Award-winning student news since 1978

The Brookhaven Courier

Award-winning student news since 1978

The Brookhaven Courier

Award-winning student news since 1978

The Brookhaven Courier

Police rule on found skull

Remains found near the BHC jogging trail summer 2012 have now been identified

By Maddox Price




Farmers Branch resident Arturo Alfredo Saucedo Morales set off to walk his Chihuahuas, Kiko and Benjamin, when he came upon an item he was not accustomed to seeing during his routine walks near the Brookhaven College jogging trail.

“After going deep into the woods, I was startled at the sight of a skull,” Morales said, according to the incident report obtained from the Farmers Branch Police Department, as translated by his son, former Brookhaven student Daniel Saucedo.

On July 8, 2012, a human skull was found in a wood­ed area near the jogging trail at Brookhaven. Upon fur­ther investigation and DNA research, led by Dallas County Medical Examiner Dr. William McClain, the skull was posi­tively identified as 54-year-old Young Chul Kim.

John Klingensmith, Chief of Brookhaven College Police Department, said, “[He] com­mitted suicide in the dense north 40 area by hanging him­self from a tree limb using a makeshift noose. The area is dense year-round and not vis­ible from the jogging trail or Marsh Lane.”

Morales said he uses the trail almost every day and keeps his slingshot handy in case of coyotes. On that day, Morales said, his dog had been bitten by what he believed to be a coyote. He said he wanted to investigate why the coyotes had been acting so territorial, so he journeyed off the path.

After finding the skull, Morales called his son, former Brookhaven student Arturo Buena, according to Buena’s witness testimony. “I didn’t think it was right for the skull to lie there and be picked at by the coyotes,” Morales said in an interview (as translated by Courier staff).

In the witness statement, Buena said he and his brother Eliazar drove with their broth­er, Daniel, to the Brookhaven campus.

When they looked at the skull, they called Brookhaven police using the emergency call box on the trail.

At 7:08 p.m. that same day, Brookhaven Police Sergeant Tom Butler and officer Jesus Guzman responded to the call. According to Butler’s state­ment, he found Eliazar and Daniel near the call box and followed them into the wood­ed area where Morales Sr. was waiting. “I did observe an object which appeared to be a human skull,” Butler said in the collected testimony. He and Guzman contacted the Farmers Branch Police Department and taped off the location.

According to the testimony, Farmers Branch Police Officer Warren Williamson entered the scene and observed the skull. Detective David Barnett was called to investigate. He walked between 75 and 100 yards back into brush where the skull was found, according to Barnett’s incident report. After finding the skull, he called Crystal Smith at the Dallas County medical exam­iner’s office.

When Smith arrived, she confirmed that it was a human skull but did not know how long it had been there, accord­ing to Butler’s statement. Due to lack of light and dense terrain, the investigation was postponed until the next day.

According to Barnett’s report, a K-9 and Search One Rescue Team continued the search. At 11:39 a.m. July 9, the search team located the remain­der of the body along with cloth­ing and an LG cell phone. “The bones were lying underneath a tree with a red rope hung above it with a noose knot hanging down,” Barnett said in the report. No identification was recovered from the scene.

Subsequently, on July 9, 2012, at the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences of Dallas’ Office of the Medical Examiner, McClain evaluated the “sun-bleached skull” minus its man­dible, according to the autopsy.

Results revealed “no evidence of traumatic injuries seen exter­nally.” Additionally, the autopsy showed no visible perimortem injuries, but due to missing teeth and mandible, “trauma involving these missing elements cannot be ruled out.”

According to the autopsy, DNA was used in comparison with Kim’s sibling for a positive identification Feb. 12, 2013.

In McClain’s conclusion he reported, “It is in my opinion that the descendant … died of causes that cannot be determined with certainty.” However, he said in the autopsy report, based on the circumstances in which the body was discovered, it is likely he hanged himself. Officially, the manner of death remains unde­termined. Klingensmith also said the victim has no known connec­tion with the Brookhaven cam­pus.

Klingensmith said the remains were in the wooded area for an unknown amount of time and the BHPD had some of the brush trimmed back for future visibil­ity. “Some of the trees have been trimmed back, but it is just too dense to go too far inside, and it also would take away from the aesthetics of this area should we cut down too far inward,” Klingensmith said.

Brookhaven President Dr. Thom Chesney said he appreci­ates the cooperation of the inter-local police departments from the initial finding to the conclusion of the case.

Editor’s Note: Courier staff received multiple requests for an update on this story. Due to an ongoing investigation and DNA results, the update was pushed back until now.

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