Police Say Human Skull Found Near Hollywood Sign

On Saturday afternoon, hikers walking in a Los Angeles park came upon a human skull near the iconic Hollywood sign, police say. According to CNN, the hikers were walking in rough terrain along a trail in Griffith Park around 2 p.m. when the skull was found.

The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating the human skull, The Hollywood Reporter notes. Both LAPD homicide detectives and the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office arrived at the location not long after the find that sits near the Brush Canyon trail, writes THR.

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KTLA reports that LAPD Lt. Ryan Schatz indicated the human skull is “very old,” but he did not know how long it had been at the site or what caused the individual’s death. Law enforcement is expected to continue searching for more bones and body parts through Sunday using cadaver dogs, according to KTLA.

Fox News notes that Griffith Park is the largest municipal park in the United States, amassing about 6.5 square miles in the eastern part of the Santa Monica Mountains.

Saturday is not the first time strange occurrences or gruesome finds have occurred near the Hollywood sign. In 2012, two women discovered a severed head while walking their dogs on a trail located close to the sign, reports NBC News. After police were alerted, the use of cadaver dogs turned up even more body parts. The deceased was eventually identified as Hervey Coronado Medillin, 66, a retired airline employee. It was not until 2014 that Gabriel Campos Martinez, 38, was arrested for the brutal killing, according to NBC News. The Los Angeles Times reported that Campos Martinez was found guilty of the crime in 2015 and sentenced to 25 years to life behind bars.

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According to History.com, the Hollywood sign, which originally read “Hollywoodland,” was created in 1923 to promote an investment made by Los Angeles Times publisher Harry Chandler in a real estate development. The sign consisted of 45-foot high letters lit by 4,000 light bulbs, all of which stood by being attached to telephone poles. History.com reports that the entire spectacle cost $21,000, which in today’s currency equals over $250,000.

History.com further indicates that by the mid-1940’s the city owned the sign and wanted the entire thing toppled. Nevertheless, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce saved the Hollywoodland sign, removing the last four letters in 1949. After several years, the Hollywood sign began to deteriorate and in 1978, with the help of a fundraiser thrown by Playboy mogul Hugh Hefner, enough money was garnered to erect a new and improved sign.

Likely the most well known tragedy to take place involving the Hollywood sign is the sad death of young actress, Peg Entwistle. The starlet is infamous for committing suicide by jumping from the “H” of the structure in 1932. According to Deadline, the story goes that Peg, 24, probably became so distraught after she was cut out of the David O. Selznick movie, “Thirteen Women,” she decided to take her own life.

In the years prior to this, Peg had been in several Broadway plays, including “The Wild Duck,” and “The Uninvited,” Deadline reports. She later married Robert Keith, but left him after she found out he had been married once before and had a 6 year old child – both of which she did not know when they wed, according to Deadline.

A hiker found Peg’s body at the bottom of the Hollywood sign. Vanity Fair reports a suicide note was found in her purse, which read “I am afraid, I am a coward. I am sorry for everything. If I had done this a long time ago, it would have saved a lot of pain. P.E.” According to Deadline, a major motion picture is planned about Peg’s story.

[Photo by David McNew/Getty Images]