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Police: Man's remains were buried in North Collins woods for at least 10 years

Investigators on Sunday completed the recovery of human remains found Saturday in a wooded area near a town park in North Collins and officials released more details about the unusual case.

The Erie County Sheriff's Office on Sunday said the remains appear to be that of a man and have been at the site for at least 10 years. A pair of hikers found the remains in a wooded area near the Marion J. Fricano Town Park, which sits off Gowanda State Road just south of the Village of North Collins.

The hikers noticed what appeared to be human remains sticking above the dirt line and called 911 at 11:10 a.m. Saturday, said Scott Zylka, a Sheriff's Office spokesman.

Deputy Gary Mosier responded and found a boot. He confirmed the discovery of a human skeleton, prompting the office to send out detectives and members of its Crime Scene Investigation Unit. In addition, representatives of the Erie County Medical Examiner's Office and an anthropology team from Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pa., were called.

The excavation of the scene was done with care over more than a day to ensure that anything relevant to the investigation was preserved, Zylka said.

"It is extremely methodical and painstaking work," Zylka said. "A scoop of dirt at a time."

Zylka said the Erie County Medical Examiner's Office took custody of the remains.

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