OPP trying to identify cold case victim using 3D facial reconstruction

(Gananoque, ON)

Full face view of the 3D reconstruction of the “Evil Eye” victim created by OPP Forensic Artist Duncan Way. supplied by OPP

Not only is his name not known, but it is also hard to tell if anyone ever missed him. It is almost as if no one noticed he was gone, and that this man was to be erased from human memory.

“On October 21, 1989, a man’s body was discovered in the north ditch of County Road 14 in Stone Mills Township, three kilometres east of the village of Enterprise,” the Criminal Investigation Branch of the OPP said in a press release. “A gag was in the man’s mouth and his hands were bound.”

An article from the time published in the Whig Standard identified the person who found him as George Williams, retired, who had been out scavenging for bottles along the roadside. He found the body that morning in the weeds, back about seven and a half meters from the road, and notified police.

Although the area where he was found is rural it is not completely remote. A farm is within a few hundred metres of the site, and there would be traffic from passing school buses and commuters. Temperatures were running a few degrees below normal for October that year and although it was cloudy, no precipitation was recorded over the first three weeks of the month, so it is possible that these conditions helped to keep the body from being noticed. By the time it was discovered, the face had deteriorated was no longer recognizable, and identification was impossible.

Google Earth image of area in Stone Mills near Enterprise where the body was found – target marking indicates location. supplied by OPP

Little information has been provided at this time, however, Duncan Way, OPP forensic artist, has created a clay facial reconstruction to help jog memories of those who may have known the victim.

“Generally, a 3D facial reconstruction would take somewhere around 60 hours,” he said “The information I need in order to complete one is pretty minimal. I need to know ancestry, I need to know age, and I need to know sex.”

Working with this basic information as well as the skull, clothes and available photos of the victim, he applies his skills and creates realistic 3D reproductions of the person involved.  Skin colouring is approximated from the person’s ancestry, hair styles (type. texture and colour) may be taken from information found in those photographs or collected at the scene, and clothing is found to best resemble that which the victim was wearing when found.

“For this particular investigation, I received the basic information of the ancestry, which was South Asian; I received his age approximation, which was 35 to 55 years; and that he was a male person,” said Way. “I received photos from the original crime scene, I received clothing and photographs – all the photos and files that would be related to the case.

“This case was interesting because the Ontario Forensic Pathologists’ Service had a genealogical DNA profile created for this unidentified person and it did confirm that he was of South Asian ancestry.”

Way is the same artist who provided the bust for the Nation River Lady cold case (which is still under investigation). His work makes the victims come alive to the eye and can help jog memories of friends and loved ones to aid in identification.

Left side face view of the 3D reconstruction of the “Evil Eye” victim created by OPP Forensic Artist Duncan Way. supplied by OPP
Right side face view of the 3D reconstruction of the “Evil Eye” victim created by OPP Forensic Artist Duncan Way. supplied by OPP

The “Evil Eye” victim was 162 cm tall (5’ 4”), weighed between 49 and 54 Kg (110-120 pounds), and had perfect teeth with no dental work. His hair was straight and black, thinning at the temples and bald on top. When found he was wearing dark gray wool dress pants; a white short-sleeved Pierre Cardin dress shirt with thin red, blue and gray stripes; a long-sleeved Hunt Club pullover, the color noted as “reddish-tan” – red, black and gray with red being the predominant color – knit in a diamond pattern (not Argyle); grey socks with blue and red stripes; and black, loafer type shoes, size 8 ½. He also wore a heavy gold chain to which an “evil eye” pendant had been affixed with a safety pin.

The “Evil Eye” pendant found on the victim – attached to a heavy gold chain by a safety pin. supplied by OPP

He has been discussed on other websites as well and their information (added to that provided by the OPP) helps to fill in a few more of the details. They claim that he was strangled.

There is speculation on these other sites as to whether the evil eye was put on him after death by the murderer. With his taste in designer clothing, they see it as odd that he would not have had an equally high-quality piece of jewellery. Wearing an evil eye is supposed to ward off bad fortune. If it were placed on his body by whoever killed him, it may have been meant as some kind of ironic humour.

None of the speculation has been confirmed or denied by the OPP at this time.

“Forensic art is really about creating investigative tools and investigative leads in criminal investigations,” said Way. “(The only desired outcome) is to identify people. Whether we’re trying to identify a suspect in crime or whether we’re trying to identify unknown remains, my whole objective is identifying people.”

This man probably had people who cared about him somewhere, people who need to finally know what became of him and how to bring him home. The province of Ontario is offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for this man’s death.

“Any person with information regarding the person(s) responsible for the death should communicate immediately with the Director of the Criminal Investigation Branch, Ontario Provincial Police at 1-888-310-1122 or (705) 329-6111, their nearest police authority, or
Crime Stoppers, CIB File Number: 955-10-1989-153,” said the OPP. “This reward will be apportioned as deemed just by the Minister of Solicitor General for the Province of Ontario and the Commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police.”

To provide new information on the case call the dedicated missing persons hotline toll-free at 1-877-934-6363 (1-877-9-FINDME) in Canada only or 1-705-330-4144 from outside Canada, or submit information by e-mail at opp.isb.resolve@opp.ca

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