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Human remains have been found on the bank of the drought-shrunken Mississippi River

By David Williams and Caroll Alvarado, CNN

A woman looking for rocks along the banks of the drought-stricken Mississippi River over the weekend discovered bones that turned out to be human, local officials said.

The remains include a lower jawbone, rib bones and some unidentified bone pieces, Coahoma County, Mississippi, Chief Medical Examiner Scotty Meredith told CNN.

The bones will be sent to the state crime lab for further analysis, Meredith said. Investigators will try to extract DNA from the remains so they can compare it to missing persons cases, he said.

Crystal Foster told CNN affiliate WMC that she found the bones on Saturday while looking for rocks with her family near Clarksdale, Mississippi — about 80 miles southwest of Memphis, Tennessee.

They often look around the river banks and the water levels are particularly low right now, she said.

Foster said she and her family recognized the bones as possibly human and contacted the Coahoma County Sheriff’s Office.

“I just hope that the MBI (Mississippi Bureau of Investigation) works quickly on this case and is able to identify the victim to the dental records at the very least so that way their family can get closure because that would bring me some peace at least,” Foster told WMC.

Meredith said they still don’t know how long the bones have been there. “We’ll know more about it once the anthropologist looks at it,” he said.

The Mississippi River is at record lows, with dozens of river gauges reporting low water levels, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

A Baton Rouge, Louisiana, resident hunting for artifacts in the river recently found the wreck of a 19th-century ship, CNN affiliate WBRZ reported.

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CNN’s Theresa Waldrop contributed to this report.

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