In an effort to identify human remains found in Kenora two years ago, Ontario Provincial Police have released new facial sketches of an unidentified woman whose remains were found on the outskirts of the city.
The sketches — drawn by a forensic artist — depict what the woman may have looked like about 25 years ago. That's about the time experts believe she underwent extensive reconstructive surgery on her jaw. The OPP will circulate the sketches to oral surgeons and orthodontists.
"We didn't know what she looked like," said Detective Constable Karen Rustige, the OPP’s case manager in Kenora.
"So this is a huge advancement for us and a huge technique, so that now we can actually go to the medical community that might have done her surgery, and identify her through those records."
Rustige said the woman was between 35 and 55 years old. Her body was discovered in a small tent located in a wooded area near Miller Rapids Road on June 17, 2009. She was about 5 feet 4 inches tall, weighed about 110 pounds and had shoulder-length light brown hair. She wore oval-shaped eyeglasses with wire upper rims.
Police believe foul play was not a factor in her death. The woman died from carbon monoxide poisoning in the tent where she was using a small gas stove.
'It's just a likeness'
Rustige said it has been an arduous investigation, but police are committed to learning the woman's identity.
"Everybody deserves to be buried with their identity — who they are," she said.
"And I believe that everybody has somebody out there who cared for them at some point and needs to know what happened to them."
The police forensic artist who did the sketches, Constable Rachel Zuidervliet, said it's an imperfect science.
"It’s just a likeness," she noted. "You never wanna say it's exact because it isn't. We carry a likeness through life and we had quite a bit of information with regards, to, ah the science behind this. So I'm hoping someone will recognize the likeness presented."
The sketches and other updated information on the case were released at a news conference Thursday at OPP headquarters in Orillia.