MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — It appears Hurricane Nicole has unearthed a grisly discovery in Martin County.
Martin County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy John Budensiek told WPTV on Thursday afternoon that crime scene technicians were investigating what's believed to be a Native American burial ground on Chastain Beach on South Hutchinson Island.
He said strong winds from Nicole, which made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane just south of Vero Beach early Thursday, churned up the sand and unearthed the remains of at least six bodies.
A photo from the Martin County Sheriff's Office showed a decomposing skull emerging from the sand.
"I just found a bone laying around, washed up," a beachgoer told WPTV's Matt Sczesny.
Chief Deputy John Budensiek said beachgoers came upon "an old human skull and then some arm and leg bones."
Deputies didn't disturb the site, identifying it as a federally protected Native American burial site.
Budensiek said detectives took photographs of the bones for the medical examiner's office to review.
"They are able to tell us that the bones appear to be over 200 years old," Budensiek said.
Tina Osceola is the director of the Seminole Tribe of Florida's Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum.
"They are ancestors of the Seminole people," she told WPTV. "You know, they are our ancestors. That we do know."