Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

The body of a missing man has been identified through the national missing persons DNA data bank in what Calgary police say is a first in Canada.

The database is operated by the RCMP and was established last year to help investigations into missing persons and unidentified remains.

A Calgary police investigator says the body of a homeless man was found in a tent at an encampment in 2017 by a Good Samaritan. His death was not considered suspicious.

Story continues below advertisement

“The belief is he had been there between five and six months over the summer. So there was a fairly accelerated state of decomposition because of the intense heat that year,” Const. Gord Fraser said Tuesday.

“Because of the condition of the body, getting a DNA sample we could use proved to be difficult. The first two were too decomposed unfortunately. With the third sample, which was much larger, we did end up getting a successful DNA profile.”

The only personal possessions the man had were a heavily damaged cellphone and a SIM card. Members of the Digital Forensics Unit were able to recover some data stored on the phone, which led investigators to several chain emails alluding to the phone owner’s identity.

“His family in Quebec believed he was in the Calgary area but they had not had contact with him for some time in 2016,” said Staff Sgt. Martin Schiavetta of the Calgary police missing persons unit.

Police say the man, who has not been publicly identified, was estranged from his family.

“Even though it’s a tragic circumstance where we’re notifying that a loved one has been found deceased, providing closure – in many ways it is part of the healing process instead of having those unknown questions throughout the remainder of their life,” he said.

The DNA data bank contains approximately 500,000 samples.

Story continues below advertisement

Fraser said a positive match was made because the individual was already on file in the RCMP’s known-offender DNA data bank.

“Normally we would need to obtain a familial sample for comparison. In this case we didn’t have to because the source of the DNA already existed within the offender data bank,” he said.

Kathy Murphy, manager of the National DNA Data Bank Missing Persons Unit, said this will likely be the first of many resolved cases.

“The more profiles we get, the greater our chances of making an identification and bringing more people home,” she said.

“We look forward to assisting more investigations in future.”

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies