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Skeletal find ruled homicide

LAWRENCEVILLE - Investigators are treating the Monday afternoon discovery of two bodies near the Old Farm Estates subdivision in Lawrenceville as a double homicide.

Seventeen-year-old Edgar Sanchez, a resident of the subdivision, discovered the skeletal remains of two people about 1:30 p.m. Monday while walking through the wooded backyards of two homes on Los Alamos Place off of Ga. Highway 20 with his 13-year-old sister, Diana Sanchez.

Sanchez said he and his sister were walking to a nearby McDonald's when they came upon the bodies in the wooded area. He said the two thought the bones were fake, possibly a joke left over from Halloween.

"I tried to take a shortcut with my sister and I found the two bodies," Sanchez said.

He said they called 911 after he mentioned his findings to his mother late Monday and she suggested notifying police.

Cpl. Darren Moloney, Gwinnett County Police Department spokesman, said authorities arrived at the scene about 9 p.m., but taped of the area and began processing the scene at first light Tuesday.

He said investigators, who located the bodies less than 100 feet from two homes, have identified the two as a man and woman.

"From their sizes they appear to be adults," Moloney said.

Due to severe decomposition investigators can not determine exactly how the two died, Moloney said, but processing of the scene indicates the two did not die due to suicide or natural causes.

He said authorities believe the homicide occurred at the Los Alamos Place location, but would not go into further details of what led investigators to reach the conclusion.

"The crime scene indicates natural death and suicide were not factors in their deaths," Moloney said. "With those two out, the police department will err on the side of caution and investigate this incident as a double homicide."

The bodies are in the possession of the Gwinnett County Medical Examiner's Office, Moloney said, and the incident will be investigated as a homicide unless the medical examiner tells officers differently.

He said the department is researching missing person cases from other agencies and jurisdictions in an attempt to identify the man and woman.

Ted Bailey, chief forensic investigator for the Medical Examiner's Office, only confirmed the incident appears to be a double homicide and the bodies are believed to be a man and woman. Bailey said other information is not being released this early in the investigation.

Residents of the homes overlooking the wooded area where the bodies were found said they are shocked about the discovery.

Tom Schultz, a resident of Los Alamos Place for 18 years, said nothing similar has ever happened in the neighborhood before.

"It's a good neighborhood," Schultz said. "Nobody bothers nobody."