. The South Whidbey Record ran a story about the unusual find last October.

“Everywhere I go everyone asks me about the skull,” he said.

After finding it in a paper sack, Norris turned the skull over to Island County Coroner Robert Bishop, who sent it to the state’s forensic anthropologist. It was analyzed and found to be ancient Native American remains, so it was turned over to the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation for proper handling, according to Bishop.

Norris, a longtime “picker,” said he’s bid on many units over the years, but this was the first time he came across human remains.

“I found just about everything else,” he said. “You name it, it’s been in there. Things you don’t want to know.”

For this storage unit, he won with a $1,200 bid and discovered what seemed like a treasure trove of jewelry, memorabilia, guns, coins and antiques. It turned out, however, to be stolen items. Norris said the unit was used by “tweakers” who burglarized homes.

Norris speculated that the skull was taken during a burglary, but he will likely never know for sure what it was doing there.

Norris said he alerted police to the stolen goods and gave most of it — including a trumpet and antique glass decor — back to the owners.

________

This story was first published in the South Whidbey Record.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@bellevuereporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.bellevuereporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Northwest

T
King County’s unemployment rate lower than most of Washington

South King County has been slower to recover compared to North King County.

Seattle Children’s Hospital (Courtesy photo)
Seattle Children’s Hospital identifies racial disparities in infections, security response

The healthcare provider did not respond to multiple requests for data used to identify disparities.

File photo/Sound Publishing
Ban on single-use plastic bags in WA begins Oct. 1

Shoppers will have the choice to pay for a reusable plastic or recycled paper bag.

Courtesy Photo, Port of Seattle
Port of Seattle to require vaccinations for employees

2,200 workers must be vaccinated by Nov. 15

This is a screenshot that shows the pursuit of a stolen vehicle Sept. 1 on Interstate 5 in King County.
VIDEO: Auburn police let suspected vehicle thief go, citing new laws

State laws passed earlier this spring require police to have probable cause to engage in a pursuit.

Juanita High School student Ria Mahon. Courtesy photo
Student brings awareness to menstrual health among Puget Sound’s homeless

When Ria Mohan, a junior of Juanita High School in Kirkland, had… Continue reading

Matt Axe, the Wildfire and Forest Resiliency Coordinator with the King Conservation District, speaks to homeowner Anita Kissee-Wilder about fire reduction strategies at her home in North Bend on Aug. 24. Photo by Conor Wilson/Valley Record.
King County braces for more wildfires in rural areas

Firefighters have already responded to a number of large fires.

t
New data dashboard tracks COVID-19 risk for unvaccinated, vaccinated people

Information compiled by Public Health – Seattle & King County

This 2019 security footage at the Cenex gas station in Black Diamond shows Anthony Chilcott on his phone before entering, and driving off with, Carl Sanders’ Ford Raptor and Monkey, his poodle, in the front seat. Courtesy photo
Oversight office releases scathing report on King County Sheriff’s Office

Report analyzes 2019 killing of Anthony Chilcott by deputies.

Close-up hand using phone in night time on street. File photo
King County Council steps closer to establishing hate crime hotline

The program is aimed at reducing the number of unreported hate crimes.

A Link light rail train travels underneath the University of Washington during testing to open the new line to Northgate. COURTESY PHOTO, Sound Transit
Northgate Link light rail testing moves into final stages

Three new north Seattle stations opening Oct. 2