A hip implant has allowed police in southern B.C. and northern Washington to solved a five-year-old cross-border double mystery.
In 2008, a hiker found skeletal remains entangled in some riverbank trees along the Okanogan near Malott, Wash.Malott, Washington
A U.S. medical examiner determined the remains were from a man, who would have been between 20 and 50 years old. The man had also undergone hip surgery, and a metal "Trochanteric Nail" and end cap had been implanted.
But beyond that, police had no more clues as to the identity of the man or how he got there.
Last spring, during a weekly joint law enforcement meeting, Washington State police representatives mentioned to Osoyoos RCMP they were still trying to solve the case of the found remains near Malott.
Osoyoos RCMP and sheriffs from Okanogan County worked together to track down records of the lot number stamped into the metal parts. However, the records they found didn't provide any definite information about which parts went to which person.
Almost a year later, an investigator with the B.C. Police Missing Persons Centre was reviewing cold cases in the South Okanagan area. He remembered the case of a missing man who had undergone a similar hip surgery. The investigator got copies of the missing man's medical records, and sent them to U.S. authorities.
In the U.S., a forensic anthropologist, working with the records, was able to confirm the remains were those of Miguel Joao Goncalves, who was born in 1961.
Goncalves' family in Keremeos had reported him missing in Nov. 2007.
RCMP Cpl. Dan Moskaluk said the Goncalves family has been notified of the discovery.
"Advancing both these investigations to the point of a successful conclusion for the family involved is indicative of the collaborative efforts that exist between BC RCMP resources and the strong working relationship between the BC RCMP and our U.S. counterparts," Moskaluk said in a written statement.
"It also showcases that files are never closed until solved."
Moskaluk said police do not suspect Goncalves' death was a result of foul play.