updated 2/28/2008 9:17:51 PM ET 2008-02-29T02:17:51

Police investigating widespread child abuse at a closed children's home said Thursday they made finds of "some significance" in the rubble of an underground chamber where children are thought to have been physically abused and punished.

"They are items which witnesses have said were in there when offenses were committed against them," deputy police chief Lenny Harper told reporters outside the building on the British island of Jersey where the abuses are said to have occurred.

Harper, who heads the investigation, would not, however, say what items were found or what they were used for.

He cautioned that it may take weeks for police and forensics teams to complete a meticulous search for human remains on the property of Haut de la Garenne, the former home for troubled and delinquent youth.

The evidence already includes the buried skull of a child found Saturday.

He said police have a number of suspects in the case but are not planning to bring them in for questioning until the "best evidence" is obtained. One elderly man has already been charged with three counts of indecent assault for attacks on three young girls.

Forensics specialists widened their search Thursday, digging up parts of a hillside marked with yellow flags. Sniffer dogs were also there to search for human remains and dried blood.

The Haut de la Garenne facility opened in 1867, but the police inquiry is focused on events that took place in the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s before it closed in 1986. It later reopened as a youth hostel.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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