Jasper Police Chief Connie Rowe said a renter in the South Lowell community went into the crawl space beneath his home Sunday morning to check the duct work on the air conditioning system but found more than he bargained for.
“The gentleman said he was only 10 feet from the opening of the crawl space when he discovered what appeared to be a skull of some type,” Rowe said. “He slowly turned the skull over and it appeared to be a human skull. He could make out the eye socket, but it was missing the lower jaw.”
Rowe said the man immediately notified authorities. Jasper Police were on the scene for several hours, but the only thing they were able to recover Sunday was the skull.
“We will be sending the skull to the State of Alabama Department of Forensic Science to see if DNA can be extracted,” Rowe said. “A thorough search was made of the crawl space, but it did not reveal any other human bones.”
Rowe said the dirt in the crawl space was very hard-packed and the department is looking into several options in an effort to search the area more efficiently, including requesting the use of earth-penetrating sonar equipment owned by the Alabama Bureau of Investigation and bringing in a cadaver K-9 Team.
Rowe said JPD has a missing persons report on file from a man named Henry Cobb regarding the possible disappearance of his 104-year-old mother, Mary Cobb, and his 83-year-old sister, Wynona Delvecchio.
“The two ladies had reportedly been living in a nursing home, but the residence where the skull was discovered Sunday is believed to be the permanent residence of the two women around the time they are believed to have disappeared,” Rowe said.
Rowe said some Jasper Police detectives who were on the scene of Sunday’s discovery said evidence found at the scene in 2005 suggested that the two women were no longer residing in Walker County but may be living in West Virginia.
“The detectives also told me that at some point another individual had been charged with fraud in connection with some financial matters regarding one or both of the missing women,” Rowe said. “As a result of Sunday’s discovery, the detective division of the Jasper Police Department will be reopening the cold case file regarding the disappearance of Mrs. Cobb and her daughter, Ms. Delvecchio.”