updated 11/11/2008 3:36:28 PM ET 2008-11-11T20:36:28

Workers at a recycling plant found a man's body inside a 1,500-pound bale of paper, and investigators are trying to find out his identity and how he got there.

The body was found at Hamilton Manufacturing Inc. in Twin Falls, but investigators said the paper bale came from the Boise area, more than 100 miles northwest.

"The employees were shocked," Twin Falls police Capt. Matt Hicks said. "This is about the last thing in the world they expected to find at their job."

Police Sgt. Abe Blount in Garden City, near Boise, said the male victim is likely in his 50s and was wearing clothing consistent with a homeless person.

"We are fairly certain the bundle came from here, but the problem is (recycling center employees) pick up newspapers from a lot of different places all over," Blount said.

The Ada County coroner's office in Boise scheduled an autopsy Wednesday. Coroner Erwin Sonnenberg said that because of the unknown factors of the case, investigators are treating it like a homicide and are preserving forensic evidence.

Police say they are checking missing person databases, and may circulate a composite sketch to try to identify the man.

"It is just kind of a mystery to everyone right now," said Rick Gillihan, general manager of Western Recycling, the company contracted to operate Boise recycling programs.

Each day, the Boise center churns out dozens of the one-ton bales of recycled paper, collected from bins scattered around the county. It also receives large amounts of newspapers from commercial compactors.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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