HUMPHREYS COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — A human heart has been found in a department of transportation road salt pile in Humphreys County, Tennessee, according to the county sheriff.

Sheriff Chris Davis said a worker found an “adult male human heart” on Thursday at the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) facility in McEwen.

“We are treating this as a crime scene. We are working very diligently to find or not find anything else at this location,” said Sheriff Davis.

Investigators with the sheriff’s office, McEwen Police Department and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation will be meeting with TDOT officials to conduct a wider search.

“At this time we don’t feel that anybody’s safety is in question,” said Sheriff Davis.

Sheriff Davis said they’re working to locate any other remains, “If there are any to be found.”

“We are searching the area where the item was found. It was found in the salt where the TDOT is preparing to attack the bad weather, severe weather conditions that we have,” said Sheriff Davis.

“At first they thought it was a rock,” he said. “The process of what salt does to that, it dries it out.”

TDOT facility where human heart was found (WKRN photo)
TDOT facility where human heart was found (WKRN photo)

“It’s speculated that it could have been there for just a few weeks,” Sheriff Davis further explained, adding that an exact time frame could be difficult to determine because of the dehydration process.

“I do want to reiterate that it was an adult male,” he said.

The heart was sent to the Medical Examiner’s Office in Nashville.

“TDOT’s on board working with us to try and find any kind of information about where the salt came from and when it came in,” he added.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation also released a statement on the investigation:

At the request of 23rd Judicial District Attorney General Ray Crouch, TBI special agents are working along with deputies with the Humphreys County Sheriff’s office, in investigating the discovery of a human heart in a TDOT salt facility in McEwen Thursday.  An initial examination of the heart determined that it was that of an adult male. Additional DNA testing will be performed to try to determine its origin. This remains an active and ongoing investigation.

– Susan Niland, TBI Spokesperson