B.C. RCMP are hoping this facial reconstruction, done with the help of artists at the New York Academy of Art, will help them identify a man found dead in Delta in August 1998. (RCMP photos)

RCMP hope artist reconstruction will help ID man in Delta cold case

3D-print of unidentified skull found in Delta among 15 sent to students at New York Academy of the Arts

The RCMP is asking for the public’s help in identifying a man who was found deceased in Delta over 20 years ago.

Last week, the RCMP tweeted out a facial reconstruction of an unknown male who was recovered from the Fraser River at the south end of the Fraser Surrey Docks on Aug. 3, 1998. It’s estimated that he may have died sometime between October 1997 and April 1998.

The RCMP recently partnered with the New York Academy of Art (NYAA) to reconstruct the faces of 15 unidentified human remains from B.C. and Nova Scotia.

Fourteen skulls from investigations in B.C. were provided to the RCMP by the BC Coroners Service, and technicians from the National Research Council in Ottawa scanned the skulls and printed 3D versions of them using “powdered, laser-melted nylon.” Each batch of four took about 48 hours to complete.

The recreated skulls were then transported to New York where NYAA students conducted facial reconstruction with the hope that it could lead to tips and names put to the faces.

“This partnership is a unique opportunity to try to draw new breath into otherwise stalled investigations,” Eric Petit, director of the BC Coroners Service’s Special Investigations Unit, said. “Our hope is that these reconstructions will trigger a memory that results in someone connecting with us or the RCMP, which will lead us to identifying these individuals. This collaborative project builds on other identification tools, including our unidentified human remains viewer, to help us close cold cases in our province.”

READ MORE: Artists hired to help in skull reconstruction in B.C. cold cases

The man found in Delta is described as Asian, six feet (182 cm) tall and weighing 161 pounds (73 kg), with long black hair and good teeth. It’s estimated he was between 30 to 49 years old when he died.

He was found wearing Marks & Spencer Ikeda blue jeans, a black and blue Bugle Boy t-shirt, a tan/purple/lavender/mauve down-filled winter jacket, size-nine black and white Reebok running shoes and a 1.5-inch wood cross on a cord necklace.

Anyone with information on this case is asked to contact the Office of the Chief Coroner at 1-877-660-5077 or bccs.siu@gov.bc.ca (reference case #1998-0219-1123), the Delta Police Department at 604-946-4411 (reference case #1998-22039), Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS(8477) or at tipsubmit.com/webtipsstart.aspx, or the National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains at canadasmissing-disparuscanada@rcmp-grc.gc.ca (reference case 2014001023).

The 15 reconstructed faces, currently viewable at canadasmissing.ca, will go on display in New York in April 2020 as part of the New York Academy of Art’s Open Studios event.

NYAA has hosted its workshop annually since 2015, and since then four visual identifications have been directly attributed to facial reconstructions performed at the workshop.

In B.C. there are 179 unidentified human remains investigations open. There are currently over 700 unidentified remains in the RCMP’s national database of missing persons and unidentified remains.

— with files from Paul Henderson and Katya Slepian


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