OPP investigators still seek identity of young girl after remains found in Grand River

OPP say human remains recovered from the waters of the Grand River in Dunnville, Ont. are that of a female child. Emergency crews were called out to the scene in Haldimand County just before 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Morganne Campbell has more.

The detective tagged with finding out how a child died and ended up in a Haldimand County waterway says OPP are using every resource available to bring closure to the case.

Det. Insp. Shawn Glassford told Global News he’s hoping results of a recent autopsy in Toronto and tips from the public will help investigators piece together some sort of circumstance shedding light on what happened.

“With the expertise of the doctors at pathology services in Toronto to doctors that are at SickKids that are assisting, we’re doing everything in our power, everything that we can, everything available to us,” Glassford said.

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The girl’s body was discovered by two fishermen in the waters of the Grand River in Dunnville, Ont., on Tuesday near what police describe as a “bog island.”

In a statement, police said the men were travelling along that island and saw the remains, initially believing it was an animal.

Emergency crews say they made their way out to the river bank just before 1:30 p.m. on May 17 and recovered the body of the toddler. She is suspected of being between 10 and a half months to two and a half years old.

“As far as how long she’d been in the river, that’s still being studied,” Glassford remarked.

“We’re looking at a lot of things. We’re looking at the flow of the river, the temperature of the water. All those things come into play with trying to figure this out.”

OPP detective inspector Shawn Glassford doesn't believe a deceased female child, pulled from the Grand River on May 17, 2022, died of natural causes.

OPP detective inspector Shawn Glassford doesn't believe a deceased female child, pulled from the Grand River on May 17, 2022, died of natural causes.

Global News

OPP’s Criminal Investigation Branch is leading the probe and treating the finding as a homicide.

However, Glassford says he doesn’t believe she died of natural causes.

Extensive shoreline searches have been completed and canvasing of nearby residents in the town of 12,000, as well as a number of campgrounds, is ongoing.

Detectives say tips have also been coming in from as far as the United States in the days since a hotline was activated.

The division does have some information they are withholding to keep the integrity of the investigation.

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Potential clues they hope to receive are scenarios in which an individual or family suddenly left a residence or a neighbourhood.

“Anybody that knew of a family, whether they were neighbors or a landlord, and that family left … (in) somewhat of a hurry,” said Glassford.

“Perhaps the circumstances weren’t that suspicious at the time, but now in light of this happening, maybe that’s causing people to think about it.”

The OPP’s special tip line can be reached at 1-844-677-9403.

Anonymous information can still be called into Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or online at www.helpsolvecrime.com

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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