Police in Sacramento launched a death investigation Wednesday after spotting a woman walking down the sidewalk with a human skull perched on a stick.
“There was a transient female walking down the 2900 block of Connie Drive. She actually had a skull in her possession," Sacramento police Sgt. Bryce Heinlein told KTLA sister station KTXL.
Officers confronted the woman at an abandoned house on Connie Drive where their investigation began, the Sacramento-area television station reported.
“A call like this is not something that happens every day. We hope we can get down to the bottom of what caused this person to become deceased," Heinlein said. “She brought the officers to the area where she located the skull."
Police found the human remains at an abandoned homeless encampment a couple blocks away.
Detectives, officers and crime scene technicians spent several hours between Wednesday afternoon and Thursday combing the area for clues.
“When officers got out there, they located a decomposed body," Heinlein added.
Philip, a neighbor, lives in a house next to the encampment where he says the homeless woman he called “Victoria” has lived for years. He pointed to the exact location where the body was discovered, a few feet from her stuff.
Another neighbor, named Warren, also has a home next to the encampment. He smelled something foul, thinking it was a dead cat.
“It made me sick to my stomach, so I turned ... and came back here,” he said.
The coroner will determine the person's sex, identification and cause of death.