Thunder Bay Lab hopes to help crack the decades-old treasure in the British Columbia Woods case

Thunder Bay Lab hopes to help crack the decades-old treasure in the British Columbia Woods case


A university laboratory in Thunder Bay, Ontario, successfully extracted DNA samples from the remains of two unidentified children found in Vancouver as part of an ongoing effort to find answers to the nearly 70-year-old Woods baby case.

Investigations have been advancing by leaps and bounds since 1953, when a gardener working in Stanley Park found the remains of two boys aged 7 and 8 under a woman’s coat, as well as believed to be used as The axe of the murder weapon.

The police estimated that they were killed in 1947, but the identities of the two boys-believed to be brothers-have never been discovered.

“Who are they…this is the biggest question,” said Brian Honeybourn, a retired Vancouver Police Department police chief who was involved in the case in the late 1990s.

“I don’t think the murderers will face any justice in court — they may no longer be there now — but if they can find out the identities of these children and return them, it would be great to have their names,” Honibo En told CBC News in an interview.

in May, Vancouver police announced They hope that an emerging field involving new crime-solving technologies (called forensic genetic genealogy) will achieve this goal.

At that time, sergeant. Steve Addison said in a statement: “We still don’t know who these boys are, why they are in Vancouver, or who killed them.”

Vancouver police said an axe was found next to the remains of a wooded area in Stanley Park, which was probably used to beat the boy. (Vancouver Police Department)

The first step is to extract DNA samples, a task that is complicated by the age of the remains and the large number of people who have processed them before. The remains were previously exhibited at the Vancouver Police Museum.

Dealing with bone fragments

But the ancient DNA laboratory of Lakehead University, Recently in the news According to laboratory technical manager Stephen Fratpietro (Stephen Fratpietro), he was able to successfully extract samples because he identified the work of a sailor from the doomed Franklin expedition in 1845.

“They did send us bone fragments, and this is what we have to deal with-just small bone fragments.” Fratpietro told CBC News. “We are able to extract…a large amount of DNA and send it to a whole-genome sequencing facility.”

The Hushou laboratory was selected specifically for its expertise in ancient remains, said Anthony Redgrave, the chief genetic genealogist of his company Redgrave Research Forensic Services and the person overseeing the entire process.

“I think if they can use ancient DNA, they can use things from the 50s.”

Stephen Fratpietro, technical manager of the Paleo-DNA laboratory at Lakehead University, hopes that his work in the Woods Baby case will help provide new clues to the Vancouver Police Department. (Logan Turner/Canadian Broadcasting Corporation News)

Redgrave said the DNA samples indicated that the two boys were half brothers.

The DNA samples are now handled by a genetic sequencing company in Alabama, which will extract large amounts of data from the samples. Then, a third company will screen out the most relevant genetic data before Redgrave can start looking at the private DNA database to find possible family connections with the two young boys.

Redgrave said this process is different from a standard forensic test because the team does not want to determine the victim’s identity, but is looking for the victim’s living relatives.

Forensic genetic genealogist Anthony Redgrave is studying the Woods Baby case. His team is using DNA matching data from the ancestry website to build a family tree for the two boys, whose remains were found in Stanley Park. (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation)

“Then we have to build their family tree and see how they are related to each other and how the people we are trying to identify fit into this dilemma,” Redgrave said.

In recent years, crime-solving techniques have only been used to solve unsuccessful crimes. Using 2018 forensic genetic pedigree, Washington State Police arrested a man In the double murder of a young couple from Saanich, British Columbia in 1987

Redgrave said that they are unlikely to find the birth records of the two little boys, but he hopes to identify the mother and father of the half-siblings.

“At that time, the rest of the investigation can continue, because you can’t really continue the homicide investigation without knowing who the victim is,” Redgrave said.

He added that the ultimate goal is to help find the long-awaited answers and bring some end to these families.

On the shore8:20Baby in the woods

The murder of the baby in the forest puzzled the local police for nearly 70 years. Listen to local crime historian Eve Lazarus explain the case and explain how the new DNA test solves one of the key mysteries. 8:20

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