Ottawa, Ontario – A missing person case in Niagara, Ontario, represents the National Missing Persons DNA Program’s (NMPDP) milestone 50th case that was solved with the help of DNA.
The Sir Adam Beck Generating Station is approximately 10 kilometers North of the Canadian and American Falls. As part of routine maintenance, the power generating station is required to drain and dredge the hydro dams to ensure efficiency. The maintenance took place over the course of four days in November 2021, during which time two bones were found. One was determined to have been the pelvis of a deer and the other a human femur bone.
The femur bone was confirmed to belong to a male. On April 12, 2022, the DNA profile was uploaded to the RCMP’s National DNA Data Bank. On April 20, 2022, there was a positive match between the DNA of the located femur bone and that of a male from the City of Niagara Falls who had been reported missing by his family in September 2011.
The DNA match was made possible by the deceased male’s mother, who voluntarily provided a DNA sample to the RCMP DNA Data Bank to assist with a future comparative analysis. As a result of the investigative process, the family has been able to obtain some sense of closure regarding the disappearance of their loved one. Further details regarding this case are being withheld as the family has requested privacy.
Operated by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the National Missing Persons DNA Program was established in 2018 to provide support to law enforcement agencies for their missing persons and unidentified remains investigations. Through this program, DNA profiles are developed, uploaded and continuously compared at the national level at no cost to the investigating agency.
“This milestone highlights the importance of the NMPDP and the effort everyone makes to ensure its success. The NCMPUR is committed to working with partners and stakeholders to develop new and innovative ways to locate human remains, find missing persons, and bring much needed answers to families and communities.”
“This case also illustrates the importance of family participation. We encourage families to contact their local police force to report a missing family member and consider providing a DNA sample for future comparative analysis. Without the participation of families, this milestone could not have been reached.” – Dr. Roberta Sinclair, Ph.D. Manager, Strategic Police and Research, Strategic and Operational Services
“This missing person investigation has been on-going for the greater part of the past decade and has left the mother of the deceased devastated, wondering if she would ever find her son again. Regardless of the amount of time that has passed, families need answers, they want closure, and it is our responsibility to do everything we can to provide this to them.” – Detective Constable Sara Mummery Missing Person Coordinator with the Niagara Regional Police Services
Each year in Canada, there are approximately 62,000 individuals reported missing and 40 unidentified human remains discovered.
There are currently just over 8,000 open missing persons and 760 open unidentified remains cases in the Missing Children/Persons Unidentified Remains Database.
In 2018, the RCMP created the National Missing Persons’ DNA Program – a collaboration between National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains (NCMPUR) and the National DNA Databank.
The RCMP manages Canada’s Missing, which is a public database of missing persons and unidentified remains. Cases are added to Canada’s Missing at the discretion of the lead investigator.
In early 2020, the RCMP partnered with the New York Academy of Art to re-construct the skulls of 15 unidentified Canadian remains located in Canada. Three of those were subsequently identified. In 2021, advanced imaging techniques were used to provide interactive 3D models for the remaining cases, in another collaborative pilot.
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