It has been five years since the body of an unknown woman was found in a forested area beside a picnic spot on Highway 7, just west of here.
Police are seemingly no nearer to finding out who she is and how she died, but it is not for lack of effort.
The OPP is now offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the identification of the female human remains. The OPP investigators on this case are treating the circumstances of the victim’s death as suspicious and suspect foul play was involved.
The members of the OPP Unsolved Homicide Investigations Team (UHIT) and Missing Persons Unidentified Bodies Unit (MPUB), along with the office of the Chief Coroner and the Ontario Forensic Pathology Service, are confident a reward will also lead to the apprehension of her killer.
Detective Inspector Ian Maule said during a press conference at the Rockwood police station on Aug. 26 the body of the woman indicated she was between ages 25 and 45, but police believe she was at the upper level of that age range.
Her body was found about 30 metres in the bush from the MTO picnic area, and Maule said police believe it was placed there at night. The dates for that act are estimated from July 15 to Aug. 14, 2005. The body was found Aug. 28.
Maule also revealed extra information that police hope will lead someone to help them with an identification. He said a Woods brand sleeping bag had been placed over the body, and it had likely been there a month before its discovery.
The victim is described as a white female, approximately 5 feet, 6 inches tall, weighing about 130 pounds, with light brown hair.
The autopsy revealed the victim had no recent injuries, but at some time in her life she experienced a broken left cheek, nose and left eye socket, which had since healed. As a result of these injuries, the deceased had lost one left front and two upper teeth, for which she wore a two-tooth, partial plate. That type of injury would have left her with a visible facial deformity.
Maule said the injury could have happened any time after age 18, but could have occurred as late as six months prior to her death. He noted that the partial dental plate was a low quality, and may have been a temporary device.
The autopsy also noted the woman had a healed broken left rib, and that might have occurred around the same time as her facial injuries.
No personal jewellery or identification was found with the deceased, and no tattoos. Investigators have established that the clothing she was wearing at the time of her discovery was purchased in the Montreal area. The woman was fully clothed when found. She was wearing a tank top, a pink Brassiere, a pair of low rise shorts and thong style underwear. No shoes were found with the body and Maule said police believe that is significant because it indicates that she did not walk to the site, and possibly died before being moved there.
The tank top was beige, size 10 to 12, with a round neckline and one inch wide shoulder straps. The brand name was Atmosphere, and it was made in Quebec.
The shorts were Illegal Jeanswear, and made in Bangladesh, but distributed by Roadrunner Apparel Inc. of Lachine, Quebec, near Montreal. The shorts were size 9, made of corduroy, and were black. They are described as very short, with a low waist, and with distinctive designer button down back pockets and a horizontal zipper front pockets.
The bra was 725 Originals size 34B that was sold in Wal-Mart stores across Canada. The underwear was white Rivage Intimate, and made in Bangladesh.
Maule said her clothing indicated “she dressed young for her age.”
The sleeping bag was sold by Canadian Tire across Canada, and manufactured in that colour until 2004, and police noted it was in good condition and helped preserve the body after it was left in the woods.
Maule said police believe the woman may have been spending some time in the Guelph to Brampton area and may be known as a recent arrival during the summer of 2005 to people who knew her.
Maule said the hunt for the woman’s identity has now gone international, with Interpol becoming involved and checking with dentists for a match of the partial plate and for missing persons. He said the search is focusing on Europe because the woman is white, and also in the United States.
“Once we are able to identify this individual, we will be able to establish her history and start to investigate the circumstances of her death,” Maule said.
He asked that anyone who might know anything contact their local police or Crime Stoppers.
“It defies logic why this woman, who was in the prime of her life, has not yet been identified,” he said.
He said during a question period that police have not been able so far to match the woman with a missing persons report, and, “She may have been a recent immigrant to Canada.
Police noted that as of Aug. 16 of this year, there are 7,048 people in Canada listed as missing and 1,450 of those are from Ontario. There are 331 people missing from the OPP’s jurisdiction.
Photos of the scene surroundings and other information that may help identify this person are available for the public to view at www.missing-u.ca and the OPP Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) Unsolved Investigations page on the OPP website at www.opp.ca
Anyone with information may contact the OPP, a local police service, Crime Stoppers, the Office of the Chief Coroner, or visit the Resolve Initiative website at www.missing-u.ca.