Age of body found near Kendrick Lakes Elementary remains a mystery

County coroner says that it appears to be of ”historic nature”

Joseph Rios
jrios@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 3/16/20

Yates Oppermann, a Lakewood resident who has a daughter in third grade at Kendrick Lakes Elementary School, wasn't surprised when human remains were found at a construction site for the new school …

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Age of body found near Kendrick Lakes Elementary remains a mystery

County coroner says that it appears to be of ”historic nature”

Posted

Yates Oppermann, a Lakewood resident who has a daughter in third grade at Kendrick Lakes Elementary School, wasn't surprised when human remains were found at a construction site for the new school building. Oppermann works in environmental planning and has worked on infrastructure projects in the past.

“When you're doing work like this, it happens. It can be a recent event, it can be a historic event and sometimes, it can be a prehistoric event,” said Oppermann.

The questions yet to be answered: How old are the human remains, are and who do they belonged to. Lakewood Police were notified of the remains by construction crews on Feb. 27 when they were discovered at 1350 S. Hoyt St.

The Jefferson County Coroner's Office says while it is still investigating the remains, they appear to be of “historic nature,” according to Gordon Johnson, deputy coroner for the Jefferson County Coroner's Office. Darcy Wood, treasurer for the school's PTA, said Lakewood Police told school administration that hand-cut nails were discovered at the site.

Kendrick connection

The Heritage Lakewood Belmar Park museum says the school property was in close proximity to the Kendrick family's property.

In 1874, James Kennedy Kendrick moved to Colorado from Ohio with his wife Panthea and their seven children. Six years later, Kendrick purchased a quarter section of land that is just south of the area that is now Kendrick Lake Park and Kendrick Lakes Elementary.

One of the seven Kendrick children included Francis “Frank” C. Kendrick, who worked his first job with the engineering crew of the Denver-South Park Railroad. Following his first job, Frank went on to mine for a short time before turning to local farming. He specialized in irrigation engineering and helped engineer the Ward Dich which runs from Bear Creek to Sheridan Boulevard.

Dave Frazier, the great grandson of Frank, said most of the Kendrick family is buried at Riverside Cemetery in Denver.

“It might have been that someone died, and they buried them on their land. Whoever's remains were there were probably not from the Kendrick family,” said Frazier. “It will be interesting to see what they come up with.”

John Romero, a spokesperson for Lakewood Police, said as results from the remains become available, the department will have a clearer idea of what its dealing with and if an actual crime was committed.

“It is interesting. It is an interesting part of history for our neighborhood and community to know what was there prior to the school,” said Wood.

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