Advances in DNA testing help OPP identify body found in Laurentian Hills outhouse in 2001

By Anil Jhalli

Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) announced that thanks to advances in DNA testing, they have been able to identify the body of a man found in Laurentian Hills 23 years ago.

A man’s body was located in an outhouse in a remote cross-country ski area on Sept. 5, 2001.

According to the OPP, the man had been using the outhouse for shelter for quite some time.

While the post mortem examination at the time was able to determine that the individual had died as a result of a medical condition, with no foul play, the person’s identity could not be confirmed.

Missing person reports and fingerprint records were checked with law enforcement and other agencies across Canada and the United States. Details were also released to the media.

The OPP, in conjunction with the Office of the Chief Coroner (OCC), Ontario Forensic Pathology Service (OFPS) and provincial Crown Attorney used advanced DNA testing, known as Investigative Genetic Genealogy (IGG) forensic genealogy. Through whole genome sequencing, the samples matched one collected from an individual listed in a family DNA tree. These results were then confirmed by additional family DNA testing by the OCC and OFPS.

The testing has confirmed that the body is that of man from Drumheller, Alberta, born in 1962.

It’s not known why he was in the area.

Investigators have spoken with the individual’s family. As the matter did not involve foul play, and out of respect for the family’s privacy, the man’s name will not be released.

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