Mannar mass grave : Age of skeletal remains in two weeks | Sunday Observer

Mannar mass grave : Age of skeletal remains in two weeks

The age determination results of the sample skeletal remains excavated from the Mannar mass grave are expected to be revealed in two weeks. The sample remains were handed over to Beta Analytic Inc. in Florida, United States, for radiocarbon dating tests by the lead forensic investigator and Judicial Medical Officer Dr Saminda Rajapakse on January 25.

“I handed over several skeletal samples found from the mass grave to Beta Analytics Inc. on January 25,” Dr Rajapakse said when contacted by the Sunday Observer. He said the tests on the remains to ascertain their age will be completed in two weeks.

“We can access the report online and a hard copy will also be provided by the laboratory,” he said. “A hard copy will also be handed over to the court to ensure the transparency of the process”, he added.

On January 24, two officers of the Mannar Magistrate’s Court transported the skeletal samples for carbon dating amid police protection to Colombo where they handed them over to Dr Rajapakse.

The latter was accompanied by two independent observers on his trip to Florida to ensure transparency. Accordingly a Commissioner of the Office on Missing Persons (OMP) Mirak Raheem and representatives of the families of the missing in Mannar, Attorneys-at-Law S. Niranjan and Ranitha Gnanarajah accompanied Rajapakse.

Investigators said that the skeletal remains are believed to have been those of 300 persons. After 137 days of the excavations, the investigation team extracted the remains of 294 of the 300.

They identified 23 skeletons as those of young children.