Blue Line

Female identified in 2020 cold case, Trinity Bellwoods Park

February 22, 2022  By Blue Line Staff

Feb. 22, 2022, Toronto, Ont. – Toronto Police have provided updates on the status of a cold case investigation to identify a woman found deceased in Trinity Bellwoods Park in 2020.

On June 10, 2020, members of 14 Division responded to a call for an unconscious female in Trinity Bellwoods Park. Officers located a deceased woman who was later determined to have died of natural causes. Her death was not suspicious and no foul play was suspected. The woman did not have any identification and no connections could be made to fingerprint impressions or missing persons reports.

Investigators made several appeals for assistance in identifying the woman, including releasing multiple artist’s renderings to the media and the public. Several tips came in to police, however, none led to the woman’s identification.

In early 2021, The DNA Doe Project approached TPS and offered their services to assist with the case. The DNA Doe Project is a non-profit organization whose mission is to identify John and Jane Does through genealogy research.

In September of 2021, the Ontario Forensic Pathology Service submitted a sample of the woman’s DNA. The DNA Doe Project developed, sequenced and compared the DNA from the deceased woman to public genealogical databases. Two people that shared some common DNA with the deceased were identified and investigators began reviewing publicly available information (family trees, obituaries, social media posts etc.) in a further attempt to identify the woman.

In December 2021, the DNA Doe Project contacted Toronto Police with a possible identification. Through further investigation, police were able to contact the family of the identified woman and obtain dental records. The Coroner’s Office confirmed that the deceased woman found in Trinity Bellwoods Park was in fact the identified woman.

The woman’s family has indicated they do not want her identified or her image released publicly at this time and are requesting their privacy.

“Through collaboration with the DNA Doe Project and the diligent work of our investigators, we were able to positively identify this woman, bringing closure to her family, the community and the Service,” said Deputy Chief of Police Myron Demkiw. “By working with our partners and utilizing techniques such as genetic genealogy in our investigations, we can help advance our cold cases and give those who remain unidentified a name.”

“When our volunteer investigative genetic genealogists began work on the family tree for this woman they found a number of good connections in the database. In less than a week, they had zeroed in on her identity,” said DNA Doe Team Leader C. Lauritsen. “The search to find her name was greatly aided by family genealogical projects and having that information significantly enhanced our ability to identify her.”

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