Coroners service launches interactive map of unidentified human remains - InfoNews

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Coroners service launches interactive map of unidentified human remains

March 27, 2019 - 3:14 PM

From the unidentified body of a man with a crossed out tattoo to the bodies of two little boys found in Vancouver's Stanley Park more than 60 years ago, each of British Columbia's unsolved cases involving human remains has its place on a new interactive map.

BC Coroners Service spokesman Andy Watson says the goal is generate new leads in the 200 unsolved cases.

"The whole aim of this thing is to provide families with closure and bring answers to them," Watson said in an interview.

Each entry on the map shows the approximate location where the remains were found, case numbers for contact purposes and a summary of key information related to each unresolved case.

The earliest file listed on the site is the 1953 Babes in the Woods case involving two boys found dead in Stanley Park. The most recent case involves remains that were found last year.

Some have very little information, such as a body of unknown sex or age found near 100 Mile House in 1983. The person was estimated to be between five-feet and five-feet-six inches tall and the body was likely there between 10 and 50 years before it was discovered.

Other cases are quite detailed, such as the body of a 30- to 40-year-old man found near Kamloops in 1983 with tattoos that say "Edna," "Mary C," "Love," "Marlene," and a crossed-out "Karene."

A similar map exists in the United States, called the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, but Watson said he believes this is a first for Canada.

"We know that nationally, there's nothing in place that closely resembles this," he said. "Longer term, the hope is that we can work with other provinces and get this into a national system."

Viewers can find the map on the B.C. Map Hub, hosted by the provincial government. It was created by the coroners service's special investigations unit and a spatial information analyst.

Watson said the coroners service took the initiative on the project because its mandate is to answer the question of who died, as well as how, where, when and by what means.

"When we're missing one of the answers to our five questions, from an investigation standpoint, we don't feel our work is complete," he said.

"For somebody in the public that's thinking, 'Oh, well maybe I have something to offer but I'm not sure,' our message is, it may be that missing puzzle piece that links two or three other pieces together that we need to determine the identity."

News from © The Canadian Press, 2019
The Canadian Press

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