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Spinal Cord and More Unearthed in Delray Beach Backyard

Twenty-two-year-old Alayna Lakatos admits that the backyard of her house on Seventh Avenue in Delray Beach needs landscaping. There's hardly any grass. She moved in last month with two roommates, but on Saturday, January 25, her roommate's dog, Otis, a German Shepherd-Lab mix, was outside working in the yard.

When he trotted over to Lakatos that afternoon, he had a bone in his mouth, and it wasn't the type sold at Petco. Forensics would later identify it as a femur. Soon, she found a bunch of other bones, including a severed spinal cord.The recent rains probably brought them to the surface, Lakatos says.

"We weren't sure if they were human or dog bones," Lakatos remembers. "We felt the right thing to do was call the police, and we did." Shortly after her phone call, two uniformed Delray Beach officers arrived and went poking around in the dirt. They found even more bones. Crime scene investigators were called. They bagged the remains and sent them to forensics for analysis.

"Forensics said it looked too big to be a dog but it could be a child or petite person," Lakatos says." And forensics said they were cut and really, really old."

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Jess Swanson is a staff writer at New Times. Born and raised in Miami, she graduated from the University of Miami’s School of Communication and wrote briefly for the student newspaper until realizing her true calling: pissing off fraternity brothers by reporting about their parties on her crime blog. Especially gifted in jumping rope and solving Rubik’s cubes, she also holds the title for longest stint as an unpaid intern in New Times history. She left the Magic City for New York to earn her master’s degree from Columbia University School of Journalism, where she spent a year profiling circumcised men who were trying to regrow their foreskins for a story that ultimately won the John Horgan Award for Critical Science Journalism. Terrified by pizza rats and arctic temperatures, she quickly returned to her natural habitat.
Contact: Jess Swanson

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