Local Coroners Bury Bones for Future Death Investigator Training - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Local Coroners Bury Bones for Future Death Investigator Training

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WALLA WALLA, WA. -- Some local coroners are working together to do something unusual for their students, burying a body. But it's not what you think. 

There's some bones beneath the ground here in Walla Walla. And this spot is where they are burying their bones. Coroner's from Franklin, Grant and Walla Walla counties are used to identifying skeletons. But Wednesday, they're finding a good spot to bury one. 

"They're not real skeletons, they're plastic skeletons actually," Franklin County Coroner Dan Blasdel said. 

So the skeletons are plastic and made in China. Still, they're serving an important purpose, to help train future death investigators. In the spring, dozens of students will come back to this spot and learn some important lessons. 

"Well they'll learn the proper way to handle a shallow grave if there's ever one in their county," Coroner Blasdel said. "And not cover up or disturb any evidence that's in the area."

Two adults, one child and a box of bones are going to their fake resting places, some hiding clues about how they died, like a vodka bottle.

"It will be interesting to see what the students find and how they process that scene," Blasdel said. 

And the timing of all this is very important. 

"We're putting them in in the fall so the weeds and stuff can grow back over the graves," Blasdel said. "So you can't walk out and say 'Oh yeah, there's a grave there.' We want to make it challenging for the students."

But until then, these coroner's are having a little fun, and making the skeletons look as real as possible. 

"It is serious and yeah we have fun and kid around a lot because we know it's not real," Blasdel told us.

In May, about 50 death investigators will come back to this spot to find the bones and try to piece together the evidence.