Skull found 9 years ago in Whitehorse ID'd as missing B.C. man

Yukon RCMP say the remains belong to Terry Fai Vong of Port Coquitlam, B.C. Vong's remains were found by a mountain biker near Long Lake Road in October 2009, according to police.

Remains of Terry Fai Vong of Port Coquitlam, B.C., were found in October 2009 by a mountain biker

Nearly nine years after a human skull was found by a mountain biker on a Whitehorse trail, police have confirmed the identity of the dead person. (Katherine Barton/CBC)

Nearly nine years after a human skull was found by a mountain biker on a Whitehorse trail, police have confirmed the identity of the dead person.

RCMP say the remains are that of Terry Fai Vong of Port Coquitlam, B.C. Vong would have been 41 years old at the time his remains were found in October 2009, according to police.

Vong had been considered a missing person since 2007. Yukon RCMP say his death is not considered suspicious. 

In a news release on Friday, Yukon RCMP describe their unsuccessful efforts to identify the remains for years after the skull was first found near a trail located off Long Lake Road.

This digital device, discovered near the area where Vong's skull was found years earlier, ultimately helped police confirm the identity of the remains. (RCMP)

DNA analysis and forensic anthropology work done in 2009 determined that the remains belonged to a man, but police had little else to go on. The investigation continued, but seemingly led nowhere. 

"Tips were followed up on, leads were pursued, and DNA comparisons were completed with a number of missing people in hopes of solving the case and providing answers to the family," the release says.

Mountain bikers find more

Things changed a couple of years ago, again thanks to some mountain bikers.

According to police, in September 2016, two bikers found themselves off course near the Long Lake Road. As they carried their bikes through the bush and up a steep hill, they found clothing, a backpack, a walking pole, "and other items that appeared to have been there for a number of years," according to police.

A human skull was found by a mountain biker in October 2009 near Long Lake Road in Whitehorse. In September 2016, two more mountain bikers found several other items nearby, that ultimately helped RCMP identify the human remains. (RCMP)

The objects were found just 220 metres from where the skull had been.

"This may not appear to be a far distance from where the skull was found, but the location was actually on the far side of a very steep hill, in extremely rugged terrain," the RCMP release says.

Police later went back and searched the area again, and found several more items — money, a flashlight, a watch, sunglasses, and a "personal digital assistant device."

The digital device provided the key — police confirmed that it was bought online in 2006 by Vong. Police then confirmed that Vong had been a missing person since 2007.  

Yukon RCMP say the nine-year investigation involved the Yukon Coroners Service, Yukon Search and Rescue, several Yukon RCMP units, and Coquitlam RCMP.

"It is by working together over the past nine years that we were able to provide long-awaited answers to the family and friends of Mr. Vong," the release says.