Four months after the body of a girl, between 10 months and two years old, was found in the Grand River near Dunnville, Ont., police do not know who she is or how she died.
Emergency crews responded to a call around 1:22 pm on May 17, after bodies were found in the river.
OPP 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 been carried by the current from a different location.
On Wednesday, four months later, he told CBC News, “these things take time,” adding that doctors in the chief medical examiner’s office were doing “exciting work” related to the autopsy. the child
“We all want answers quickly,” Glassford said. “It is important for the community to know that we are still investigating this case. We want to identify this child.”
The child’s family has not been identified.
“We’re looking for missing children … really across Canada and the United States,” Glassford said in June, adding tips have come from all over the region and the U.S.
None of the suggestions lead to an identity.
Emily Holland, a research scientist in the department of biology at Brandon University in Manitoba, agrees that quick answers aren’t always possible in these cases.
He said “an autopsy can take different times depending on the complexity of the case” and finding the body in water makes finding answers more difficult.
“Water complicates the whole process,” he said. “It complicates the calculation of time since death and it complicates the calculation of where this person originally came from.”
Back in May, Wasyl Luczkiw, whose family owns the Grand River Marina and Cafe in Dunnville, said police used the business property as a base for their investigation, and used one of the marina’s boats to conduct the search.
The discovery of the body was “shocking and shocking and sad to hear that someone lost a loved one,” Luczkiw told CBC Hamilton, adding that he hopes the family can eventually find closure.
Holland said there are other complications in the identification process. He said there is a challenge that will make it difficult to determine the ethnicity of the young woman.
“If an individual has been dead for a long time, if the outer skin has been lost in the process of digestion, you cannot rely on that to determine someone’s ancestry,” he said. “For adults you can see specific parts of the skull but the same idea is not always possible for children, especially small children.”
In a statement from the coroner’s office, agent Stephanie Rea said, “Death investigations – especially complex ones – can take several months.”
“The lawyer needs to be able to answer five questions to complete an investigation: identity of the deceased, date of death, condition of death, medical cause of death, and manner of death,” he said.
The investigation is ongoing and Glassford said he is determined to find out the identity of the girls.
“We’re not going to stop until we get answers,” Glassford said.