More human remains were found Sunday in the same area where police have searched for missing Saint John man Kyle LeBlanc.
On Friday evening, a hiker called police after he discovered human remains in the heavily wooded area between Lakewood Heights and Golden Grove Road.
On Sunday, Saint John police, River Valley and York Sunbury ground search and rescue teams expanded the search area and found more human remains, said Staff Sgt. Sean Rocca.
Rocca said it’s not clear if the two sets of remains are from one body or two, but they were found within about 100 metres of each other.
Nothing else was found in the search — clothes or other items — that investigators believe could be connected to the human remains, Rocca said at a news conference later on Monday.
Searched in spring 2021
They were also found in the area where police conducted extensive search operations for LeBlanc in March, April and May 2021.
The last credible sighting of LeBlanc was near Lakewood Heights at around 4:20 p.m. on Dec. 30, 2020, Rocca said.
His family has led a search effort, including offering a reward for any information that leads to finding him.
Rocca said the forensic identification unit was called Friday, and now a forensic odontologist is also working to get a dental identification
Rocca said how long it will take to make an identification “depends on their examination and whether or not the [odontologist] is able to make a positive identification.”
If the odontologist isn’t able to identify the remains through dental records, the forensic unit will have to find another way, which could take more time, he said.
Rocca also said once the remains are identified, it will be up to the next of kin to decide whether police can share the person’s name.
He said it’s still not known if a crime is suspected.
“At this time, there is no evidence that we have to believe that it is a homicide. However, it’s going to require further examination with forensic services and a forensic anthropologist to examine the remains.”
Family awaits identification
LeBlanc was 30 years old when he disappeared.
His stepmother, Erin Adams-LeBlanc, said Monday that investigators have been in touch with the family, but they have not confirmed the remains belong to her stepson.
“We are presently being surrounded by friends and family awaiting the positive identification of the remains,” she said. “There is no good result, no matter the outcome, and the family is trying to process at this time.”
There’s been “an overwhelming heartfelt response” from the community and other families of missing loved ones,” she said.
“It’s very emotional and heart-wrenching as we all wait. Feels as though time is standing still as we wait to know.”
She thanked the community, police investigators, media and search and rescue teams for their efforts.
Previous searches conducted
Rocca said Saint John police received information that led to multiple searches of the Lakewood Heights area in 2021 related to the LeBlanc missing person investigation.
Rocca said between March and May 2021, police conducted three search operations north, northeast, and northwest of Lakewood Heights in wooded and marshy areas. Search and rescue teams, cadaver dogs, and drones were used in those search operations.
He said the remains were found northwest of Lakewood Heights Friday and Sunday.