UPDATED: Remains Found on Railroad Tracks Are Not Human

Manassas Park Police investigators said Thursday morning that the medical examiners office confirmed the remains aren't human.

Remains found in a package Wednesday evening on the railroad tracks in Manassas Park near the Virginia Railroad Express Station aren't human, police investigators with the small city said Thursday morning.

At 9 a.m. the package was at the Virginia Medical Examiner's Office awaiting positive identification, Manassas Park Police Spokeswoman Karen Barton said.

Detectives believed the remains not to be human, but wanted confirmation from examiners, Barton said in a release. 

About an hour later, the medical examiner's office confirmed their suspicions saying their remains weren't human, Barton added.

It is still not immediately clear if they are animal remains.

Police said a"concerned citizen" contacted them Wednesday and told them about the suspicious package. This in turn prompted the investigation. 

The investigation halted rail travel through the area Wednesday and left thousands of commuters who rely on the VRE for a ride waiting.

Pauline Bonilla, of Manassas Park rode VRE Train 337 on Wednesday, which usually arrives in the city at 7:46 p.m. She arrived back at the VRE lot in Manassas Park at 10:15 p.m. after getting off the train in Alexandria and taking a taxi home.

She's still not sure how to feel about being delayed by remains that aren't even human, Bonilla said.

"I have to know if it's something I should pissed off about," she said. "Obviously it wasn't easy to tell from the naked eye."

If it was internal remains of some sort then she's glad the police took the time to thoroughly investigate, she said.

"Now I mean, if it was something like a paw or something with fur, instead of a human foot or something, then I'm going to be mad," Bonilla said.

Even a night's rest couldn't completely calm the anger Manassas Park resident Rachel Kirkland said was caused by the way VRE officials handled the situation.

Kirkland's husband, Jim, was on VRE Train 331 which usually arrives in Manassas Park at 6:07 p.m. but was delayed some four hours and 10 minutes.  

"At one point, shortly before 8 p.m., my husband was told that he would be let off at Clifton.  I quickly arranged care for my sons and left (home) only to be called 15 minutes later and told they (the train) would be going through to Manassas Park," she said.

Rachel Kirkland said she turned around and went back home only to find out that her husband and others were going to be allowed to get off the train in Clifton after all.

By that time, she was unable to leave home because of her children, one who just underwent surgery. Her husband had to catch a ride with another passenger, Rachel Kirkland said.

"We are both dismayed by VRE’s seeming inability to choose a course of action, rather than stick to a plan of action for those on the train and their families who were feverishly trying to make arrangement," she said.

VRE spokesman Mark Roeber said he was in the communications room all that evening and the plans for going into Clifton never changed.

"Our programming stayed consistent," Roeber said.

The only issue the VRE had in Clifton was with the buses, when passengers were told to get off one bus and board another that was going in the correct direction, he said.

All four delayed VRE trains did make it through Manassas Park Wednesday evening, three to four hours after their original times.

Patch will update as more information become available.

Related Content: 

  • VRE Trains Stopped South of Burke for Suspicious Package Investigation
  • VRE Official: Body Parts Found in Package on Track

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Jim Kirkland September 21, 2012 at 12:21 AM
Roeber claims, "Our programming stayed consistent," but the message to the conductors certainly wasn't. It became a running joke with the conductor announcing "Ok folks, A change of plans!" which got a good chuckle out of the stranded riders. Every time I'd text the plan to my wife and soon it would change. The conductor's did their best but if the plan was always to go to Clifton why did it take 3.5 hours to go the half mile up the tracks?
Rachel September 21, 2012 at 01:46 AM
Sadly, I am getting angry by the moment. In addition to the many calls and texts I had with my husband, I talked to a very nice woman at VRE named Theresa. At 7:13 pm, she told me that they would indeed take my husband's train to Burke as it was against policy to let them off in Clifton because there is no proper station. I called her at 8:15 when I was stuck in traffic trying to get to my husband (before I got the turn around call.) How can the plan have always been Clifton if the Theresa the VRE staffer told me all that? There was no consistency, no clear communication, lots of different stories to both of us. Well delivered by two nice employees of VRE (his conductor and Theresa), but management is proving to be at best disingenuous in their statements to the public regarding last night. I understand their limitations in buses and such, but clear, consistent, and honest communication would have been better for all. Roeber's comments just serve to infuriate me further.
Anonymous Contributor September 21, 2012 at 06:33 PM
I've found VRE Management to be highly incompetent. When something like Wednesday night happens, you need to make a quick decision and get people to a place where they can gett off of the train so they can call someone or a taxi for a ride. We've disembarked at non-stations before, get real. By the way, I want 4 hours of my life back.
Jamie M. Rogers September 21, 2012 at 06:47 PM
The remains could be non-biological. Props of some sort. That is why we reported "not human" but stopped short of saying, "animal."
Tommy Twochips September 21, 2012 at 07:21 PM
Anonymous, you are too hard on VRE, the evident fault lies on the law enforcement authorities: VRE cannot conceivable disregard their dictates, therefore, the cops' decision to stop all rail traffic for ultimately four (4) hours, in order to more thoroughly examine the site on the tracks where a package was found, is the questionable one. The package turned out to be no criminal evidence, but even if it were, one wonders how much sniffing about is needed where someone has simply deposited a suspicious package. An hour, sure. Four hours? Nah, they're nuts.


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