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

A video by Fort Langley resident Richard Donison captured the moment on May 24 when an errant log boom knocked down a bird habitat the end of Brae Island at Tavistock point. (Richard Donison/special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: The moment when a log boom destroyed a Langley bird habitat

Fort Langley resident says it happened ‘very, very slowly’

Students at ACSS and BGMS will start the school year in September with positive changes at their Aldergrove Campus. (Special to The Star)
Fit Core athletic centre to link Betty Gilbert and Aldergrove Secondary

Langley School District announced new courses such as guitar and digital technology for students

Douglas Denyer walks with his wife Dorothy, who passes away at 90. The long-time resident of Langley and Rotarian since 1984 turned 100 on June 16. He has two sons, five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
Celebrating ‘a beautiful life,’ Langley senior turns 100

‘I’ve always tried to help out everyone I can” Douglas Denyer says

Vancouver Giants will return to the ice on Oct. 8, hosting the Prince George Cougars at Langley Events Centre. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
Giants will renew division rivalry with Cougars when season resumes in October

First game at Langley Events Centre since February of last year

A flower-bedecked memorial to one three people who died at the scene of a suspicious house fire in Langley stands outside the burnt-out house in the 19600 block of Wakefield Drive on Monday, June 29, 2020. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)
First hearing for man charged in Langley triple homicide

Kia Ebrahimian faces three counts of second degree murder

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.-Alberta’s Indigenous languages, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact he recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

Most Read