Police in southern Ontario are providing new details in the hopes of identifying human remains found in the Niagara River in 2013. The newly released information suggests the remains belong to a man, and are “incomplete from the ankle down and elbows out.”
In a press conference held on Wednesday morning, police said the unidentified remains indicate the individual was male, between the ages of 40 and 60 years old, of African or African-European ancestry.
Analysis by forensic anthropologist Dr. Kathy Gruspier also determined the man was between 5'5' to 5'11" in height, and likely a smoker, as evidenced by dental discoloration.
Investigators believe the body was in the water for as long as three years.
Police said the remains were “disarticulated at the elbows and ankles” and “in a major state of decomposition.”
“The lower limbs from the elbow down were not complete with the body, nor were the feet,” Duncan Way, an OPP forensic artist and reconstruction analyst, told reporters.
Niagara Regional Police Supt. Brian Ash said the body was found and brought to shore near a “docking area” in the town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., on July 21, 2013.
Advanced decomposition of the body prevented immediate identification, including determination of gender and age. Police are using a 3D reconstruction of the man’s head and upper torso to continue the identification process.
No cause of death has been released.
Ash said Niagara Regional Police have recovered 45 bodies from the Niagara River in the past six years. Of those cases, five of the victims are currently unidentified.