On April 8, 1979, two hikers discovered a human skull in Banff National Park, Alberta, down a steep bank near 40 Mile Creek. A search of the area uncovered additional remains, including several ribs and vertebrae, a leg bone, and a shoulder blade.
The location where the remains were found is approximately 200-330 metres north of the Trans-Canada Highway, in the vicinity of the Buffalo paddock.
An autopsy conducted on the partial human remains determined the deceased had died between one and two years prior.
The cause of death was deemed to be a homicide, not because of any noticeable marks on the bones, but rather the circumstances surrounding the discovery. Suicide was ruled out because there were no clothes or identification found in the area, and investigators deemed it unlikely the deceased was a lost hiker, as the remains were close enough to the highway that she would have either seen or heard passing vehicles.
While initially believed to be Caucasian, the deceased was later determined to be an Indigenous female between the ages of 24 and 25. Due to the state of the remains, her weight and eye colour are unknown – however, experts were able to determine she had thick, long black or brown hair and stood between 5’2″ and 5’3″. She had prominent, high cheekbones, and the teeth present in her upper jaw were in perfect condition. The lower portion of the jaw was not recovered.
Police are not sure if she died where her remains were found, given the amount of time that had passed and the nature of the area. It’s possible she was a runaway who had used an alias to travel, meaning tracing her movements prior to her death has proven difficult.
CASE CONTACT INFORMATION:
Those with information regarding the case are asked to contact the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office at 780-427-4987. Tips can also be submitted anonymously via Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
Image Credit: Unidentified Wiki