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Second of three skulls kept by coroner was Virginia woman's

VIRGINIA, Minn. (AP) -- The second of three skulls kept at home by a former assistant Hennepin County medical examiner belonged to a Virginia, Minn., woman who died more than 35 years ago, St. Louis County Medical Examiner Thomas Uncini said.

VIRGINIA, Minn. (AP) -- The second of three skulls kept at home by a former assistant Hennepin County medical examiner belonged to a Virginia, Minn., woman who died more than 35 years ago, St. Louis County Medical Examiner Thomas Uncini said.

Dorothy Curran was 36 when she was last seen Sept. 28, 1971. Her remains were found June 8, 1972, along Highway 53 about 12 miles south of Eveleth. But records from the time are so scarce that authorities aren't sure now whether to call the case open, closed or forgotten, and they don't know if her death was the result of a crime.

"We don't know how she died," Uncini said.

Curran's skeletal remains were sent to the Hennepin County medical examiner's office because it had the most expertise in the state, Uncini said.

But her remains were returned home without the skull, unbeknownst to family members, and were buried on the Bois Forte reservation in Tower, he said.

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Those events were similar to those in the case of Ricky McGuire, whose skull was the first one identified. McGuire, 17, of Bemidji, was murdered in 1977. His skull was reburied with his body this week.

Uncini will have Curran's skull examined by an anthropologist in hopes of determining a cause and manner of death, then return it to her surviving family members. Her husband, Jack Curran, had five children. It's uncertain how many were her biological children. He was beaten to death in San Diego by two of his children in 1976, and it's not clear if his death was related to hers.

All three skulls were found by the late Dr. Kenneth Osterberg's daughter in the garage of his home in Mentor last summer. It's not clear how or why he came to possess the three skulls, although one theory is that he kept them for teaching purposes. Body parts were commonly kept without permission in the 1970s, Uncini said, a practice that would never occur today.

The third skull was not identified in the 1970s and will remain at the Hennepin County medical examiner's office.

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