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Police: Severed limb in trash pile likely belongs to bear

Recycling crew members report finding severed hand, officials say

MADISON, Wis. - Madison police responded to what could have been a difficult homicide investigation Wednesday morning, but determined what they thought was a severed human body part actually belonged to an animal.

Recycling crew members at the Pellitteri Waste System plant at 4002 Kipp St. reported finding a severed human hand among the bottles, cans and paper around 9:10 a.m., according to a release. Police and the medical examiner's office responded to the scene, and requested a cadaver dog.

Investigators learned the recycling load had come from routes south and west of Madison; maybe as far away as Platteville.

After considering the task of digging through the massive pile of recycling for more evidence, a detective decided to closely examine the supposed severed hand, officials said. The detective counted six fingers and a missing thumb.

A forensic anthropologist ruled that it was not a human hand but instead came from an animal; likely a bear, according to the release. The police left the scene with questions on how a paw got into someone's recyclables.

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