A skeleton was found the day after Christmas by construction workers renovating a house in North Highlands
A California man is behind bars following his arrest on Friday for allegedly murdering his former housemate, whose skeleton was discovered the day after Christmas buried in the North Highland backyard they shared, PEOPLE confirms.
According to a press release, the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department received a call on Dec. 26, 2017, from a construction crew renovating the house 12 miles northeast of Sacramento.
The caller told 911 dispatchers that bones had been unearthed in the backyard and that they appeared to be human, the statement says.
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“Sheriff’s Deputies responded and located some of the remains, which had surfaced from beneath the ground,” the statement reads. “Patrol deputies along with homicide investigators utilized various stages of verification and determined the remains were human.”
Over the next two days, investigators found the bones of an entire human skeleton.
The home was vacant at the time of the grisly discovery.
“It was not believed the remains were ancient and the matter was initially being investigated as a suspicious death,” the statement explains. Soon, investigators would learn that the victim, whose identity is being withheld, died as “the result of a homicide.”
The statement says 22-year-old Michael Christopher Sager was identified as a potential suspect, and on Jan. 5, was taken into custody.
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Investigators allege that Sager stabbed his housemate to death during the summer of 2015 following a verbal argument.
Police allege Sager buried the body in the backyard and moved out.
No one has ever filed a missing persons report for the victim.
Sager has not yet entered a plea to the charges against him and it was unclear Monday if he had retained an attorney who could comment on his behalf. He is being held without bail.