No bodies found on Jane Miller wreck

The Sun Times (Owen Sound) - - FRONT PAGE - ROB GOWAN SUN TIMES STAFF

An in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the Jane Miller ship­wreck by the OPP has been un­able to con­firm the pres­ence of hu­man re­mains.

The OPP con­ducted an in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the ship­wreck in Colpoy’s Bay af­ter divers who lo­cated the ves­sel in July 2017 be­lieved that hu­man re­mains may have been vis­i­ble in­side.

Mem­bers of the Bruce Penin­sula OPP Crime Unit, the OPP Un­der­wa­ter Search and Re­cov­ery Unit and the OPP Foren­sic Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion Branch, un­der the di­rec­tion of Det.-Insp. Scott Moore of the OPP Crim­i­nal In­ven­sti­ga­tion Branch con­ducted the in­ves­ti­ga­tion in con­junc­tion with the Of­fice of the Chief Coro­ner and the On­tario Foren­sic Pathol­ogy Ser­vice.

Dur­ing their in­ves­ti­ga­tion, the Un­der­wa­ter Search and Re­cov­ery Unit part­nered with the Cana­dian Forces and De­part­ment of Na­tional De­fence Ex­per­i­men­tal Div­ing and Un­der­sea Group in a joint op­er­a­tion to ex­plore the wreck, ac­cord­ing to an OPP news re­lease.

A thor­ough search of the wreck­age was con­ducted by in­ves­ti­ga­tors, who were un­able to con­firm the pres­ence of hu­man re­mains aboard the ship­wreck. The in­ves­ti­ga­tion has been con­cluded, the news re­lease said.

The Jane Miller was a 78-foot pack­age and pas­sen­ger steamer that sank in a storm on Nov. 25, 1881, tak­ing along some 25 peo­ple.

The ship was launched in 1879 from a small ship­yard at Lit­tle Cur­rent on Man­i­toulin Is­land and con­ducted reg­u­lar ser­vice be­tween Colling­wood and Man­i­toulin with stops along the way tak­ing on pas­sen­gers and loads of goods at ports along the east­ern side of the Bruce Penin­sula.

The night the ship sank wit­nesses last re­ported see­ing it head­ing in the di­rec­tion of Wiar­ton in the gap be­tween White Cloud Is­land and the main­land.

While some wreck­age and per­sonal items were found in the days af­ter the sink­ing, the ex­act where­abouts of the streamer was un­known. Al­most 136 years af­ter it sank, Amer­i­can ship­wreck hun­ters Jared Daniels, Jerry Elia­son and Ken Mer­ry­man dis­cov­ered the wreck on July 27, 2017, mostly struc­turally in­tact with its mast still stand­ing, ris­ing within some 75 feet of the sur­face. Mer­ry­man and Elia­son were also in­volved in the dis­cov­ery of the wreck of the J.H. Jones off of Cape Cro­ker, an­other coastal steamer that sank on Nov. 22, 1906. Both wrecks are now reg­is­tered marine arche­o­log­i­cal sites that are pro­tected from be­ing dis­turbed un­der the On­tario Her­itage Act.

At the time of the dis­cov­ery of the Jane Miller, the team saw what could have been hu­man re­mains on the wreck, but they ad­mit­ted it was dif­fi­cult to tell as it was al­most en­tirely en­crusted in mus­sels.

The pos­si­ble dis­cov­ery of re­mains prompted the po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

FILE PHOTO

The bow sec­tion of the steamer Jane Miller, which was found in July 2017 in Colpoy's Bay, near Wiar­ton, Ont. An OPP in­ves­ti­ga­tion found no hu­man re­mains on the wreck.

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