Belanglo bones are human: NSW police
Bones and a skull found in the notorious Belanglo State Forest are almost certainly human, NSW police say.
Investigating officers say they are keeping an open mind about the discovery in the NSW southern highlands forest, where serial killer Ivan Milat killed and buried his victims in the 1990s.
Goulburn Local Area Commander Acting Superintendent Evan Quarmby said detectives would await the results of a post-mortem examination and DNA tests.
"Hopefully, they will shed some light on the identity of the deceased and a cause of death," Supt Quarmby said.
Trail bike riders came across the skeletal remains in a heavily wooded area of the forest, known as Dalys Waterhole, about 3.15pm (AEST) on Sunday.
The bones were found a short distance from a fire trail, beside a large fallen tree.
A crime scene was set up and specialist forensic officers called in while a search was conducted until nightfall.
A more extensive search of surrounding bushland is in progress on Monday.
Local detectives have formed Strike Force Hixson to investigate the discovery and are being assisted by State Crime Command's Homicide Squad.
Supt Quarmby said the investigation is in its infancy and police will pursue all avenues of inquiry.
"It is early days and far too soon for us to know exactly what's happened," he said in a statement.
"Obviously there is a lot of speculation surrounding this discovery but we definitely will not be jumping to conclusions.
"There are many lines of investigation to explore."
He also appealed for public assistance.
"I'd urge anyone with any information that might help us progress this investigation to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000," Supt Quarmby said.
Milat, who is serving seven life sentences, buried the bodies of seven backpackers in a series of shallow graves in the Belanglo forest after a killing spree in the 90s.
It has long been suspected he may have been involved in several other killings.
However, former assistant commissioner Clive Small, who was the lead investigator in the Milat killings, said he was sceptical about the remains found on Sunday because Milat buried his victims well away from fire trails.
"In this case ... the remains were right beside the trail," Mr Small told Fairfax Radio Network.
"That would be inconsistent with the pattern that Milat had used."
Mr Small said the search for the remains of Milat's victims during the 90s had been extensive.
"The bodies that Ivan was charged with were in a relatively small area," he said.
"It was a very comprehensive search. There were several hundred police involved.
"So I wouldn't say we missed anything at this stage.
"We will have to wait and see."
One of the trail bike riders who discovered the remains says the group was sure they were human after finding a skull.
The rider, named as Andrew, told Macquarie Radio the group of eight to 10 riders were regular visitors to the forest.
They had ridden past the area where the remains were discovered a number of times but this time they ventured a little further into the bush.
"We've ridden past there, I couldn't say how many times, yeah, and this time we decided to chuck a U-turn, and because it's quite a narrow track we had to just skip into the bush a bit," Andrew said.
They saw what looked like leg bones near a log.
"We were, I guess, curious as to what they were, thinking they might be kangaroo ... but they looked a little too big to be an animal," he said.
"They were in the open ... a little bit off the track.
"Initially, we weren't sure until we walked a bit further into the scrub and behind the log - that's when we actually found the skull.
"That's when we called the police. We were definitely sure they were human."
Andrew said police responded quickly and the riders met officers near the entrance to the forest and guided them to the site.