yakima county sheriffs office standing

FILE — A Yakima County Sheriff’s Office patrol vehicle is pictured in this file photo shot June 5, 2018.

TOPPENISH — Yakima County sheriff’s detectives are investigating a possible homicide near Toppenish.

Deputies, Yakama Nation tribal police and the FBI were called to the 64000 block of U.S. Highway 97 around 4:20 p.m. Thursday after two homeless men found human remains in an unplugged freezer, said sheriff’s spokesman Casey Schilperoort.

“We’re treating it as a homicide until we know different,” Schilperoort said. “People normally just don’t put bodies into freezers.”

It is the 18th homicide reported in Yakima County this year.

Federal and tribal officers were called in because the remains were found within the Yakama Nation, Schilperoort said.

The remains were found in an area where garbage is frequently dumped, Schilperoort said. Due to the condition of the remains, authorities do not know a possible cause of death at this time or the sex of the person, Schilperoort said.

A forensic pathologist will examine the remains Tuesday, Yakima County Coroner Jim Curtice said.

Reach Donald W. Meyers at dmeyers@yakimaherald.com or on Twitter: donaldwmeyers, or https://www.facebook.com/donaldwmeyersjournalist/