Tim Bosma case: Remains found in incinerator could not be ID'd

The charred remains found in a livestock incinerator on Dellen Millard's farm could not be positively identified, the trial into the slaying of Tim Bosma heard Tuesday.

Trial of Dellen Millard and Mark Smich hears 'most of the remains were ashes'

Tim Bosma vanished after going on a test drive with two men who said they were interested in a truck he was trying to sell in May 2013. The trial of two men accused of murder in his death is now in its fourth week. (Facebook)

The remains found inside a livestock incinerator on Dellen Millard's farm could not be positively identified, the jury in the Tim Bosma murder trial heard in a Hamilton court Tuesday.

Though scientists tried various methods of identification through DNA and dental records, the bone shards and a piece of tooth found in the incinerator were too damaged to conclusively identify the person they came from, forensic expert John Fernandes told jurors.

"Most of the remains were ashes," he said.

"Unfortunately with cremated remains, DNA is very rapidly and completely destroyed," Fernandes said. "We can never retrieve DNA from ashes."

The two men accused of killing Bosma — Millard, 30, of Toronto, and Mark Smich, 28, of Oakville, Ont. — have both pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in Ontario Superior Court.

Not ascertained

Prosecutors believe that Bosma, who lived in the suburban Ancaster area of Hamilton, was burned after being shot and killed at close range inside a Dodge pickup truck he had been trying to sell online.

Bosma was last seen on May 6, 2013, leaving his home with two men who wanted to test drive the vehicle.

Investigators found this piece of a tooth inside a livestock incinerator found on a farm in Ayr, Ont., owned by Dellen Millard. (Court exhibit)

Fernandes testified that he weighed the remains that were recovered from the incinerator, and they totalled 503 grams. Though the Crown alleges Bosma was shot, Fernandes said that the bone remains weren't sufficient to determine if a shooting happened in this case.

"At the end of the day ... the most I can come up with is these are human remains," he said.

"I cannot tell the cause of death. It wasn't ascertained."

Court also heard from forensic dentistry expert William Barlow, who described the ultimately fruitless efforts to try to identity the remains from part of a tooth that was recovered from the incinerator.

Barlow said he couldn't determine if the tooth belonged to Bosma. "I could not say from the sample I had available," he said. "It had the appearance of a human tooth."

No DNA could be recovered from the tooth, Barlow testified, because of heat damage.

DVR found at home of Millard's girlfriend

This afternoon, court also heard from Det. Const. Mark Wilson, a Hamilton police officer, who conducted a search warrant at the family home of Christina Noudga in 2014. The Crown has identified Noudga is Millard's girlfriend.

Investigators were at the Etobicoke, Ont., home searching for a digital video recorder (DVR), Wilson testified. 

Police say they found this digital video recorder inside a closet at the home of Christina Noudga, Millard's girlfriend. (Court exhibit)

Police seized a DVR that was found under a pile of clothes in a closet in Noudga's bedroom.

In the Crown's opening address to the jury, assistant Crown Craig Fraser said that Millard had taken the DVR from the MillardAir hangar at the Waterloo International Airport and given it to his girlfriend to hang onto, without explanation. 

"The police examined the contents of the video and the Crown intends to prove that Dellen Millard and Mark Smich are in the hangar on May 7 at around 1:30 a.m. — during the time the Crown says the remains of Tim Bosma were being incinerated inside The Eliminator, just outside the hangar doors," Fraser said.

CBC reporter Adam Carter is in the courtroom each day reporting live on the trial. You can view a recap of his live blog here:

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