The discovery of a bone temporarily halted construction at Meridian Elementary School Thursday.
While digging on the north side of the building to make a pad for a new air conditioning unit, workers discovered an 8-inch bone approximately 3-4 feet down.
Clay Community School Corporation Building and Grounds Director and Elementary School Building Renovation Project Leader Tom Reberger confirmed construction was halted while law enforcement and the construction management site coordinator for the Skillman Corporation were contacted.
"Skillman needed to determine whether anything like this had happened before," Reberger said. "Then they immediately cooperated with the Brazil City Police Department by further excavating the area. They dug wider, longer and deeper to try and locate anything else."
However, the single bone was the only piece found.
Reberger said the contractor was allowed to dig carefully in the area (paying attention to the site for any other items), but were not allowed to remove anything until directed to do so.
Due to the potentially sensitive nature of the incident, Reberger said information was limited to administrative staff at the corporation level and at the school itself.
"We didn't want to create any type of unnecessary panic," he said.
BCPD Sgt. Mark Loudermilk took the bone to Indiana State University's Forensic Pathology Department for analysis Friday.
It was determined to be an animal bone, most likely part of a hog skeleton.
"The professor said is was approximately 100-years-old." Loudermilk said.
"If it had been verified as human remains, there would have been certain protocols we would have set into motion," Police Chief Dave Archer told The Brazil Times. "The area would have been considered a crime scene as the investigation continued. Everything was done by the book, but we had to wait on the forensic pathology before continuing."
Because homes were on the grounds before the school was built in the 1950s, officials speculate the hog bone was probably thrown out as trash or given to a dog, who might have buried it in the area, and has been covered by years of dirt until its discovery.
The test results means construction at the school can continue.
"I can tell you that we are greatly relieved," Reberger said.
One local family is experiencing mixed emotions surrounding the incident.
For Robert Martin and Linda (Martin) Crosley, Aug. 10, 1957 is a date that will be forever frozen in time. That was the day their 4-year-old brother Billy Martin disappeared from their home at 352 North Colfax St., Brazil.
The disappearance made national headlines as members of local and state authorities, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Guard combed Clay County looking for the boy.
Throughout the following years there have been many stories and theories circulating around Billy Martin's disappearance.
"Oh, we have heard them all," Martin said. "This is such a gigantic mystery for such a small town, that everyone has a story."
One of those theories was their brother's body was buried under the foundation of Meridian Elementary School, which was being built at the time of Billy's disappearance.
Crosley, who recently moved away from the area, told The Brazil Times in a previous interview, "It looks like we might have to wait until we die, like our parents, to find out what happened to our brother."
Waiting for the official results made Friday an emotional day for Robert Martin.
"I wish this would be over, so we could have some closure," Robert said. "I'm glad it was an animal (bone), but I would have been happy if it turned out to be Billy. Then we would have some closure."