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Nearly 200 cases of unidentified human remains mapped in B.C.
An image from the BC Coroners Service unidentified human remains map. (BC Coroners Service)
A new interactive map launched by the BC Coroners Service will let people dig into almost 200 cases involving unidentified human remains.
The unidentified human remains (UHR) tool is an interactive, web-mapping program with statistical data on every active, unsolved UHR investigation in the province.
The goal of the project is to generate new leads that will help close investigations.
“By reaching out and engaging members of the public with the launch of this innovative tool, it’s our hope to gain new investigative leads that will lead to the identification of these unidentified individuals and bring closure to their families,” said Lisa Lapointe, the province’s chief coroner.
In a news release, the coroners service said there are just under 200 unsolved and active cases in B.C., most of which involve cold cases. The grand majority of UHRs found in the province are located in the Lower Mainland, with some dating back 65 years.
Andy Watson with the BC Coroners Service said the project was motivated by one of their five core questions: who died?
“This is an important question for us to answer; when we have unidentified human remains, we know there is a family out there still searching for answers,” Watson told CTV News. “And so it’s important for our agency to provide the service to those looking for closure and we do whatever we can to achieve that goal.”
The new map will give viewers a visual overview of the approximate location where human remains are found, along with case numbers and a summary of any key information acquired in investigations.
Watson said the human remains map took about a year-and-a-half for the service’s spatial information analyst Ian Charlton to develop.
Watson said anyone with information or questions about the cases should contact the province’s Special Investigations Unit with the case number to BCCS.SIU@gov.bc.ca, and that any and all information helps investigators.
“It might just be that missing piece to the puzzle that helps us to conclude an investigation by getting a positive ID and match.”
The map can be accessed here.