Investigation Launched After Human Heart Found in Salt Pile at Tennessee Transportation Facility

When speaking with reporters, local law enforcement compared the state of the heart to a country ham due to the drying effect of the salt in question.

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A peculiarly located human heart has Tennesseans scratching their heads this week.

Per a report from regional outlet WBIR-TV, the heart in question was found in a salt pile at a Tennessee Department of Transportation facility in the McEwen area last week. At first, the heart was mistaken for what the report describes as a “weirdly shaped rock,” although workers—who were in the process of making brine at the time—ultimately notified local authorities for a confirmation.

According to the report, officials with the Humphreys County Sheriff’s Office ultimately concluded that this was no rock at all and was instead a human heart. More specifically, per a separate report from WDBJ, the heart was confirmed by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to have originally belonged to an adult man. The heart is believed to have been at the facility for some time, resulting in its dehydration.

“I’ve got 32 years in law enforcement and I do have to say this is probably in the top five of the most bizarre things I’ve ever seen,” Humphreys County Sheriff Chris Davis told reporters, as seen in this video. When explaining the state of the heart upon its discovery, Davis likened the effect of the salt on the organ to what might happen to a popular holiday meat under the same circumstances.

“Salt has a drying effect, like it would on a country ham,” he explained. “You know, it’s very similar to a body. And I hate to use that as a reference but imagine that as what it is.”

The ensuing investigation is being treated as a homicide, with local officials working to uncover more information about the origins of the heart and how it ended up in a salt barn.

Complex has reached out to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Tennessee Department of Transportation, and the Humphreys County Sheriff’s Office for additional comment. This story may be updated.

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