Police check missing persons reports after finding human torso

In All, News by Linda Givetash

This piece was also featured in: Waterloo Region Record
Published: Jan. 29, 2013 | [ WEB ] | [ PDF ]
Related: Human torso found in trash bin

KITCHENER —

A team of two dozen police officers is going through missing-person reports after a female torso was discovered on the weekend in an apartment building garbage bin.

“The discovery of human remains is something police are keenly aware is a concern in the community, especially for families who file a missing persons report,” said Olaf Heinzel, public affairs co-ordinator for Waterloo Regional Police.

Identifying the victim and the circumstances of her death is the top priority for police, Heinzel said. A preliminary examination revealed that the torso belonged to a Caucasian female.

The torso was discovered in a bin located in an outdoor alcove at 250 Frederick St. Saturday morning.

The number of missing-person reports to be looked at was unclear Monday.

“The number fluctuates and it can be by the hour, literally by the hour,” said Insp. Kevin Thaler.

An autopsy was scheduled for Monday in Hamilton. Details on the findings were not released.

DNA of the victim could be of use to police, but only if a record of the victim’s DNA exists in a database to determine a match, Heinzel explained.

“There are some challenges in this investigation that we don’t typically have in a homicide, so what we’re relying on is what the public can tell us and what science can tell us,” Thaler said.

As of Monday, the torso was the only body part recovered.

A T-shirt found on the victim adorned with the words, “Forget Princess I want to be a Vampire,” is one of the few clues police possess to share with the public.

“We’re hoping that tips from the public will be instrumental in resolving this … because they may recognize someone they haven’t had contact with and perhaps the last time they saw them that’s what they were wearing,” Thaler explained.

Details of how common the T-shirt is or where it is sold have not been released, Thaler added.

Vampire-themed apparel has become popular in the last four to five years, according to Sarah Segal, public relations specialist for CafePress Inc. Books and movies like the Twilight series have spurred the trend.

CafePress, an online company selling artist-designed apparel and accessories, features more than 1.6 million vampire-themed items available for sale worldwide, Segal said in an email. A small number of those items are T-shirts with the same slogan found with the victim.

Police are asking anyone who finds suspicious items on or near their property to call (519) 653-7700.

Anyone with information regarding the victim or who witnessed suspicious activity in the area of Frederick Street and Gordon Avenue are asked to contact the Kitchener Homicide Branch at (519) 650-8500, ext. 8666, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.

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Linda Givetash

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Linda Givetash is a Canadian-South African freelance journalist based in Vancouver, B.C. Her work has appeared in print, digital and broadcast media outlets around the globe.