Jersey, England, police have discovered the partial remains of at least five children at Haut de la Garenne, the former children’s home at the center of the island’s child abuse investigation.
However, the grim discoveries of the bone fragments — believed to have come from kids aged between 4 and 11 — may not result in a murder inquiry because experts have been unable to pinpoint when the children died, the detective leading the investigation has admitted.
Police are looking into around 97 allegations of abuse in Jersey dating back to the early 1960s and have said there are more than 100 suspects.
Deputy Chief Officer Lenny Harper, from States of Jersey Police, told BBC Radio 4's Today program that there are difficulties dating teeth and bone fragments from the children.
“At the end of the day there may not be the evidence there to mount a homicide inquiry and an attempt to bring anybody to justice for whatever crimes took place there,” he said.
Police had evidence that the bodies were burned and attempts were made to conceal the bodies in the late 60s to early 70s, he added.
To date, police have recovered a total of 65 milk teeth from the cellars at Haut de la Garenne. Experts believe the teeth could only have come out after death because of their condition.
In total, more than 100 human bone fragments have also been found at the site, with one piece identified as coming from a child’s leg and another from a child’s ear.
Tests showed some fragments were cut while others were burnt, suggesting that murders had taken place and the victims’ bodies had possibly been cremated in a fireplace.
The children's home had in recent years been used as a youth hostel for travellers, but has subsequently been closed down.