Police identify body of man found in Ottawa River in 2017

By Anil Jhalli

The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) has been able to identify a man whose remains were found along the Ottawa River six years ago thanks to advancements made in DNA testing.

In April of 2017, police discovered a body in Wendover, which is east of Ottawa. According to the OPP, an autopsy determined that the cause of death was due to drowning, but his identity could not be determined.

OPP said that advanced DNA testing has provided more information about the man.

“The testing has revealed that the body is that of a male, born in 1966,” the OPP said in a media release. “He had been living on the streets of Ottawa prior to his death and had no fixed address.”

The OPP, in conjunction with the Office of the Chief Coroner (OCC), Ontario Forensic Pathology Service (OFPS) and Ministry of the Attorney General have now begun to use advanced DNA testing, known as Investigative Genetic Genealogy (IGG) testing or forensic genealogy. Through whole genome sequencing, the samples matched one collected from individuals listed in a family DNA tree. These results were then confirmed by additional family DNA testing by the OCC and OFPS.

“Investigators and Victim Services have met with the individual’s family to share the news,” said the OPP. “As the matter did not involve foul play, and out of respect for the family’s privacy, we will not be releasing the male’s name.”

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