Investigation continues in pair of suspicious deaths
Published Thursday, April 14, 2011 7:08PM MDT
A medical examiner performed autopsies on two bodies Thursday, one day after a man out four-wheeling on the western fringe of Edmonton stumbled across the remains.
The discovery was made in a rural, treed area west of Lewis Estates, near 215th Street. CTV News is told the passerby was riding on a clay road in a region that's being cleared for future development.
"It appears he was driving in the area on the roadway down through the fields and that's when he located the two bodies or what appears to be two bodies," said Insp. Denis Jubinville from the scene.
The homicide unit has since been called in to investigate and fresh police tape could be seen Thursday covering several hundred metres of land.
While police are releasing few details on the age, gender or possible identities, they confirm the remains do not belong to a missing elderly couple from St. Albert.
Lyle and Marie McCann were last seen in July when they headed out of town for a trip to B.C. Their burned-out motor home was later found at a campground near Edson.
Their son Bret McCann says he was initially relieved to hear it wasn't his parents, though he admits the desire for answers weighs heavily.
"We kind of realized something terrible happened to my parents and they're not coming back so as a family we're kind of resigned to that," he said. "We really need closure one way or the other so I must admit I have a whole spectrum of emotions here, ‘Is it them? Hope it's not them. Hope it's them. Hope we get closure on this.'"
The discovery comes in the midst of another missing persons case involving a different elderly couple. Perry Wong and his common-law wife Eloise Fendelet disappeared shortly after Christmas and few leads have emerged in their case.
One of Fendelet's relatives told CTV News police have been in contact with them, but that no identities have been confirmed yet.
At this point officials will not say how long the bodies were left in the wooded area, or what condition they were found in.
Last August, skeletal remains were found in a nearby region. Police later determined they belonged to Jutta Bentz, who was 27 when she disappeared ten years ago. Orange markers from that investigation remain in the area.
Those who live near the scene say they're disturbed by recent discoveries.
"Totally surprised to hear that especially because it's very quiet neighbourhood," said Tracy Topolnitsky.
Others suggest it's not unexpected in a location that is slowly being cleared to make way for a new suburb.
"Edmonton's a big area and it's no different than any big city I think - the more you develop outside, the more areas I think we're going to start finding things," said Sue Portz.
"My husband's a retired police [officer] and he said it wouldn't surprise him when they start developing the field if we started finding bodies because years ago this was the outskirts of Edmonton."
With Files from Scott Roberts