A man whose burnt body was found in a septic tank on an Alberta farm in 1977 has been identified as Gordon Edwin Sanderson. RCMP said Wednesday the remains found on the farm outside Tofield were of Sanderson, a 27-year-old native man from Manitoba.
They said the murder investigation remained open.
Police resumed investigating the death after the Golden State killer was arrested in 2018 following comparisons of DNA evidence at the crime scene with information on genealogy websites that track ancestry.
The RCMP submitted Sanderson’s DNA to Othram Inc., a private laboratory in Texas.
Othram specializes in the recovery and analysis of human DNA from degraded or contaminated forensic evidence. He also performs genealogical research for law enforcement agencies in Canada and the United States. He first made headlines in Canada after identifying the murderer in the 1984 murder of nine-year-old Christine Jessop, who was kidnapped in Queensville, Ont.
Police said they identified Sanderson in January 2021 and the case turned into an active homicide investigation afterwards.
Sanderson was nicknamed Septic Tank Sam by the RCMP after being found on April 13, 1977 in the septic tank of the farm owned by Mavis and Charlie McLeod. Both are now deceased.
If there is a case of unidentified human remains from your town or city that has remained with you, please send an email [email protected]. The fifth state is producing a report for the upcoming season on gaps in the identification of unidentified human remains in Canada for an upcoming documentary.