ROME, Ga. — A Georgia man and an estate sale manager clearing out his grandfather’s house in Rome came upon an unusual discovery — a human skull.

Ashley Norris says his grandfather owned a drug store in the 1950s, and the skull was found in a cabinet with display items such as old clocks with Coca-Cola signs on them.

Norris said he was going to throw it out, but the real estate agent listing the home came by that day and found it intriguing. Trinie Davis took it back to her office and had it about a month before questions were raised.

“I didn’t realize it was real,” Davis told The Rome News-Tribune (

“I just had it in different places,” Davis said. “It took someone coming in to say ‘that is real,’ and we called the police.”

But who the skull belonged to — and the circumstances surrounding the death — remained a mystery.

One theory: A crypt at a local cemetery had been vandalized several years ago.

“One of the officers remembered a report of a crypt at Myrtle Hill being vandalized in 2003 and the skull was missing,” Rome police Capt. Roy Willingham said. “Now the challenge is to see if we can get with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation or somebody to see if we can match it.”

The skull gave no indication the person died an unnatural death, Willingham added.

The house on East Fourth Street has been vacant since at least 1990. It was cleaned out for an estate sale in August and is being refurbished. Davis said it recently sold.

In the 2003 cemetery vandalism, which was never solved, someone used a brick to break open the marble doors of a vault at the cemetery and disturbed the casket. The lining was pulled out, the bones were scattered and the skull was missing.

Willingham said he expected to meet with cemetery director Stan Rogers to go over the files for that vault to determine the next of kin.

Meanwhile, he said he showed the skull to Coroner Barry Henderson and both of them think it’s that of a woman. That is in keeping with the 2003 report, so he said there’s a good chance DNA analysis will show a match.

“That’s my theory right now,” Willingham told the Rome newspaper.

Information from: Rome News-Tribune,

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