DNA testing identifies drowning victim

Newsroom EAP
DNA testing identifies drowning victim
One person from Clarence-Rockland was arrested in a country-wide operation fighting child exploitation. (Photo : file)

Police closed the file on a six-year-old drowning case.

The OPP have now identified the body of a man found along the shore of the Ottawa River near Wendover in mid-April 2017.

At the time police and the coroner’s office had been able to determine that the man had drowned. But there were no clues to his identity. All through 2017 police shared details and photos of the man’s appearance and clothing with other police departments and the general public as part of efforts to identify him.

Both police and the coroner’s office and the Ontario Forensic Pathology Service, under the director of the Ministry of the Attorney General, made use of the developing science of forensic genealogy to try and determine who the man was. Forensic genealogy uses an advanced DNA testing technique, known as investigative genetic genealogy (IGG) testing, to trace the genetic heritage of an individual or family group.

The method involves whole genome sequencing, which includes using gene samples from the body and matching them to other gene samples collected and stored in a database.

The testing determined that the man was born in 1966. Further investigation using standard police methods determined that he had no fixed address and been living on the streets of Ottawa prior to his death.

Police and representatives for Victims Services has met with the man’s family to inform them of his identity and death. Investigators have determined that there are no suspicious circumstances involved in the man’s death and his name will not be made public out of respect for the family’s privacy.

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