An investigation is underway after a human jawbone was found at Umina Beach on June 11.
Woy Woy resident Ms Toyah Evans, made the discovery while walking her dogs along the beach.
Ms Evans put the bone in a doggie bag before reporting it to Brisbane Water Police.
It was then sent to Newcastle Mortuary for examination where it was confirmed to be a human jawbone.
Police cordoned off the area the following day and a team of specialist police, including a cadaver dog, began scouring the beach for other possible remains.
Brisbane Water police district’s Chief Inspector Steve Laksa told media at the scene that it was too early to tell exactly how long the bone might have been on the beach, or where it came from, with the results of further forensic analysis critical to the investigation.
“The jawbone has been conveyed to Newcastle Forensic Medicine where further examination will be conducted to determine how old it is and its possible origins.
“We don’t know whether it’s 12 months old or 100 years old.
“There are indications that the jawbone has been exposed for a period of time and part of our investigations will include our missing persons registry.
“At this stage, nothing indicates that the location of the bone is suspicious but we’re just keeping an open mind in relation to the jawbone.
“The investigation will hinge on the forensic analysis to determine where the jawbone has come from,” he said.
Police are hoping dental records and DNA may shed some light on the investigation but, according to Chief Inspector Laksa, it could be weeks before results turn up any concrete leads.
“The jawbone could have potentially washed in from the ocean.
“It could have been unearthed or moved by a dog, but we are not sure.
“We’re just keeping an open mind.”
Police have urged beachgoers to be on the lookout for other bones.
Media release, 11 Jun 2020
NSW Police Media
Media conference, 12 Jun 2020
Steve Laksa, NSW Police