Bottles, some dating back to when the city was Fort Victoria, are often found in the Gorge Waterway.
But in early February, a group of divers found something in the water buried in the sediment, which they initially thought was a historic bottle, according to the Victoria Police Department.
“A group of recreational divers discovered a partial cranial bone, so part of a human skull,” said VicPD spokesperson, Bowen Osoko.
The human remains are believed to be less than 100 years old.
“We have a number of missing and murdered Indigenous women, and a series of files where people have gone missing in various circumstances,” Osoko said. “Whether they be a diver who went missing diving off Ogden Point or a person involved in a criminal lifestyle who went missing in the 1980s.”
Victoria Police are attempting to determine who it is and are now combing through 40 open files of missing persons, and suspicious disappearances.
That includes four-year-old Michael Dunahee, who vanished on March 24, 1991 and 26-year old Emma Fillipoff, last seen near the Empress Hotel on the evening of Nov. 28, 2012.
Both of those cases remain unsolved to this very day and police don’t believe the remains found in the water belong to either of them.
“Our initial investigation suggests this is unlikely to be Michael Dunahee. It’s unlikely to be Emma Fillipoff, ” Osoko said. “It’s likely to be someone between the age of 15 and 55, who disappeared sometime in the last number of years.”
Emma’s mother, Shelley Fillipoff, still hopes to find answers about her daughter, that one day she’ll find her.
“Many people feel that finding an answer, any answer is preferable to not knowing. I want the right answer. Don’t want the wrong answer. I never want the wrong answer,” said Fillipoff.
Police confirm the remains are likely a male who died within the past few decades.
The B.C. Coroners Service is running forensic tests on the skull fragment and is working with Saanich and Victoria police departments to try to match the remains with a name.