SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. -- A hunter found human remains in a remote area in West Spokane County Wednesday morning, according to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.

The hunter reported finding what appeared to be a skull, partially covered by dirt, in a remote area near Brooks and Thorpe Road. Officials said the hunter walked back to his car, reported the incident and waited for deputies.

Major Crimes detectives were called to continue the investigation and process the scene. Authorities said an extensive search of the area ended Friday afternoon. They said they did not release the information until Friday because of the large area, remote access and challenges associated with securing the scene.

During the search, sheriff’s office leaders said detectives, search and rescue volunteers and forensic investigators had to access the scene on foot to recover the remains and collect evidence from well over 100 acres.

Authorities said the remains appear to have been there for some time. They do not know exactly how long they have been there or if any criminal activity is involved.