A cultural tradition raised red flags at Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International on Wednesday afternoon when screeners found what appeared to be human skull parts in the belongings of two women. (Source: Broward Sheriff’s Office)
CBS Web Copy
FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. Baggage screeners at Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International got a surprise Wednesday afternoon when investigators say they found what appeared to be skull parts and teeth in the belongings of two women, CBS Miami reports.
According to the Broward Sheriff's Office, the women, whose names have not been released, were passing through security in Terminal 1 to catch an Airtran flight to Baltimore when the TSA agents spotted what appeared to be remains inside some wrapped ceramic pottery. The skull fragments were mixed in with dirt and rocks inside the pots.
Mike Jachles, with the Broward Sheriff's Office, said the two women had arrived in Miami from Cuba two days ago. While in Cuba, they purchased the pots for their homes. Jachles said the women were told the pots would ward off evil spirits.
Jachles says the women spoke with homicide detectives and were allowed to leave. Officials say the women took a later flight to Baltimore.
The Broward Sheriff's Office said there does not appear to be any foul play and the pots have been handed over to the Broward Medical Examiner's Office for investigation. The Department of Homeland Security is now handling the case.
Passengers had lots of questions about the find.
"What do you do with a skull and teeth?" said Lawrence Smith.
Others wondered whether the passengers knew what was in the pottery.
"I would imagine that they wouldn't know," said Lenesha Randolph. "If you buy souvenirs from another country you're admiring the outside and probably not looking at the inside of it. I'd be surprised to find a skull and teeth."
© 2013 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.