The identification of remains found at a city park this week has brought the search for a missing Brandon man to a sad end.
Brandon police, however, indicate that it may be some time, perhaps weeks, before a cause of death is known. It depends on how much more analysis needs to be done by the medical examiner.
The Brandon Police Service announced Friday afternoon that the remains found in Queen Elizabeth Park are those of 63-year-old William James Kent who was reported missing from his Brandon home on April 24.
He was last seen by a family member prior to midnight and noticed missing from the home at 3:30 a.m.
City police issued a public appeal for help finding Kent, who was believed to have walked away from this home.
He was believed to be wearing a long-sleeved shirt, and possibly slippers or dress shoes. He wasn’t dressed properly for the elements, with the temperature barely above freezing on the day of his disappearance.
Despite an extensive search — which included the use of dogs — and other efforts to locate him during the months that followed, Kent couldn’t be found.
Then, on Tuesday, a local landscaping company equipment operator was clearing debris deadfall from an area on the south shore of the Assiniboine River when he discovered human remains.
BPS officers confirmed the remains to be human, cordoned off the area and called in the forensic identification and criminal investigation units, and the Office of the Medical Examiner.
The remains, found frozen to the ground under snow, were removed from the scene on Thursday and transported to Winnipeg where an autopsy was done on Friday.
It’s that autopsy that confirmed the identity, although police didn’t specify how.
Police have notified Kent’s family about the identification of his body.
Reached by phone on Friday afternoon, a woman who identified herself as Kent’s wife said she couldn’t comment at this time. She said, however, that her husband’s disappearance and death isn’t a criminal matter or the result of foul play.
Police, however, continue to secure the scene pending further results of the autopsy and cause of death.
» Twitter: @IanHitchen
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition March 1, 2014