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Juneau police: Debris removal in Gastineau Channel uncovers human leg

The Juneau Police Department said Fish and Game officials pulled a human leg out of the Gastineau Channel Monday while removing debris near the Sandy Beach area.

It was shortly before 5 p.m. when workers with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game were conducting the debris removal.

Juneau police Lt. David Campbell said in a phone interview that the workers were pulling what he described as a grappling hook across the floor of the channel.

"The dredging activities pulled a human leg and boot out of the channel," Juneau police said in a Tuesday statement.

Campbell said the limb was severed right below the knee and included the foot. He said the boot was of the typical Southeast Alaska variety but he declined to give the brand, citing an ongoing investigation.

After the discovery, Fish and Game put a halt on their job. A Juneau officer responded and took the human remains, which were sent to the State Medical Examiner Office for identification.

The condition of the leg made it difficult to determine who it might have belonged to, or how long the leg might have been in the water, police said.

"It was in very poor condition," Campbell said. "It had quite a bit of water damage. It could have been out there a few months, or it may have been much longer."

A detective has been assigned to the case, Campbell said, and they are currently figuring out logistics for further inspecting the area where the leg was discovered.

If the medical examiner at the state lab cannot identify the owner of the leg, the limb will need to be sent outside Alaska for a DNA analysis, a much longer process, Campbell said.