Six years ago, a mystery washed up on the shores of Mona Vale Beach, an idyllic spot in Sydney, Australia. A skull had appeared on the shores of the beach, attracting all kinds of police attention and scientific research. Was it a case of homicide, or had something innocent occurred? After years of debate and testing, as well as some other serendipitous events, the results were in: the remains were over one thousand years old and had belonged to a toddler aged between three and five.
The grisly discovery was augmented by the mysterious appearance of a jawbone in the surf off Mona Vale Beach just a few weeks ago. Now, authorities have confirmed the age of the skeletal remains and have identified the probable place of origin (ethnically speaking).
Forensic scientists from the New South Wales (NSW) Health Pathology clinical service helped test the bones using a modern carbon dating procedure. The results showed that initial tests had missed the mark by a few hundred years, pointing to existence between 1200 CE and 1400 CE. The bones were also identified as not being Aboriginal, with scientists indicating that the toddler was likely a girl of Asian or Pacific origin.
Since then, several theories have emerged, all attempting to explain the curious appearance of a set of pristine bones on a beach in suburban Sydney. One suggests that it could have been a skeleton used by medical students, but the absence of screw holes and other tell-tale signs of handling suggest something else. Another theory is centred on the idea that the body floated in the seas for a thousand years or more, an assertion rebuffed by scientists and punters alike.
Northern Beaches Looking After Children Crime Manager (LAC), Detective Inspector Craig Wonders has notified the public that no one has yet stepped forward to claim the remains or to report a missing scientific specimen. For now, it seems the investigation will continue into the foreseeable future. But for local residents and international followers the mystery persists, offering little in the way of details and a solution. In the end, we may never know exactly what happened to that little girl a thousand years ago.
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