VANCOUVER — Nearly 70 years after skeletal remains were found in Vancouver's Stanley Park, police have finally identified the child victims of the city's oldest unsolved murder case.
Vancouver police on Tuesday named brothers Derek and David D'Alton as the two boys whose skeletal remains were found in 1953.
The children, aged six and seven respectively, had been bludgeoned by a hatchet.
Police theorize they were killed in the late 1940s by a close family member who died about 25 years ago.
The Paleo-DNA lab at Lakehead University played a significant role in solving what's known in Vancouver as the Babes in the Woods case.
The lab was able to extract DNA from bone samples, and sent it to a U.S. facility for genome sequencing.
A Massachusetts-based company then matched the DNA with a distant relative of the children who had uploaded their own DNA to a genealogy website.
Lead Vancouver police investigator Constable Aida Rodriguez said "We knew there were good odds of finding a living family member out there somewhere."
Police met earlier this month with the relative who lives in the Vancouver area to inform the family member of the findings.
At that time, detectives were also able to gather additional information about the boys.
Inspector Dale Weidman of the Vancouver police Major Crime Section said "These murders have haunted generations of homicide investigators, and we are relieved to now give these children a name and to bring some closure to this horrific case."
He added "Although significant folklore has surrounded this case for years, we must not forget that these were real children who died a tragic and heartbreaking death."