CHEROKEE CO., SC (WSPA) – Human remains were found Thursday afternoon off of Mullinax Circle in Blacksburg.

Deputies were seen searching an area off of Ragan Trail near Whisonant Road with K-9’s and ATV’s.

“Around 1:24, we received a call through our dispatch that two property owners who were walking the property located what they thought was a skull there,” Cherokee County Sheriff Steve Mueller said.

Deputies with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office responded to Mullinax Circle Thursday afternoon and, indeed, they found a skull and a few other bones.

According to the Cherokee County Coroner’s Office, the human remains were discovered in a wooded area on the side of an ATV trail.

“We’re going to treat it as a homicide investigation until the evidence points us in a different direction,” Sheriff Mueller said.

According to the coroner’s office, the bones belong to a male, but they don’t yet know his race.

“We’re looking at our missing persons here in Cherokee County, as well as surrounding agencies,” Sheriff Mueller said.

The sheriff said they believe the bones have been out there for probably six months to a year.

The coroner’s office told 7 News the skull and connected bones appear to have come from another area, possibly through storm drainage or by an animal.

“Oftentimes, when you find bones like this, they can be moved sometimes a small distance from where the rest of the body is. Sometimes, they can be moved a great distance by wild animals,” Sheriff Mueller said. “We’re hoping we’ll be able to identify this person and bring some closure to the family.”

This is an ongoing investigation, and the sheriff said his team will continue combing through the area, looking for more bones, over the next few days.

If you have a loved one who is missing and may have ties to the Blacksburg are, you’re encouraged to call the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office or Crime Stoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.