Police collected the partial remains from a ravine behind Kohl's department store at the Shoppes at North Village in St. Joseph Tuesday morning.
They said the remains were located in an area that appeared to be a make-shift camp with a blue tarp, clothing and other items nearby.
Capt. Jeff Wilson said the cause of death is not known at this time, but that is something he hopes to learn from the examination at the forensics lab.
He said the top priority is identifying the remains.
"First and foremost, we want to determine who this is," said Capt. Jeff Wilson.
Officers responded to a call from someone who located the remains while walking in the area on Monday. Crime scene investigators waited until Tuesday to examine the remains due to the extreme cold.