A not-for-profit group that solicits tips about missing persons cases is planning to use cadaver dogs to search a large park in Etobicoke Thursday for the remains of Nicole Morin.
Morin was eight years old when she went missing on July 30, 1985. She was last seen at around 11 a.m. that day at her home at 627 The West Mall. She left her top-floor unit to go for a swim with a friend and hasn’t been seen since. Today, Nicole would be 45 years old.
Brett Robinson, of Please Bring Me Home (PBMH), said about two years ago he began speaking with a woman who believes she saw Nicole with a man she knew in a west-end park on the day of her disappearance.
The alleged witness, who is now in her early 50s but was around 12 years old at that time, has declined to speak with the media at this time.
“This person she identified had allegedly sexually assaulted her. There’s lot of pain, lots of trauma there,” said Robinson, who visited the undisclosed green space late last month.
Robinson said that his organization decided to go ahead with a search of the park after not being able to “eliminate” this person from being at that unnamed location at the time indicated by the witness.
“Responsible investigating is about eliminating people and we couldn’t do that in this case, so we decided to survey that park with cadaver dogs,” he told CP24.
“It made sense that theoretically that could have happened.”
Robinson said they expect the sweep of the west-end park, which is a “few kilometres away” from Nicole’s apartment building, will take two to three hours.
“If we get any kind of hits we’ll notify the police right away,” he said, noting PBMH has a policy of sharing all tips they get with police, unless specifically requested otherwise.
Toronto police said a previous dig for Nicole’s remains took place “during the course of the (Nicole Morin) investigation,” but would not confirm a location or provide any other details.
Spokesperson Kevin Masterman said investigators have looked into whether there are any links in this case to late Scarborough resident Calvin Hoover, who was identified through DNA as the person who kidnapped, sexually assaulted, and killed nine-year-old Christine Jessop.
Like Nicole, Christine was just a child when she disappeared from her Queensville, Ont. home on Oct. 3, 1984. She went missing just 10 months before Nicole was last seen. Christine’s body was found discarded in a wooded area in Durham Region three months later. Nicole’s remains, however, have never been found.
Masterman said Toronto police would “follow up on any leads or evidence,” notably those that may involve Hoover.
“At this time, there is no evidence that (he) has involvement in (Nicole’s) disappearance,” he told CP24.
Over the years, police have received dozens of tips about Nicole’s disappearance. They’ve issued several news releases and made several appeals, but she remains missing.
At the time of her disappearance, Nicole was described as white, four feet tall and 55 pounds with straight shoulder-length brown hair and brown eyes, and a birth mark on her right upper forehead. An updated artist’s rendition of what she might look like today can be found here.