Human skull uncovered during Earth Day cleanup

PENNSAUKEN, N.J. (AP) — An Earth Day effort to clean up a trash-ridden New Jersey river took a grisly turn when a volunteer uncovered a human skull.

Volunteers on Saturday were cleaning up the Cooper River in Pennsauken Township, across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, when one of them reached for what he thought was a white milk jug but turned out to be an intact human skull, according to Kelly Offner, cleanup program coordinator with outdoor apparel company United by Blue.

"It was certainly one of the weirdest (things) we ever found," Offner said.

The volunteer who found the skull was knee-deep in mud in the tidal river when it was found, said Offner, who was also there. Volunteers marked the site by putting a glove on top of a stick nearby and called the police, she said.

Pennsauken Township Police and the Camden County Prosecutor's Office taped off the area and asked people to stay away, Offner said.

The Camden County Prosecutor's Office confirmed the remains were human and says an investigation is underway but declined to give other details.

United by Blue cleans up a pound of trash for every item it sells, Offner said, and weird items are usually limited to tractor tires, some clothing and once a medical bracelet from the 1970s. On Saturday, volunteers recovered about 5 tons of trash, she said.

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