New technology helped identify human remains found nearly 50 years ago on the shores of Saturna Island, as a missing man from the mainland.
In 1967, a 41-year-old man disappeared from the B.C. Interior and was last seen in Coquitlam on May 27. His family reported the disappearance to Kamloops RCMP, and police began an investigation that would span decades.
About five years later, human remains were found on a beach of Saturna Island, in the Strait of Georgia. Despite an autopsy the remains went unidentified and were buried on Salt Spring Island.
In 2020 they were exhumed, and a DNA profile was obtained, despite complications created by the state of decomposition. By comparing the remains with a sample of familial DNA from the missing man’s daughter, the BC Coroners Service special investigations unit was able to establish an identity.
“Through scientific advancements in identification processes, we are now able to solve such historic cases,” said Eric Petit, director of the BC Coroners Service special investigations unit. “In this instance, we were able to piece together the puzzle that had been challenging us on Salt Spring Island since in 1972.
“Through collaboration, we are able to work as one team with the ultimate goal to provide families the closure they had been seeking for more than 50 years.”
The family, who wish to remain anonymous, provided a message to RCMP.
“Thank-you from the family to all RCMP members, the coroners, and the team involved in dedicating their time and efforts to bring this missing persons case to a close.”