PINE BLUFF, Ark. — A demolition site turned into an investigation scene Wednesday morning in Pine Bluff when crews found a human skull on the property of an abandoned motel.
Pine Bluff police say the discovery was made at the corner of Harding Avenue and Wisconsin Street.
Larry Miller, owner of Pope Furniture Inc. next door, said a skull and a collarbone were found in an area of thick bamboo near the edge of the property.
He added that 40 years ago without the bamboo you could see straight through where the remains were hidden.
“I used to eat breakfast there every morning.,” Larry Miller fondly remembered of the former Admiral Benbow Inn.
“It was nice, but then it just eventually got bad,” he said.
Over the years, ownership changed, and the business eventually closed. The pool and swing set decayed and became replaced with less desirable things.
According to the chairman of Pine Bluff Urban Renewal Agency, Jimmy Dill, “It’s been a haven for prostitution, crime, drug activity.”
And in Miller’s experience, homelessness has also been rampant. He and his employees have assisted more than one individual squatting next door through a meal or gift cards.
For all those reasons, when police reported a human skull found on the property, people were not shocked by the news.
“I wasn’t surprised,” Miller admitted.
Dill echoed nearly the same thought from his office. “I’m not necessarily surprised,” he said.
The remains were only found because Larry Miller and the rest of the Pine Bluff’s Urban Renewal Agency had contracted the dead building’s destruction.
“Urban renewal was created so that we could breathe new life into certain areas,” Miller stated.
In five years, the group has revitalized the library, aquatic center, and other downtown areas. Once the motel is demolished, a go-kart track will stand in its place.
In Dill’s words, “So that we could bring some entertainment to the citizens of Pine Bluff.”
Miller hopes with the entertainment comes some added peace of mind.
“We’re just so glad that they just started tearing this down, and we’re looking forward to our new neighbors,” Miller concluded.
Miller crews have been at the motel for about a week already tearing down one building before discovering the skull.
Pine Bluff Lieutenant David DeFoor told our station his department does not suspect foul play at this point.
The remains were sent to State Crime Lab to identify them and determine the cause of death.