On Feb. 27, 2015, over a dozen people sifted through the silty floor of a cavern on the outskirts of Dubois Idaho. Their objective; locate a head that's been missing for almost 40 years. On Aug. 26, 1979, a group of artifact hunters found more than bison bones when digging in the Civil Defense Cave about a quarter-mile north of downtown Dubois.
Approximately 212 feet from the mouth of the cave, they unearthed a burlap-wrapped package resting in a shallow grave. Inside they discovered the dismembered torso of a man believed to be murdered. Twelve years later, another group uncovered severed arms and legs— buried less than two feet deep and wrapped in burlap — 121 feet from the mouth of the cave. The cave itself stretches about 450 feet deep with ceilings ranging in height from over six feet to less than 18 inches. Due to the dark, cold environment of the cave, the remains became mummified, making the date of death difficult to determine.
Now, Kyra Stull, Idaho State University professor of anthropology and forensic anthropologist, is working with the Clark County Sheriff's Department to unearth the head. Students and faculty members from her department travelled to Dubois to meet with the Sheriff. Using a FARO Focus 3D Lidar Scanner, Research Associate Nicholas Holmer of the Idaho Virtualiztion Laboratory, made digital maps of the cave that are accurate within millimeters. From there, Stull's team chose specific excavation sites based on previous research and began digging. Despite all of their efforts, the missing head has yet to be found.