SOUTH KNOXVILLE - Families in one South Knoxville neighborhood are shaken up after two children discovered a human skeleton in the woods.
Knox County deputies said they believe they now know the identity of the body and notified the family. But, they're still waiting for autopsy results to come back.
The remains were found Saturday evening in a wooded area about 100 yards behind Montgomery Village Apartments, off of Joe Lewis Road.
Jessica Coleman lives in those apartments and said her nephew came running home just before dusk Saturday night. The 12-year old was playing in the woods with a neighbor just behind Coleman’s apartment.
“It terrified him. He kept telling me last night he was scared and he was worried about having nightmares,” Coleman said.
Coleman followed the boys into the woods and was shocked to find the decaying remains.
"[It was] very traumatic. I've never seen anything like that before in my life. It was just bones," she said.
Coleman said for months now, she and her neighbors noticed a strong odor coming from the woods. She said she notified police months ago.
“We let them know there was a smell back there and they was going to come and check it out and they never sent anybody or if they did, they just didn't go far enough," she said.
Coleman said her nephew is traumatized by the experience.
“You got to imagine, he’s 12 years old. He’s never seen anything like that.”
By, now most all of the kids in this neighborhood know what was found in their backyard.
"I was a little bit terrified. It made me so scared I almost ran home," seven-year-old Sam Ward said.
"That's the only place where they feel safe to play and that was ruined for them because they don't know if there is somebody in the woods," Jasmen Bright, 15, said.
The Sheriff's Office said there are no signs of foul play. But, for the people who live close by, it doesn't change what they saw.
“Not in a million years would I think that they'd come back and see something like that," Coleman said.
The woods where the body was found were still taped off on Sunday. Detectives are continuing to investigate and treating the area like a crime scene.
For now, parents said they are keeping their kids from playing in the woods.
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