PORTLAND – Police are trying to identify human remains found in woods off St. John Street early Wednesday.

The skeletal remains were discovered at 2 a.m. by two men who were walking along a roughly 25-foot path stretching from the railroad tracks near St. John Street through woods to the rear of an apartment building in the 500 block of the street.

There are several paths in the vicinity. The one where the remains were found traverses a steep, overgrown embankment that would be difficult to climb.

The remains appear to have been there for several weeks, said police Lt. Gary Rogers.

“We don’t believe it’s suspicious,” Rogers said, but police will do a thorough investigation. There are no active missing-person cases consistent with the remains, he said.

The state medical examiner was called in to try to determine how the person died. An autopsy was performed Wednesday but police did not release results.

Police are examining clothing and belongings found with the remains, Rogers said. He said police have some leads, but he would not elaborate.

Determining the person’s identity will be difficult because police can’t take a photograph that anyone would recognize, nor can they get fingerprints from the remains, Rogers said.

The 500 block of St. John Street is a residential section near the intersection with Brighton Avenue. Not far from the trail are a convenience store, a fast food restaurant and a mental health clinic.

Rogers said the trail appeared to be little used. It’s not clear how the bones could have escaped notice for weeks and then be discovered in the middle of the night by two men looking for returnable cans and bottles.

Staff Writer David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at: [email protected]