A decapitated body was reportedly found near an Illinois middle school Tuesday, perhaps the result of a pipe bomb explosion.

A man walking his dog near Nichols Middle School in Evanston discovered the body at about 5:15 a.m., a witness told the Chicago Tribune. Evanston police officials did not immediately return a message seeking comment for further information.

The man who found the body said his dog led him to the remains of a shirtless man whose head was missing and legs were folded behind him. A shopping bag was found nearby and a strong odor of what was believed to be gunpowder was present.

"I thought my dog was chasing a rabbit, but when I got close it was a body without a head," he told the newspaper. "There was a weird smell in the air. I wasn't expecting what I saw."

The body was near tennis courts -- between a fence and a pine tree -- he said.

Police later discovered what appeared to be an explosive device near the body at about 8:40 a.m., WGN reported, and some residents were evacuated from their homes.

A statement on the school's website said the school would be closed on Tuesday due to an "unforeseen police emergency."  Additional information will be posted later in the day, according to the statement.

A spokesman at the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office told FoxNews.com that officials had been notified of the death and were responding to the scene.

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