As forensic examinations continue on the body parts discovered buried in a back garden in Chaves police are still uncertain whether they are dealing with the remains of a man, or a woman, reports Correio da Manhã today.
The fact that the foot first discovered by builders – alerted by a dog – is small has led investigators to consider that the body could indeed be that of a woman.
But the foot and other parts since carefully removed from the earth have been in such advanced stages of decomposition that it has been difficult to conclude anything other than the fact that the body is that of an adult who has been dead for “several months”.
The macabre find came to light on Wednesday evening, in a back garden adjoining a building site.
Since that time, forensic experts have been sifting through the earth discovering other body parts with the use of geo-radar, says the paper.
For the time being, no age has been suggested for the victim.
It is not even certain whether this is a case of homicide, adds CM.
The next stage of the investigation depends on “exams to be undertaken at the Institute of Legal Medicine”.
These should be able to determine the cause of death, and may help police discover who the victim was.
CM adds that there have been no reports of any disappearances in the area.
The owner of the house – who yesterday CM described as Spanish and non-resident in the country – is today said to be “surprised by the discovery”, guaranteeing that he knew nothing about it.
TVI24 has carried a slightly different story – describing the owner of the house as Portuguese who had been living in Spain for a year, but who is now back, resident in Chaves.
José dos Anjos told TVI24 that it was his own animal who found the foot, when he was taking her out for a walk, and that police have since questioned and released him.
TVI24 talked about “the body of a woman”, whereas reports elsewhere simply refer to body parts.
CM added a touch of drama, saying the parts had most likely been buried “warm” which would have been a contributory factor to the state of decomposition.
Confirmation is thus awaiting the results from legal examiners in the town’s mortuary.