Mysterious Human Heart Found in Salt Stockpile. Police: "Most Bizarre."
Where did salt come from?
Workers preparing for bad weather in Tennessee found a human heart in a pile of salt, shocking experienced police officers and spurring officials to launch an investigation. The heart was discovered last Thursday at a state transportation department salt facility in McEwen, about 60 miles southwest of Nashville, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said.
"An initial examination of the heart determined that it was that of an adult male," the bureau said in a statement. "Additional DNA testing will be performed to try to determine its origin. This remains an active and ongoing investigation." Read on to find out how the organ was found and where the investigation goes from here.
"I've got 32 years in law enforcement. I do have to say this is probably in the top 5 of most bizarre things that I've ever seen," Chris Davis, the Humphreys County sheriff, told WSMV. "At this time we don't feel that anybody's safety is in question." He urged anyone who might have relevant information to come forward. "Somebody, somewhere knows and we're seeking information," he said. "I always reach out to the public if you happen to have any idea or just an inclination."
As workers retrieved salt from a barn, they discovered what they thought was a strangely shaped rock. The heart was likely there for some time, Davis told WSMV. "It was found in the salt where TDOT is preparing to attack the bad weather, severe weather conditions that we have," he said. "At first they thought it was a rock. The process of what salt does to that, it dries it out. It's speculated that it could have been there for just a few weeks."
Davis praised the transportation workers for acting on their intuition that something wasn't right and notifying law enforcement. "They did act out of suspicion and my hat's off to them," Davis said. "You know, they got to thinking and when they got that first inclination or doubt in their mind they made the right call." He added: "I'm very appreciative of that and hopefully when we can find the rest of the remains, then the family, I hope, will be thankful for that as well."
The state's transportation department is "fully cooperating with law enforcement as they continue their investigation," a spokesperson said Monday. They are trying to determine where the salt came from and when it was delivered to the facility. A search of the site had not turned up additional human remains as of Tuesday.
Citing witnesses, NewsChannel 5 Nashville reported that the dehydrated heart was about the size of a tennis ball. It appeared undamaged, as though it had been surgically removed. "A heart doesn't naturally leave the body as part of the decaying process so clearly there is some human involvement here. And the question is if it's criminal in nature," said Nick Leonardo, the station's legal analyst. The sheriff pledged a full investigation. "Everybody's somebody's somebody, and at the end of the day it would bother me if I laid down my head at night not knowing that we'd done everything we can for this person and this person's family," he said.