UPDATE: Evidence recovered from barrel containing a burned bone in OC
Authorities have identified the bone that was found in a barrel earlier this week in West Ocean City.
On Thursday, the Worcester County Sheriff's Office posted to Twitter stating that the bone found at Homer Gudelsky Park on Tuesday morning was an animal's bone.
Worcester County Sheriff's Office full tweet below:
After a dive team successfully located a barrel containing a burned bone and several other items off the shore of Stinky Beach in West Ocean City Wednesday, they had to make a tough decision, and leave it behind.
A family found the barrel-like object while swimming in the water Tuesday morning.
We're told that family left the barrel-like object in the water, because it was deteriorating and it was too heavy to pick up.
Authorities arrived on scene at 10:30 AM Tuesday and immediately called in a dive team, but finding and recovering the object became a challenge due to high tide and low visibility, so they had to call off the effort Tuesday night.
For about 24 hours, the barrel was nowhere to be found, but the Worcester County Sheriff's Office said they never lost the barrel, they simply couldn't get to it due to poor conditions.
Lt. Schreier said, "We knew exactly the area it was in but when the water was that deep visibility was only a foot or less, when you put a diver back in there, even when we knew exactly where it was, it's not that easy to find, especially with the tide coming back in to cover it back over."
After the dive team finally located the barrel Wednesday morning, they ran into more problems.
The biggest problem they faced was figuring out how to get the barrel out of the water without destroying it entirely.
Lieutenant Ed Schreier with the Worcester County Sheriff's Office said, "They're working very slowly and methodically to get this thing out."
The goal was to get the barrel out in one piece so they could send it off to the medical examiners office for further examination, but that was made impossible due to the fact that the barrel was quickly deteriorating.
Lt. Schreier said, "It's deeply seated in the sand and they're describing it more as a barrel, not a box. Might be like what could be considered as an old whiskey barrel and it's very deteriorated and it's falling apart, we're pulling pieces of it out right now."
Police ended up taking all of the remaining contents out of the barrel for further examination and they decided to leave the barrel behind in the sand.
Lt. Schreier said, "Yesterday we found shoes, bits and pieces of shoes, bottles like pottery bottles and glass bottles and that's about it, and a bone we did find a bone but we don't know what it is yet."
We're told the only remaining contents of the barrel found today were sand, clams, and muscles.
The suspected bone found Tuesday was sent to the Medical Examiner's Office for identification.
Police say the next step will be to determine whether the bone found is that of a human or an animal.
If human, a criminal investigation will be launched.