Ottawa

Mystery of Manotick human bones in hands of forensics team

The story behind the discovery of human bones at a work site in the south Ottawa community of Manotick may take weeks to unravel, as forensic anthropologists work to determine their age.

'Once you realize it's human, it's a little bit shocking'

Police are investigating after a jaw bone was discovered along with some vertebrae at a home where contractors were building a deck. (Courtesy Misty Dwyer)

The story behind the discovery of human bones at a work site in the south Ottawa community of Manotick may take weeks to unravel, as forensic anthropologists work to determine their age.

Tim Carver and his colleagues were building a deck at a home on Cabrelle Place in Maple Creek Estates on Tuesday afternoon when his contracting partner Jason Pink stepped on something hard.

"We just actually were going for break to get a coffee and he just stepped in a rut [where] we were digging for the fence and he stepped on the jaw that came out of the dirt," said Carver.

"We all looked at it and we were pretty sure it was human, right away," he said.

They called police, who agreed the bones were human and brought in a forensic anthropologist from Toronto to help with the investigation.

Tim Carver and his work crew knew right away the bones were human, but he said the reality of what the discovery meant didn't kick in right away. "It's a little bit shocking." (CBC)

In addition to the jawbone, some vertebrae were also found in the shallow soil.

"It didn't kick in right away… but once you realize it's human, it's a little bit shocking," said Carver.

Land had been vacant farmland

The major crimes unit is keeping an eye on the file, but for now the investigation is in the hands of the anthropologists, who will be carbon dating the bones and seeing if there is any genetic material in the vertebrae that might help identify the person.

Chris Napior, a Manotick resident and businessman, found out about the bones on social media, then came to visit the site.

He told CBC News the land had been vacant farmland for years, and that a lot of backfill has been trucked in over time.

"Many different sources — a lot of fill came in to these properties. It was vacant farmland for years, so who knows how long it's been sitting there. ... It didn't seem that [the bones were] too deep," Napior said.

Ottawa police dug through and sifted soil at a construction site on Cabrelle Place on Thursday after several bones were found on Tuesday. (CBC)

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