Three Hamilton police mounted units and a team of forensic experts are searching for the remains of a Stoney Creek woman in a field near Winona, Ont.

Shirley Treadwell, 62, is believed to have died sometime in 2009. Police and volunteers are combing an area of farmland about 37 acres in size, from Barton Street to Highway 8 and Glover Road to Jones Road, where Treadwell's remains are thought to be located.

A team of 19 officers — including search and rescue, the mounted unit, the action team and patrol division — has been called in. University of Toronto forensic expert Dr. Tracy Rogers, director of forensic anthropology, and 14 of her students are also at the scene assisting Hamilton Police with the homicide investigation.


University of Toronto forensic expert Dr. Tracy Rogers is helping Hamilton Police with the search. (Adam Carter/CBC)

Rogers told CBC Hamilton that her expertise is locating and identifying human remains and burial sites, looking for things that police might otherwise miss. 

"Police experience is often looking for missing people — so they're looking for full, complete people," she said. "I specialize more in finding individuals afteter they've died and maybe been scavenged."

Staff Sgt. Paul Evans said "we're using a number of techniques because of this field and the terrain. We're moving fairly well through the field, but it is a lot of open field."

Evans wouldn't say if the search party has found anything or what prompted police to search the fields in the first place. Police were alerted to Treadwell's death in July 2012.

Treadwell had a mental disability. Her niece and caregiver Melinda Evans was charged with indignity to a human body and fraud charges in September of this year. Evans allegedly disposed of her aunt's body and collected disability cheques.

The search should take two days, police said.

Rogers said she expects to be at the site all day Thursday, and is not sure if she and her students will be called back on Friday.


Three mounted Hamilton police units and 16 people search a field near Winona, Ont. (Google Maps)