SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- It was a ghoulish sight, but this was no Halloween decoration as police in California launched a death investigation after spotting a woman walking down the sidewalk with a skull perched on a stick.
“There was a transient female walking down the 2900 block of Connie Drive. She actually had a skull in her possession," Sacramento police Sgt. Bryce Heinlein told KTXL.
Officers confronted the woman at an abandoned house where their investigation began.
“A call like this is not something that happens every day. We hope we can get down to the bottom of what caused this person to become deceased," Heinlein said. “She brought the officers to the area where she located the skull."
Police found the human remains at an abandoned homeless encampment a couple blocks away.
Detectives, officers and crime scene technicians spent several hours between Wednesday afternoon and Thursday combing the area for clues.
“When officers got out there, they located a decomposed body," Heinlein said.
Philip lives in a house next to the encampment where he says the homeless woman he called “Victoria” has lived for years. He pointed to the exact location where the body was discovered, a few feet from her stuff.
“Right there. Right past those bushes you see. … To the right, right back there," Philip said.
Warren’s house is also next to the encampment. He smelled something foul, thinking it was a dead cat.
“I went to walk back there and thought, damn. What the hell is that smell? It make me sick to my stomach, so I turned ... and came back here,” he said.
“Twenty cop cars out here. And the cops got her out there. And they’re taking pictures of her holding a head. Then they get her hands and CSI showing up," Philip said.
The coroner will determine the sex, ID and cause of death.