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As the Summer of Love got under way, Eric Jones headed for Toronto, not knowing that he had taken the first step toward a rendezvous with a serial killer.

The shy, lean 17-year-old had grown up in Noelville, a small town on the edge of Sudbury. He was part of a family that had seen its share of difficulties: There were 11 kids, and Eric's mom was dead. His dad was a trucker, and the child-rearing was left to Eric's older siblings.

They were a tightly knit family, but in the summer of 1967 a mystery that spanned four decades wedged itself between two branches of the family tree.

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The last time the Jones siblings saw Eric was at his older sister Lena's wedding. There had been a disagreement with his oldest brother, Oscar, who disapproved of Eric's decision to drop out of school.

Eric, who had always been quiet and somewhat of a loner, returned to Toronto where he had been living with an aunt.

Weeks later, Eric answered a job posting he found in the newspaper for a dishwasher at a restaurant. He never returned, his aunt never reported him missing, and the Jones children never forgave her.

The family would never be the same. They never heard from Eric, and Pauline's letters to her younger brother were returned "Person unknown." Their father, Napolean, died a few years later.

That mystery ended yesterday when Ontario Provincial Police gave a name to some anonymous bones found in a provincial park years ago: Eric Jones.

"We were all pretty well positive that he had passed, but we didn't know how," Oscar Jones, 66, said from his home in St. Charles, Ont. "And finding out how it happened, it's probably the worst thing that could've happened."

His brother's fate was part of a much larger criminal drama that may have included up to four victims that summer alone, who fell prey to a killer who used downtown Toronto as a hunting ground.

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It was Pauline Jones who solved the mystery.

Now a 65-year-old grandmother, Pauline was at home on Valentine's Day this year, flipping through the television channels when she settled on the investigative news program W-Five.

The show described unidentified skeletal remains found by a hunter in a wooded area of Balsam Lake Provincial Park in Victoria County, Ont., in December of 1967. There were no remnants of clothing other than a pair white tennis shoes and an eleven-foot length of twine knotted near the hands and wrist bones.

The year, 1967, the location, near Toronto, and the victim's slight stature and brown hair all peaked her attention.

Within minutes, the 10 surviving Jones siblings were on the phone discussing the facial reconstruction investigators had built. The verdict was unanimous: It was their missing brother.

Before long, Pauline was on the phone with the OPP, and DNA samples confirmed their suspicions.

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"I thought I would be happy, but I'm not," Pauline said.

She had never given up the search for her brother, even after a fire in 1980 destroyed her home and the files she'd kept, meticulously documenting the last traces of the middle Jones brother.

Oscar said police intend to interview his aunt, who is still alive and residing now in Victoria, B.C.

The family plans to hold a funeral in the coming weeks, once the media attention has calmed down and they've had time to make arrangements.

Though their brother's fate was far worse than any of them had ever imagined, there is some peace in knowing that they will finally be able to bring him home.

"It's a small comfort," Pauline said.

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A cold case heats up

Police facial reconstructions of two unidentified sets of human remains in Ontario are helping to unravel the disappearances of Eric Jones and Richard (Dickie) Hovey, two young men who may have fallen prey to a serial killer in Toronto during the late 1960s.

WHEN AND WHO

1. The skeletal remains of Eric Jones, 17, were found by a hunter in Balsam Lake Provincial Park in December, 1967. The only clothing found with the remains were some white tennis shoes and an 11-foot length of twine was found adjacent to the hand and wrist bones. He had been living with an aunt on Howard Street in Toronto, and was last seen by family members that April.

2. The skeletal remains of Richard (Dickie) Hovey, 17, of Fredericton, N.B., were found in a farmer's field near Schomberg, Ont., in May of 1968. There were no clothes, and his hands had been bound with shoelaces. He was last seen getting into a Chevrolet Covair with a muscular black man on Yorkville Avenue in Toronto in June, 1967.

3. The skeletal remains of an unidentified third young man were found in a wooded area near Markham in 1980. The victim had been dead for up to two years, and his clothes were found nearby. Police believe the case may be connected.

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4. In July of 1967, William Howell, 21, was found by a farmer nude and bleeding to death in a field near Barrie. His throat had been slit, and female undergarments were found nearby. The victim said he'd met his attacker near College and Yonge the night before, according to reports.

5. The nude body of 17-year-old Robert Mortimore was found in a field northeast of Markham Village in July of 1967. One year later, James Henry Greenridge, a 30-year-old computer operator, was sentenced to 17 years for manslaughter in connection with Mr. Mortimore's death, and for the attempted murder of Mr. Howell.

FACIAL RECONSTRUCTION

Forensic anthropologists and sculptors use clay to reconstruct what a person looked like from the parts that remain once the flesh and skin have gone.

1. Small pegs, markers used to indicate the depth of facial tissue, are fixed into the skull using estimates that vary according to age, race and gender.

2. Strips of clay that match the height of the pegs are placed between them.

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3. The artist deduces the shape of the face muscles by the shape and size of certain facial bones.

4. Clay muscles are covered with a layer of clay skin, which is smoothed to resemble real skin.

With files from

Marjan Farahbaksh

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