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Human remains found at Pawnee Lake identified, sheriff says
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Human remains found at Pawnee Lake identified, sheriff says

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Human remains found

Lancaster County Sheriff Terry Wagner gives an update on human remains found at Pawnee Lake on Thursday.

The human remains discovered at Pawnee Lake on Thursday have been identified, but Lancaster County Sheriff Terry Wagner said identification wouldn't be released until Saturday.

In a news release Friday afternoon, Wagner said the family has requested time to contact relatives and reflect on the discovery of their loved one. The name will be released at 3 p.m.

The cause and manner of death are still unknown, the release said, and may remain so for four to six weeks as law enforcement awaits toxicology results.

After investigators found the body in a wooded area on the lake's southwest side Thursday, Wagner said the remains were removed "in their covered state," but again declined to describe the nature of what was covering the body. He did, though, confirm that the covering was placed over the body purposefully. 

Wagner said investigators weren't yet sure if the remains had been placed near the lake purposefully and refrained from speculating on how the body wound up in the wooded area.

Investigators find body at Pawnee Lake, Lancaster County sheriff says

Investigators discovered the body at about 11:15 a.m. Thursday. The sheriff declined to say why investigators had been searching the area when they discovered the body. 

An autopsy was conducted Friday afternoon.

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A team of investigators from the sheriff's office and the Lincoln Police Department were analyzing the crime scene Friday morning, including using metal detectors.

The west side of Pawnee Lake was set to reopen for recreational traffic Friday afternoon, according to the release. 

Earlier Friday, Wagner asked for anyone who has seen anything suspicious at the lake in the last eight to 12 days to contact the sheriff's office or LPD. 

When asked Thursday whether investigators had considered if the body might be that of 23-year-old Carly Schaaf, who has been missing since May 17 under what police have called suspicious circumstances, Wagner said "we're surely keeping that in mind."

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7223 or

On Twitter @andrewwegley. 


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Breaking news reporter

A Kansas City, Missouri, native, Andrew Wegley joined the Journal Star as breaking news reporter after graduating from Northwest Missouri State University in May 2021.

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A Lincoln native, Nick McConnell joined the Journal Star in 2019, covering breaking news and general assignment stories.

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