Taneesha Brown found in frozen Markham pond, police say

The body pulled from a frozen pond in Markham on Saturday was that of 25-year-old Taneesha Brown, who has been missing for nearly two weeks, York police have confirmed.

Brown, 25, was last seen alive the night of Jan. 12

York police say they spotted a bit of white fabric in the ice, and then found the frozen remains about 1.5 metres from shore. (Michael Cole/CBC)

The body pulled from a frozen pond in Markham, Ont., on Saturday was that of 25-year-old Taneesha Brown, who has been missing for nearly two weeks, York police have confirmed.

The coroner's office made the positive identification shortly after a search team of at least 25 police officers managed to free Brown's body from the frigid waters of a pond near Edward Jeffreys Avenue and Highway 48, an area about 40 minutes northeast of downtown Toronto.

Brown's family has been notified, York Regional Police Staff Sgt. Rob Bentham told CBC News.

The body had no obvious signs of trauma, and police do not believe there was any suspicious activity associated with her disappearance. 

"It certainly appears from the circumstances that Taneesha has been in that body of water since the night she went missing," Bentham said.

Police also found some personal items in the pond. (Michael Cole/CBC)

"This search has been going on for so long now. We are just glad this has been resolved for the family," Bentham said. 

In a Facebook post, Brown's mother Kim Mazerolle wrote that "she seems to have been walking along the edge of the pond and fell in."

"We thank everyone for the support and heartfelt condolences," she added. 

Clothing clue

Saturday's recovery effort began after police spotted a bit of white fabric in the ice, which is consistent with what Brown was wearing the night she went missing. 

Her frozen remains were eventually found about 1.5 metres from the shore, shortly before noon.

Members of the family spent the day with police as they used chainsaws and dive teams to pull her body from the pond.
Brown's mother Kim Mazerolle posted this photo to Facebook along with a message thanked the public for the support and condolences. (Kim E Mazerolle/Facebook)

The recovery came after weeks of failed searches that included four major co-ordinated efforts in the area where Brown disappeared. Previous searches included remote underwater vehicles and an aerial helicopter search. 

Her family assisted police throughout the process, and her brothers plastered posters with a picture of their sister on hydro poles throughout Markham.

Late-night encounter

The pond is just a few blocks away from Bur Oak Secondary School, where Brown was last seen alive.

Police had been looking for Brown since Jan. 12. At around 10:30 p.m. that night, she stepped outside of her aunt's house, telling her family she was just getting some fresh air. She did not return.
Taneesha Brown went missing on Jan. 12 when she told her family she was going out for some air but never returned. (Alison Chiasson/CBC)

Brown was then seen about 20 minutes later when she had a brief conversation with a man near the school.

The encounter was caught on surveillance video and the man, whose identity has not been released, later told police Brown had said she was going on a "new journey." He also noted that she was not dressed for winter weather. 

Her brother told CBC News that Brown had been taking medication for bipolar disorder and paranoid schizophrenia, but had recently gone off her medication because she believed she could heal herself through faith.

She left her aunt's house wearing a traditional Muslim outfit: a white, knee-length dashiki, with white pants and a white hijab. She was carrying a black purse.


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