Blood-soaked clothing found in Sharp and Independence counties has been sent to the state crime lab to determine if the blood is human or animal.
Sharp County Sheriff Dale Weaver said his office was notified Jan. 12 that several articles of clothing saturated with blood were found near a local swimming area on Strawberry River near Poughkeepsie.
More bloody clothing was found in Independence County, with one garment linking the two.
Weaver said a pair of blue jeans, two pair of men's brief underwear, a pair of leather welding gloves, a leather knife sheaf, an empty whiskey bottle and the leg of a pair of thermal underwear were found in Poughkeepsie.
The cut off piece of underwear was determined to be a portion of a pair of thermal underwear found in Independence County near the Cedar Grove Church, Weaver said.
Blood-soaked items found at the church included the cut thermal underwear, two T-shirts and a woman's sweatshirt.
The sheriff said the blood was still bright and had dried but wasn't cracked, which he said was an indication it was probably less than 24 hours old.
Weaver said the blood was spread around a 30-foot radius in Sharp County and both sites showed indications a vehicle sat and idled for some time.
"There was an unusual amount of exhaust where a vehicle had sat at both sites," Weaver said. He explained when the temperature is colder it will cause moisture to leak from the exhaust pipe.
Weaver said the sites shared another common element -- both were near water.
"If it is human blood, then someone definitely had a problem," he said.
According to Weaver, the clothing appeared to have been bled on instead of through, which might indicate whomever was wearing the clothing was not the one bleeding.
He said the fact the clothing was found in two different counties caused speculation it wasn't some sort of accident that took place because it wasn't reasonable to assume anyone would go from one location to the other for medical aid.
The sheriff said local hospitals had been contacted and questioned about trauma victims but this did not result in any leads.
Weaver said the lab results should be in the first part of this week and would determine how the investigation would proceed.
He urged anyone with any knowledge of an incident associated with the clothing to contact the Sharp County Sheriff's Department.
"There is a lot of speculation at this time," Weaver said. "We would be very interested in talking to anyone who can tell us what might have happened."