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Police release 3D ‘facial approximation’ of child whose body was found in Ontario’s Grand River in 2022

In an effort to find out who she was and how she died, police have released an image that might help identify a child whose remains were discovered in the Grand River in Dunnville, Ont., southeast of Hamilton, almost two years ago.

Remains were found in Dunnville, Ont., southeast of Hamilton, near Lake Erie

Police with the OPP's search and recovery unit were seen in the area earlier this week, with officers on a boat, on shore and in the water combing the river.

WARNING: This story contains details that may be distressing to some readers. It also contains an illustrated image of a deceased child.

In an effort to find out who she was and how she died, police have released an image that might help identify a child whose remains were discovered in the Grand River in Dunnville, Ont., southeast of Hamilton, two years ago.

On May 17, 2022 Ontario Provincial Police began investigating after the remains of a girl were found in the Grand River by two people out fishing, police said.

Early Monday morning, police released what they described as a "3D facial approximation" of the girl in hopes that someone may be able to help identify her. They also said "a $50,000 reward, provided by the Government of Ontario, is also now available for information leading to" her identity.

The statement said "the child was between the ages of 10-and-a-half months and three years at the time of her death" and "the child's heritage is half Chinese or neighbouring countries along the southern Chinese border, and is of North African heritage as well."

OPP Det.-Insp. Shawn Glassford said, in the statement, that "we need the community's help in this disturbing and tragic case involving a young child. We hope that the 3D facial approximation will spark someone's memory and that they come forward. Together, we can give this child her name back."

Police also released a video on Monday that included statements from officers involved in the investigation and showed visuals from the area in the river where they have searched.

Dunnville, a town of about 12,000 people, sits about 55 kilometres southeast of Hamilton, close to where the Grand River meets Lake Erie.

OPP Det.-Const. Darryl Graham said in the video that the investigation was challenging in part because "there were no dental records… It's very likely the child had never been to a dentist."

Factor that 'complicates the whole process'

In September 2022, Emily Holland, a forensic anthropologist in the department of anthropology at Brandon University in Manitoba, told CBC News that an "autopsy can take different amounts of time depending on the complicated nature of the case" and locating the body in water makes finding answers more difficult.

"Water complicates the whole process," she said. "It complicates estimating time since death and it complicates estimating where this person originally came from."

In 2022, police said the child "had been in the water for a period of time." They also said they pursued tips that had come in from across Ontario and the U.S. related to missing children but none led to an identification.

In the video released Monday, Glassford said they still weren't sure how long the child's body was in the water.

In the same video, Dr. Carolyne Lemieux, a forensic pathologist, said "her post-mortem examination has been hampered by putrefactive decomposition changes that have occurred as a consequence of being immersed in water."

Back in May of 2022, Wasyl Luczkiw, whose family owns the Grand River Marina and Cafe in Dunnville, said police used the business's property as a base for their investigation, and used one of the marina's boats to conduct the search.

The body's discovery was "surprising and shocking and sad to hear that somebody lost a loved one," Luczkiw told CBC Hamilton at the time, adding he hoped the family could eventually find closure.

Police are asking that anyone with information that may help identify the child or "knows of a family who may have left town suddenly or moved away under circumstances that could now be considered suspicious" contact police.


Conrad Collaco


Conrad Collaco is a CBC News producer for CBC Hamilton with extensive experience in online, television and radio news. Follow him on Twitter at @ConradCollaco, or email him at conrad.collaco@cbc.ca.

    With files from Dan Taekema, Cara Nickerson and Ali Chiasson

    Credit belongs to : www.cbc.ca

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