Peel, Toronto police working together on human remains case
Published Saturday, August 18, 2012 11:18AM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, August 18, 2012 11:17PM EDT
Peel Regional Police have confirmed that they are now working with Toronto Police after investigators found remains in the city’s east end.
Toronto Police announced Saturday that remains were found near the intersection of Kennedy Road and Bonis Avenue around 1 p.m. Police said it is too early to say if the remains are human.
Const. Wendy Drummond told CP24 the coroner’s office has been notified to determine if the remains are human and if there is any connection to the ongoing Peel investigation.
The Toronto Police announcement came on the same day as a team of cadaver dogs, police divers, police officers and members of the OPP assembled on the banks of the Credit River in Hewick Meadows Park to continue their sweep of an area where a collection of body parts was discovered in recent days.
Since Wednesday, a severed human foot, head and two hands were discovered near the edge of the river in the Mississauga park.
Const. George Tudos of the Peel Police told reporters that the investigation is a first for the police force.
“This is pretty horrific, I mean it’s not something common at all within our jurisdiction,” he said. “This is probably one of the most, I guess, horrific findings that we’ve had here.”
Police extended their search to cover an area that spans a four kilometre radius from the site where the severed foot was found, CP24 reporter Cristina Tenaglia told CTV News Channel Saturday.
In their search, investigators will be “leaving no stone unturned” and will be picking up any items along the way in the hopes that the evidence might help them identify the body, said Tenaglia.
Tenaglia said pathologists are trying to use all the gathered body parts to determine who the victim is.
“Investigators believe this is a woman, but pathologists need to determine this for sure,” Tenaglia said.
The best description so far is that of the severed foot with the yellow toe nail polish on it, said Tenaglia.
“Other than that, they say there are no distinguishing features – nothing like any tattoos, or ring on the hand that could perhaps help distinguish this person from someone else,” Tenaglia said.
Investigators estimate that it could take another week before a pathology report is produced, said Tenaglia.
Residents who live close to the park said they are disturbed by the gruesome discoveries.
“I just think it’s awful, you know it really bothers me that someone did that,” said one resident.
Another resident said she felt some comfort by the police presence.
“Look I think something horrible has happened, but I think police are on top of it,” she said.
Investigators probe possible connection
Peel investigators said it’s too early to say if there is a connection between the remains found in Toronto and the body parts found in Mississagua, only saying that they are now “working together.”
On Friday, Sgt. Pete Brandwood noted that Peel police have not confirmed whether all of the dismembered parts belong to the same body, but said a connection is likely.
The Credit River begins north of Caledon and empties into Lake Ontario. Police said it’s possible the remains may have drifted down the river from where they were originally discarded.
Heavy rains hit the area earlier in the week, police noted, possibly pushing additional evidence downstream. A marine team has been scouring the water, while dozens of officers have searched the surrounding on foot.
The investigation began Wednesday when hikers located a foot while walking along a trail in Hewick Meadows. In the following days, officers discovered a severed head and two hands.
Police said the condition of the foot suggested it ended up in the water fairly recently, while its size indicates the remains belonged to an adult rather than a child.
Searchers have also discovered clothing in the area.
Tests on the remains are being conducted at the Ontario's Centre of Forensic Sciences. Police are still awaiting the results of a post-mortem exam that was scheduled for Friday morning.
Without a definitive cause of death, police are reluctant to label the grisly discovery a murder, but say there is “foul play” involved.
Meanwhile, homicide detectives said Friday that they’re looking into all missing person cases within Peel region and neighbouring jurisdictions.
With a report from CTV Toronto’s Ashley Rowe