A facial reconstruction of a human skull found in Digby County in September 2019 has taken place in the hope that it can help to identify who the person is.
On Sept. 8 of last year, a body was found on a beach in Sandy Cove, Digby County. But months later the RCMP still don’t know who the person is and so the public is being asked for its help. Earlier this month clothing that was worn by the person was released. Now a photo has been released of what the person is believed to have looked like.
The skull found in Digby County was one of 15 skulls from Canada that were reconstructed at a New York Academy of Arts Forensic Sculpture workshop that took place last week. A media release issued by the Nova Scotia Justice Department says students at the workshop used clay to create facial reconstructions.
The investigation to identify the human remains found in Digby has been a complex one. Late last year the National Research Council made its way to Nova Scotia to perform a 3D scan of the skull found in the province, the Justice Department says. The scan was printed and later turned over to the RCMP's National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains, which has been leading the co-ordination of the facial reconstruction initiative.
Photographs of the recent skull reconstructions that were performed at the New York Academy of Arts Forensic Sculpture workshop, including the one from Digby, have been posted on the Canada's Missing website. which were photographed and placed on Canada's Missing. That is a national public website that features information on missing children, missing persons and unidentified remains cases.
"This partnership offers a unique opportunity for Canadians to take part in helping give these individuals a name,” Dr. Matthew Bowes, chief medical examiner for the province of Nova Scotia, was quoted as saying in the release. “I encourage Nova Scotians to view the photo and where appropriate, submit a tip. Your contribution could help solve a mystery and help provide closure for families."
Anyone who may have information about who this person whose remains were found in Digby is asked to contact the Nova Scotia Medical Examiner Service, Digby RCMP or Crime Stoppers. Individuals may also wish to send an email to the National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains at firstname.lastname@example.org .
"We're hoping that this reconstruction may help identify who this person was," added Attorney General and Minister of Justice Mark Furey in the media release. "Seeing a face may prompt people to recall important information that could help identify this individual and solve their case."
Facial reconstruction is a method used to identify unknown missing persons after traditional identification methods such as fingerprinting and DNA testing fail to provide a result.
The skulls that were selected for reconstruction were selected based on their condition. No considerations were given to gender, race or circumstances of death.
It has been noted that while the skull was found in Digby, it does not mean the individual was a resident of Nova Scotia.
The Canada’s Missing website says it appears that the remains found in Digby County had washed up on shore in Sandy Cove. An autopsy indicated that the remains might have been those of a middle-aged man. The website estimates the person’s age to be between 30 and 60.
Photos of the unidentified person’s clothing that the RCMP had previously released included a pair of denim bootcut pants. The brand was Urban Heritage. Waist: 36, Length 34. The person was also wearing a pair of leather, black and yellow high cut workboots that are the "Terra" brand and were said to be a size 9.
Chief Supt. Marie-Claude Arsenault, the officer in charge of Sensitive and Specialized Investigative Services with the RCMP, says the RCMP are grateful for the support it has been receiving in trying to solve this case.
"The RCMP are very pleased to be part of this unique partnership, which was made possible through the support and co-operation of many parties, including the Nova Scotia Medical Examiner,” Arsenault said. “Our hope is that by unveiling the reconstructed faces on Canada's Missing, someone may see a face they know."
RCMP Corp. Jennifer Clarke adds that the RCMP in Nova Scotia has been working with the National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains and the National DNA Databank for the National Missing Persons DNA Programs in Ottawa in this investigation.
“We have reached out to families whose missing loved ones may be involved and have requested DNA samples for comparison with these human remains,” she says. “That process is ongoing.”
She says the RCMP do not know how long the person has been dead. She also says they have been hearing from the public.
“We have received several tips and have forwarded all of the information to the investigators,” Clarke said on Jan. 14 when asked for an update on the investigation.
The provincial Justice Department, meanwhile, says since 2015, four visual identifications have been directly attributed to facial reconstructions performed during the workshop
A photo of the facial reconstruction and more information about the missing person discovered in Digby County can be found by clicking here.