Evidence from the 1953 Stanley Park crime scene, including a hatchet, found beside the skeletal remains of two boys. (Vancouver Police Department)

Evidence from the 1953 Stanley Park crime scene, including a hatchet, found beside the skeletal remains of two boys. (Vancouver Police Department)

DNA breakthrough expected in cold case involving murdered Vancouver boys, 7 and 8

Forensic analysts are working to identify relatives of the children, whose bodies were found in Stanley Park in 1953

DNA could soon provide a breakthrough of insights into one of Vancouver’s longest-running unsolved murder cases.

For more than seven decades, police investigators have worked to identify the skeletal remains of two boys, aged 7 and 8, found in 1953.

The children had been bludgeoned by a hatchet and covered by a woman’s coat near Beaver Lake in Stanley Park.

A groundskeeper made the harrowing discovery.

“We still don’t know who these boys were, why they were in Vancouver or who killed them,” said Sgt. Steve Addison.

So far, evidence found on the crime scene consists of the suspected murder weapon, a woman’s coat, shoe, belt and picnic basket of food.

Vancouver Police is contracting U.S.-based Redgrave Research Forensic Services to examine DNA recently extracted from the boys’ bones.

Forensic analyst Anthony Redgrave plans to compare the DNA to public databases, including Ancestry.ca and 23AndMe, to identify their relatives.

The whole-genome sequence gathered from the DNA can identify relatives as far back as the 6th-cousin level, Redgrave said.

RELATED: DNA privacy questioned in B.C. cold case arrest

It’s believed the children – referred to now as the “Babes in the Woods” – were killed in 1948 and laid undiscovered for close to five years.

One of the working theories from detectives is that the boys’ mother was involved in the boys’ deaths. This, gathered from the jacket that covered their bodies at the crime scene.

“For decades our investigators have chased down leads with hopes of someday identifying the victims and people responsible for this unsolved crime,” Addison said.

“We think the Redgrave team can build a family tree for these boys and possibly identify others who are related to these young victims.”

Knowing the identities of the murdered boys could lead to a breakthrough in finding their killer, Addison said.

READ MORE: B.C. cold case helps ‘60 Minutes’ explain genetic genealogy



sarah.grochowski@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

B.C.. homicidesdouble murderVancouverVancouver Police

 

Over the years, police have worked with sketch artists to draw what the boys could have looked like at the times of their deaths. (Vancouver Police Department)

Over the years, police have worked with sketch artists to draw what the boys could have looked like at the times of their deaths. (Vancouver Police Department)

The Stanley Park crime scene, pictured in 1953. (Vancouver Police Department)

The Stanley Park crime scene, pictured in 1953. (Vancouver Police Department)

A hatchet, which was used to bludgeon and kill the two boys, was found at the Stanley Park crime scene in 1953. (Vancouver Police Department)

A hatchet, which was used to bludgeon and kill the two boys, was found at the Stanley Park crime scene in 1953. (Vancouver Police Department)

A belt, among other evidence, found at the Stanley Park crime scene in 1953. (Vancouver Police Department)

A belt, among other evidence, found at the Stanley Park crime scene in 1953. (Vancouver Police Department)

A picnic basket, among other evidence, found at the Stanley Park crime scene in 1953. (Vancouver Police Department)

A picnic basket, among other evidence, found at the Stanley Park crime scene in 1953. (Vancouver Police Department)

Just Posted

Steve Mann and Tim Hackett consider Marigold Lands their finest development. (Rendering courtesy Marigold Lands)
Marigold residences grow more townhouses and condos in Central Saanich

50 condos, 14 townhouses up next for project adjacent to Pat Bay Highway

Norman Mogensen sets up strings for his beans in his plot in the Oak Bay community gardens. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)
Oak Bay gardener spends decades cultivating, improving daddy’s beans

85-year-old vegan part of the community gardens scene

The Pool at the Esquimalt Rec Centre. (Courtesy of theTownship of Esquimalt/ Facebook)
Esquimalt Rec Centre restarting everyone welcome swim times later this month

The 90-minute sessions will be on select evenings and weekends

Diana Durrand and Arlene Nesbitt celebrate the new artist space in 2014. Gage Gallery moves this summer from Oak Bay to Bastion Square in Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Gage Gallery moving to Bastion Square

Vivid Connections, a showcase by Laura Feeleus and Elizabeth Carefoot, opens new venue June 29

Theatre SKAM is offering mobile, pop-up performances to Greater Victoria residents once again this summer. They’ll feature emerging artists Yasmin D’Oshun, Courtney Crawford, Kaelan Bain and Kendra Bidwell (left to right). (Courtesy of Theatre SKAM)
Theatre performances can be ordered to Greater Victoria front yards this summer

Theatre SKAM offering mobile, pop-up performances once again

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Most Read