'Precautionary' search resumes after finger found in snapping turtle

BUSH,LA (WVUE) - A St. Tammany resident found a human finger inside an alligator snapping turtle he was planning to eat, according to the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office.

A Bush-area man called deputies after he found the finger as he was cleaning and processing the large turtle. Police say the turtle had been caught on a trot line in in Western St. Tammany Parish.

Deputies contacted the St. Tammany Parish Coroner's Office, which took possession of the finger in an attempt to identify its owner.

Both the STPSO Crime Lab and the Coroner's Office have tried to obtain a fingerprint, but those efforts proved unsuccessful.

Local hospitals in St. Tammany Parish and Washington Parish were also contacted, but those inquires yielded no results.

Members of the STPSO Marine Division along with representatives from the St. Tammany Parish Coroner's Office canvassed the Tchefuncte River between the Highway 21 Bridge and Flower Estates, where the turtle was caught. Coroner's Office K-9 "Maggie," a human remains detection dog, as well as LASAR (Louisiana Search & Rescue) dogs were used.

STPSO Capt. Scott Lee said the search concluded Wednesday evening and was scheduled to resume Thursday at 8 a.m.

If anyone has information about this case, please contact the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office at 985-898-2338 or the St. Tammany Parish Coroner's Office at 985-781-1150.