A human arm found in a west suburban rail yard in February has been identified as belonging to a person who committed suicide last September in Wisconsin.
A train conductor noticed the arm Feb. 23 near a Union Pacific rail yard close to Grand Avenue and Rhodes Street in Leyden Township, Cook County sheriff’s spokeswoman Sophia Ansari said.
It included a left hand, a forearm and part of an upper arm in some sort of clothing, Ansari said.
Even though it was dehydrated and somewhat decomposed, investigators with the sheriff’s office were able to use post-mortem fingerprinting techniques to identify the person to whom it belonged.
Investigators rehydrated the pads of the fingers to obtain the fingerprints, then checked them with the state’s crime lab, Ansari said.
Authorities then discovered the individual had committed suicide by train last September in Kenosha County, Wis., further away on the same set of tracks that run though the Leyden Township rail yard, Ansari said.
“What we believe happened was after he was struck by the train the arm was lodged in the train or attached to the train,” Ansari said.
It may have gone unnoticed for so long because the area where it was found does not see much foot traffic, Ansari added. The remains are being returned to Wisconsin to be included with the rest of the body.
This isn’t the first such case investigated by the sheriff’s office. Investigators are also working to identify a portion of a human head found last August, also at the Union Pacific Rail Yard in Leyden Township, Ansari said.
Sheriff’s police, the Cook County medical examiner’s office and funeral directors have been able to reconstruct the face and came up with an image of what that person looked like. Authorities are still trying to identify the person in that unrelated case.