It’s not unusual for the Granville Township road crew to find litter in drainage culverts, but their work to replace a culvert this week stopped abruptly the morning they found a pair of “female legs” and feet protruding from trash bags.

They called the Licking County sheriff’s office, which called the coroner’s office, which resulted in an unusual number of emergency vehicles – with sirens blaring – racing through Granville to the scene on Burg Street northwest of town.

“I’ve never been called out to a situation like this,” said Renee Rogers, an investigator for the county coroner’s office called to the scene Monday morning.  

After a quick look at the evidence, she correctly identified the “legs” as a silicon sex doll, according to a field report from the sheriff’s office. 

The doll was discovered by the road crew around 9 a.m. on Monday, May 6, on Burg Street, about a mile north of Granville Intermediate School. The sheriff’s office dispatched deputies to “investigate a complaint of a deceased person in a trash bag,” according to a field report from Detective Cory Burgess. 

Burgess said deputies arrived on the scene and found what looked like a “human-shaped body” in trash bags. The bags had been spotted on Wednesday, May 1, but the legs weren’t visible at that time, so the apparent litter didn’t draw attention.

But days later, the bags burst open when the construction crew snagged it with their excavator, revealing the suspicious contents. 

“When we arrive on a scene, we’re not going to touch or get close to [a] body,” Burgess told The Reporting Project on Wednesday. “We treated this like a crime scene, and requested the coroner.” 

Rogers said the initial call from the sheriff’s office was unusual – though the investigation would only get stranger throughout the day. 

“They wanted me to confirm whether something was human or not, so that’s different from our typical calls,” she explained. “Usually, somebody has already been confirmed deceased when we get called out to a scene.” 

The anatomically correct portion from the waist down, according to the sheriff’s office report, was “very dirty, covered in dirt and grass, however, it did not have any stench or bugs near it,” which both Burgess and Rogers said would be typical for a dead body that had been there at least five days.  

“What they were looking at did not clearly match with a human body that would have been outside for some time,” Rogers said. “It appeared that it had been outside for some time. It was mixed up into brush, so it wasn’t something that appeared to have just been placed there.” 

After Rogers confirmed the “legs” were “not human” and rather an “adult-appearing mannequin,” the sheriff’s office wrapped up its investigation, and the construction crew was able to resume work on culvert replacement. 

The doll has been logged into evidence at the sheriff’s office, and is slated for destruction, Burgess said. 

“Typically, things get put in the incinerator, they get thrown in the trash or they get taken somewhere else,” he said. “I can’t tell you exactly what we’re going to do with it.” 

Construction on the culvert replacement is slated to end Friday, May 17, “if the weather cooperates with us a little bit better,” said township zoning inspector Travis Binckley.

“We come across a lot of stuff out there, but that was a little … I guess it was just a little bit different,” Binckley said. 

This story was updated Wednesday, May 8, at 7:30 p.m. to include additional details from the reports from the Licking County sheriff’s office.

Julia Lerner writes for, the nonprofit news organization of Denison University’s Journalism program, which is supported by generous donationsfrom readers. Sign up for The Reporting Project newsletter here.