Pieces of a small skull that were found in a field south of town along U.S. Highway 395 last year have been found to be 600 to 770 years...

RITZVILLE — Pieces of a small skull that were found in a field south of town along U.S. Highway 395 last year have been found to be 600 to 770 years old, Adams County sheriff Douglas Barger says.

The results of FBI carbon dating ruled out any link to two missing children in the region, Barger said Monday.

Three bone fragments that were found on Oct. 12, 2006, after a backfire from a car started a fire in a field south of Ritzville were quickly identified as pieces of the skull of a child, but DNA testing was inconclusive.

No other bones or human remains were found in an ensuing search.

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Authorities hoped the remains might shed some light on the disappearance of 11-year-old Cody Haynes of Kittitas in September 2004 or 5-year-old Sofia Juarez of Kennewick in February 2003.

Richard Haynes, the missing boy’s father, was under scrutiny from authorities in Kittitas County. He reportedly told investigators he took a meandering 250-mile drive — including the stretch of U.S. 395 where the bones were found — in search of auto parts the night his son vanished. He said he believed his son was a runaway.

The little girl disappeared after being given $1 by her mother to buy candy at a convenience store.

The carbon-14 testing made it clear that the skull pieces were from an American Indian, so steps are being taken under federal law to return the bone fragments to tribal authorities, Barger said.

The Washington state Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation also has been contacted, Undersheriff John W. Hunt said.