No bodies found on Jane Miller wreck
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.
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.