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CANADA VANCOUVER JOHN DOES: Two WM, 7-10, found in brush-filled area in Vancouver, BC - 14 January 1953

Discussion in 'Unidentified 1900 to 1979' started by Romulus, Aug 19, 2018.

  1. Romulus

    Romulus In the earth of missing person





    Unidentified White Males Located on January 14, 1953 in Vancouver, British Columbia Canada
    Cause of death was homicide; the victim and his unidentified brother both died as a result of blunt force trauma to their skulls.

    Both victims had been deceased since approximately the fall of 1947.
    • Estimated age: 7 - 10 years old
    • Approximate Height and Weight: N/A
    • Distinguishing Characteristics: Both children are thought to have had light hair.
    • Dentals: Available
    • Clothing: The boys' clothing had deteriorated by the time their remains were discovered. Both children were wearing brown Oxfords with white crepe rubber soles, identical belts and leather aviation helmets were also found on them, only one flying helmet had goggles. Both wore a type of zipper jacket or sweater.
    The victim and his unidentified brother were located in a brush-filled area of Stanley Park in Vancouver, British Columbia Canada in January 1953.
    Their heights, weights and eye colors are undetermined due to skeletal remains located at the scene.

    The children were covered by what appeared to be a woman's raincape. The bodies were laying in a straight line with their feet almost close together and their heads at opposite directions.
    Found among the bodies was a little blue tin lunchbox, the paper lining rotted to a pulpy mess. Also there was a small worn rusty hatchet of the type used by shinglers or lathers, it's handle broken in 2 pieces. The axe was most likely used as the murder weapon in these cases, as one victim's skull had a wound to the back of the head which the axe fit in exact proportions. The other skull was fractured by what may have been the hammer of the axe.

    The victim described in Case File 69UMBC was initially believed to be a female child; however, DNA testing conducted in 1998 proved that victim was indeed male and the brother of this victim.

    Vancouver police wish to identify a woman & 2 boys who may or may not have been involved with this case. In 1949 or 1950, a man who worked in a logging camp, who was with his buddy, picked up a woman with 2 children. During the ride, she had told the men that she had been in trouble with the Mission police for vagrancy charges. They learned that either one or both her children at sometime attended Cedar Valley school and that she lived on Cherry Street in Mission, B.C. There is the possibility that the woman had meant "Vag C", which in the criminal code at that time meant prostitution. The only description available for this woman is that she had "red hair". The 2 boys who were with her were about 6 & 7 years old and at least one wore an aviator flying helmet. Because of this lead, the police managed to find the family name of "Grant", but this lead was exhausted after speaking to surviving family members.
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  2. Jason Futch

    Jason Futch TCCF Host, King of the Highway

    New clues may revive 60-year-old ‘Babes in the Woods’ case
    GLEN SCHAEFER(The Province)

    Published: October 06, 2014

    Updated: October 14, 2014 9:47 AM

    One day in the 1940s, someone took two little boys deep into Stanley Park. They were murdered with a hatchet, their bodies placed side by side, and they were covered with a coat.

    In January 1953, park gardener Albert Tong found the bones near Beaver Lake, launching Vancouver’s most haunting mystery, dubbed the Babes in the Woods.

    The boys — mistakenly thought at first to be a boy and a girl — have never been identified. Their killer, now likely dead as well, was never brought to justice.

    The boys were between six and 10 years old. Also found with the bones were the hatchet, a woman’s fur coat that covered them, a woman’s shoe found under the bones, a rusted metal lunch box, bits of children’s clothing (a belt, two jacket zippers) and, poignantly, two leather aviator’s caps, the kind worn by little boys pretending to be Second World War flyers.

    A wound in one skull matched the blade of the hatchet. The other skull bore a wound from the hatchet’s hammer end.

    Vancouver police Sgt. Brian Honeybourn first came across the case when he headed B.C.’s unsolved homicide unit in 1996.

    “I was born in 1947. I remember in those days the media every now and then would resurrect the story, and of course my parents would talk about it all the time,” said Honeybourn.

    When he got the chance to pick his own case he went back to the Babes in the Woods and hasn’t put it down since, even since he retired in 2001.

    A medical examiner at the time the bones were found determined that the remains were of a boy and a girl. DNA analysis in the 1990s, under Honeybourn’s watch, showed the error — they were two boys.

    The case was front-page news when the bones were found, and photos of the clothing and other articles found were distributed across North America. Missing persons cases throughout the continent were checked for a match, and plaster casts were made of the children’s faces, based on the shapes of the skulls.

    By the 1980s, the bones somehow ended up in an exhibit at the Vancouver Police Museum. Honeybourn arranged to have the remains cremated and scattered in the water off Kits Point in the 1990s. The museum now has replicas of the skulls and bones on display with the articles found at the scene.

    Investigators at the time fixed on 1947 as the year the boys were murdered, but Honeybourn has recently cast doubt on that assumption as well. The date was arrived at based on an examination of the crime scene, and on the theory that the shoes the boys wore were imported from Asia only after the Second World War.

    “Everything was wrapped up on the scene in one day,” Honeybourn said. “They counted leaves and deciduous matter that had fallen on the ground — you can’t really go by that. There was no botanist called in. That was the best guess, that it happened in 1947.”

    Honeybourn found recently that the particular style of shoe the boys were wearing was in fact available here prior to the war, which left the possibility that they were killed earlier. That took him back to a previously discounted witness account of an incident in 1944, still in the files.

    “In May 1944, there was a sailor from Esquimault and his fiancée walking along the seawall when a woman crashed out of the bush in front of them, wearing just one shoe and no coat, and letting out a guttural sound, according to the report at the time. She took off running.”

    Honeybourn has passed this information on to Vancouver police, who would be able to check school attendance records to find out if a pair of boys went missing in May 1944.

    His hope is that they can come up with a name, find some living relative and try for a DNA match to finally identify the boys.

    “I still think about it. It would be the right thing to do even at this time, to identify those little boys. At least let’s do that for them.”


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  3. Jason Futch

    Jason Futch TCCF Host, King of the Highway

  4. Jason Futch

    Jason Futch TCCF Host, King of the Highway

    Artist with RCMP shows the media busts of the boys, one of which was originally thought to be a girl, 1953.​
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  5. Jason Futch

    Jason Futch TCCF Host, King of the Highway

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  6. Jason Futch

    Jason Futch TCCF Host, King of the Highway

    A recreation of the crime scene at Stanley Park, Vancouver BC as it was in 1953; located at the Vancouver Police Museum​
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  7. Skitt

    Skitt Bronze Member

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  8. Jason Futch

    Jason Futch TCCF Host, King of the Highway

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