WAITSBURG -- Authorities are investigating a human skull that was discovered by two hikers in the Umatilla National Forest earlier this month.
According to Walla Walla County Coroner Richard Greenwood, the hikers found the skull in the Deduct Pond area, off Tiger Canyon Road in Oregon.
The hikers may have initially thought the skull belonged to a Sasquatch, Greenwood said.
"They had actually taken it to somebody who is supposed to be a Sasquatch expert and he handed it back and said it looked human to him," Greenwood said.
One of the hikers, a Waitsburg resident, then informed the Walla Walla County Sheriff's Office about the discovery.
Deputies recovered the skull this weekend, then turned it over to the coroner and alerted Oregon State Police of the case.
Troopers recovered the skull from the coroner earlier this week.
Members of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation were notified of the discovery, as was the Umatilla County Sheriff's Office.
Greenwood said the Umatilla County Sheriff's Office reports having at least three different unsolved missing-person cases that may fit within the vicinity of where the skull was found.
The investigation was taken over by officers with the National Forest Service, who declined to comment due to the case being an open investigation.
Alfred Diaz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 526-8325.