RCMP and New York artists put new face on old cold case

North Vancouver RCMP and the BC Coroners service are hoping a fresh look at some old remains will yield answers in a lingering cold case.

In August 1994, someone happened upon a body off a wooded trail in the northeast corner of Cates Park/Whey-ah-Wichen. The body was in “an advanced state of decomposition” so police brought in an entomologist who advised investigators the body had been there for “several months or more,” said Sgt. Peter DeVries, North Vancouver RCMP spokesman.

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What they could tell was the body belonged to an Asian man, between the ages of 25 and 40. He would have been 165 to 177 centimetres tall (5’5” to 5’10”) with a medium build and stained teeth. At the time of his death, he was wearing a blue tank shirt, green pants, black Casio watch, gold necklace and brown tweed Le Chateau sports coat.

Investigators could tell he’d once had a fractured wrist and a lower back injury, but they won’t say how he died, apart from deeming the death “suspicious.” Police cross-referenced what they knew with all known missing persons cases at the time, but still could not put a name to the face. Any other details about the case remain sealed in the police file.

But in January, the RCMP and the New York Academy of Art’s forensic sculpture workshop revealed the reconstructed faces of 15 unidentified bodies from Canadian cold cases, including three from the North Shore. Students applied clay directly onto 3D printed replicas of the victim’s faces to produce likenesses of what they may have looked like.

“We’re hoping that someone will recognize the reconstructed image of the person and that the added attention to the case might spark somebody’s memory and help us to identify this person so we can proceed with the investigation,” DeVries said. “It would give us a place to start with further enquiries.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact the North Vancouver RCMP at 604-985-1311.

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