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Vancouver's Oldest Unsolved Murder Case Gets A Major Update As 2 Brothers Are Identified

The two "Babes in the Woods" murder victims were named as David and Derek D'Alton.

Western Canada Editor
Vancouver's Oldest Unsolved Murder Case Gets A Major Update As 2 Brothers Are Identified

Two victims in the "Babes in the Woods" murder investigation have finally been identified almost 70 years after their remains were found in Vancouver's Stanley Park.

The skeletal remains of two children, now confirmed to be brothers David and Derek D'Alton, were found in the park in 1953 by a groundskeeper.

The man was clearing brush near Beaver Lake when he spotted the remains covered by a women's jacket.

David and Derek were ages six and seven at the time of their death, investigators said in a press release.

"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," said Inspector Dale Weidman, commanding officer of the Vancouver Police Department's Major Crime Section.

"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."

Vancouver Police Department

New information came to light in this cold case as investigators gathered a DNA sample from each of the boys' skulls and contacted a specialist forensics company in the U.S.

This company, Redgrave Research, was able to identify the maternal grandparents of the boys and constructed a family tree by comparing the victims' DNA to others who had voluntarily submitted DNA for genetic testing.

"Once we discovered that DNA match, we still had a significant amount of work to do to locate family members, check school records, and confirm specific details about the victims so we could be absolutely certain about their identities," said Detective Constable Aida Rodriguez, VPD's lead investigator.

Police believe that David and Derek, who lived in Vancouver, were descendants of Russian immigrants who came to Canada at the start of the 20th Century.

They had a family member who lived near the entrance to Stanley Park at the time of their death. Police said that the boys' killer, was likely a close relative of theirs who died 25 years ago.

Inspector Weidman said that, at this stage, it's important to focus on identifying the bodies rather than who murdered them, as it was likely that the killer had died in the seven decades since the crime.

"It was never about seeing someone charged for these crimes. It was always about giving these boys a name and finally telling their story. I'm proud to be part of the team that has done that," he said.

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