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Remains found in AZ desert likely homicide victims

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Five sets of skeletal remains found concealed in the desert west of Tucson appear to be homicide victims, authorities said Tuesday.

Border Patrol agents found the remains on May 28 about 12 miles northwest of Sells on the Tohono O'odham Reservation in an area often used by smugglers

The remains were partially covered with rocks and possibly a tarp.

Dr. Greg Hess, Pima County's chief deputy medical examiner, said five body bags containing the remains were opened Tuesday.

``Some have broken bones and they're not breaks that you would see after death,'' he said. ``They're likely the result of firearms and blunt-force injuries.''

Hess said the bodies might have been in the desert for a year before being discovered.

``We can't determine if they are all males yet,'' said Hess, adding that most of the remains appear to be adults, although an age range can't immediately be determined.

``We're trying to sort it out. It's going to take us some time,'' he said.

Based on their clothing, they were probably not U.S. citizens, he said.

Tribal police said the five deaths were being categorized as suspicious based on conditions at the scene.

Tohono O'odham police Chief Joseph Delgado said the investigation was continuing and no other information was immediately available.

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