Aug. 15, 2012 -- A construction crew in suburban Detroit on Wednesday morning found around a dozen body parts 50 feet deep in the city's sewer.
"This morning, they go down to begin their work and they get down to a large grate at the 50-foot level and they see the body laying down there," Sterling Heights Police Department Lt. Luke Riley told ABC News in an interview this afternoon. "They call us, we go out and then get people down there to start the process of looking at them.
"There were maybe a dozen softball-sized pieces of a body," he said. "No arms or leg or torso -- nothing like that. Definitely a Caucasian. We're not sure if it's male or female."
Some of the body parts had a tattoo on them, he noted, something officials hope may help them in identifying the body.
"At least six or eight of these pieces had part of a tattoo on them," Riley said. "Once the medical examiner collected them he was able to clean things up and take a look at them and with photographs of these pieces we can tell it's a tattoo. We can't tell what it's a tattoo of, but there are two pieces that match up – it's like a puzzle and we don't have all the pieces to it."
Riley said the construction crew had worked at the same site – near 15 Mile Road and Schoenherr Road -- on Tuesday and no one saw the body parts until this morning.
The body parts, he said, may have flowed to that location from two lines in nearby Macomb County and Oakland County. The entire sewer line, he said, runs about 21 miles and ends up at the Detroit water treatment plant.
A stretch of 15 Mile Road near the site was closed down Wednesday for several hours.
According to Riley, the crew members who made the discovery handled the situation "very professionally."
"They knew the seriousness of the situation," he said. "They were very professional about it. They didn't, you know, lose it or anything like that."
After the discovery, he said, "these workers actually went back down and accompanied the fire department personnel to process the scene."
It is not the first discovery of body parts in the Detroit metropolitan area this summer. The decapitated bodies of a man and a woman were found in July in the Detroit River and a canal.