No headway on cold case

A severed head found on Grey Mountain more than 15 months ago remains a mystery to Whitehorse RCMP. "We haven't had any luck on it," said Sgt. Don Rogers.

A severed head found on Grey Mountain more than 15 months ago remains a mystery to Whitehorse RCMP.

“We haven’t had any luck on it,” said Sgt. Don Rogers.

The head, found near a bike trail, was sent to a forensic expert.

It was “certainly not fresh,” said Sgt. Don Rogers at the time. Nor was the head “historic.”

Beyond that, little is known about it.

“In order to match things up, you need to have someone to match it to,” said Rogers.

“So if it’s a person who went missing, but was never reported missing, how would you know?”

And DNA can only get you so far, he said.

“There has to be a submission made into the missing person’s DNA data bank in order to get a hit,” he said.

“So if there is no DNA submitted, you can have all the DNA you want and nothing to compare it to.”

It should be possible to do an artist rendering, said Ontario chief coroner spokesperson Cheryl Mahyr.

“Even from just a skull they can do a reconstruction of what that person looked like,” she said.

If you’re going to find a body part, the head is the best part to find, said Fairbanks police detective David Elzey.

“There’s a huge amount of information you can get from a head,” he said.

If a severed head was discovered in Fairbanks, police would send it to a crime lab to study hair samples, dental records and DNA.

“There’s lots of stuff,” said Elzey.

Even race could likely be determined, he said.

“No matter how decomposed it was, you could still tear it apart and probably get DNA samples.”

But searching the data base can be tricky, said Elzey.

“You can move a head a long way,” he said.

Someone killed in Tennessee could end up with their head in Whitehorse, he said.

“It could be someone brought a head back from a Third World country as a macabre trophy,” added Rogers.

“And then decided to toss it – you never know, people do strange things ….”

The RCMP probably has more information than it’s letting on, said Elzey.

“I can’t imagine – unless they’re completely incompetent – that they haven’t done a lot of work on the head.”

Rogers wasn’t sure if there was still skin on the head when it was discovered.

“I couldn’t tell you, and I don’t ask,” he said.

“I don’t need to know.

“But I’ve asked them to keep me appraised of it, so I can get a head start on it,” he said.

Contact Genesee Keevil at

gkeevil@yukon-news.com