APACHE LAKE, AZ - Multiple Valley police agencies are in contact with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office after human remains were discovered in the desert near Apache Lake over the weekend.
MCSO spokesman Joaquin Enriquez said the human remains were found Sunday and appear to be small in stature. He said the bones have been removed and are currently being processed.
Three men found the remains in a plastic container while out target shooting. The three men said the container was taped shut and hidden inside a bush.
When the men opened the container, they were shocked to discover the skeletal remains and clothing of what they say appears to be a young girl.
The identity of the remains or the nature of how the person may have died has not been determined or released, according to MCSO officials. However, the discovery of the bones is causing local police departments to reach out to MCSO to compare notes on missing persons investigations.
Officials with the Phoenix Police Department and Tempe Police Department have been in touch with MCSO investigators to compare notes on missing persons cases.
Officer James Homes with Phoenix police confirmed that detectives have been in touch with MCSO. He did not say if there were any indications that the remains may be connected to a Phoenix case.
Lt. Michael Pooley with Tempe police said detectives have spoken with MCSO, but does not appear to be related to any of their investigations.
Sgt. Tony Landato of Mesa police said their detectives have also been in contact with MCSO regarding the investigation.
Sgt. Jay C. O'Neill, spokesman for the Glendale Police Department, said that detectives have not been in contact with MCSO.
Sources tell ABC15's Christopher Sign that the bones could have been in the desert between 2 and 20 years depending on exposure to the elements.
The age range does bring to light three high-profile missing persons cases close to the Valley. It's important to remember that authorities have not indicated that the human remains are connected to any of these cases.
Mikelle Biggs, an 11-year-old girl from Mesa, vanished in 1999 while waiting for an ice cream truck with her sister, according to police records.
The girls sister went back home to grab a jacket, but when she returned her sister was gone, according to authorities.
Biggs' bike was located close to the incident with one of the wheels still spinning and quarters were on the ground, according to police records.
In another case, Isabel Celis , a 6-year-old girl from Tucson, disappeared from her bedroom in April of 2012.
Jhessye Shockley , a 5-year-old girl from Glendale, went missing in October 2011. Her mother, Jerice Hunter, was arrested in September 2012 and remains behind bars in connection to the girls' disappearance. Jhessye's body has not been found.
Alissa Turney, a 17-year-old high school junior, disappeared in May 2001 on the last day of the school year.