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Calgary Police identity missing man through DNA program

Last Updated Nov 26, 2019 at 1:27 pm MST

(PHOTO: Tom Ross, 660 NEWS)

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – For the first time in Canada, the body of a missing man has been identified thanks to the RCMP National Missing Persons DNA Program.

In Oct. 2017, the body of a man was found inside a tent along the Nose Creek Pathway, south of 16 Ave. in Calgary.

Police were unable to identify the man through traditional methods like fingerprinting. The Medical Investigator was able to determine the man was between 25 and 50 years old and stood 5’4″ tall.

The only personal possessions the man had were a heavily damaged cell phone and SIM card.

The Digital Forensics Unit was able to recover some of the data stored on the phone, which led investigators to several chain emails alluding to the phone owner’s identity.

 

Police found out the man was originally from eastern Canada and was not reported missing.

While officers worked on piecing together the potential identity of the man, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner sent a DNA sample to a private laboratory.

On Oct. 25, 2019, the DNA hit came back matching the name of the man in the emails, confirming the phone did belong to the same man found in the tent in 2017. This is the first time DNA submitted to the National DNA Data Bank has been successfully used to identify human remains in Canada.

The man’s estranged family was later notified of his death.

“This was someone’s son, someone’s brother. Even though his death wasn’t criminal in nature, it was extremely important to the investigators that we identified him so that we could let his family know what happened to him,” said Staff Sgt. Martin Schiavetta, Calgary Police Service Missing Persons Unit.