Mercury on bones prompts medical examiner’s office shutdown

Posted at 4:25 AM, Dec 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-20 23:32:15-05

LEESBURG, Fla. (AP) - A Florida medical examiner’s office has been shut down temporarily after mercury was discovered on human bones.

The Daily Commercial reports that the bones arrived at the Leesburg office Tuesday.

Chief forensic investigator Brett Harding says he noticed something shiny on the bones before suddenly realizing what the substance was. Officials alerted the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, which ordered the shutdown.

Officials say the bones had been found Sunday at Ray Wayside Park in Silver Springs. They had apparently been part of a Santeria ritual, which commonly uses mercury.

Investigators were trying to determine who left the bones at the park.

High mercury exposure results in permanent nervous system and kidney damage. Harding says he hopes the office will be cleaned up and reopened within a day.

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