Four months after the body of a 10-month-old to 2-year-old girl was discovered in the Grand River near Dunnville, Ontario, police still don’t know who she is or how she died.
Emergency crews responded to a call around 1.22pm on May 17, after the remains were found in the river.
Det.-Insp. Shawn Glassford said in May it was unclear how long the girl had been in the water and whether the body could have moved with the current from a different location.
On Wednesday, four months later, he told CBC News that “those things take time,” adding that doctors in the chief pathologist’s office were doing “thorough work” related to the child’s autopsy.
“We all want answers fast,” Glassford said. “It is important for the community to know that we are still investigating this matter. We want to identify this child.”
The child’s family has also not been identified.
“We’re looking for missing children…really across Canada and the United States,” Glassford said in May, adding that tips had been received from across the province and the United States.
None of the tips have so far resulted in an identification.
Emily Holland, a forensic anthropologist in the department of anthropology at Brandon University in Manitoba, agreed that quick answers aren’t always possible in these cases.
She says an “autopsy can take different lengths depending on the complicated nature of the case” and that locating the body in the water makes it more difficult to find answers.
“Water complicates the whole process,” she said. “It complicates estimating time since death and it complicates estimating where that person is from.”
In May, Wasyl Luczkiw, whose family owns the Grand River Marina and Cafe in Dunnville, said police used the company’s property as a base for their investigation and used one of the boats in the marina to carry out the search.
The discovery of the body was “surprising and shocking and sad to hear that someone has lost a loved one,” Luczkiw told CBC Hamilton, adding that he hopes the family can eventually find the solution.
Holland says there are other complications in the identification process. She says there is a challenge that would make it difficult to determine the girl’s ethnicity.
“If an individual is long dead, if that outer layer of skin is lost in the process of decomposition, you can’t rely on that to determine someone’s ancestral origin,” she said. . “For adults, you can look at specific features of the skull, but that same type of assessment isn’t always possible for children, especially young children.”
In a statement from the coroner’s office, Rep. Stephanie Rea said, “Death inquests – especially complex ones – can take several months.”
“The coroner must be able to answer five questions to complete an inquest: the identity of the deceased, the date of death, the place of death, the medical cause of death and the manner of death,” he said. she declared.
The investigation is ongoing and Glassford said he is determined to find the girls’ identities.
“We’re not going to stop until we have some answers,” Glassford said.