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Family struggles knowing brother was murdered

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TORONTO—The last time Oscar Jones saw his younger brother, Eric, they were at a family wedding.

It was April, 1967, and the normally joyous occasion of siblings celebrating their sister’s nuptials had its rocky moments.

“I was giving him heck because he was quitting school and going away. He wasn’t happy with me,” Jones said yesterday from his home in St. Charles, Ont., just east of Sudbury.

The wedding was the last time the pair would see one another.

Yesterday, police announced that remains found in December, 1967 in a provincial park near Coboconk, Ont. are those of Eric Jones. He was 18 when he was murdered, police said.

Oscar Jones said his siblings held out hope for years that Eric, who had moved to Toronto from the family’s hometown of Noelville, Ont., had disappeared to start a new life without telling anyone.

“But then you kind of feel after he got a bit older and grew up, he’d get back to his family,” said Jones, 66.

“Now that we find out . . . he was murdered. It’s very hard to take.”

A hunter found the skeletal remains in a wooded area of Balsam Lake Provincial Park, about 150 km north of Toronto.

The body was unclothed, with its hands bound by twine.

The grisly discovery left provincial police with few clues until the Centre of Forensic Sciences recently used DNA and facial reconstruction to identify the remains.

Investigators made a model of Jones’ face, which was shown on the television show “W-Five” in February. One of Jones’ sisters saw the broadcast and called police.

Pathologists then were able to identify Jones using DNA samples provided by his family.

The new lead in Jones’ case could help shed some light on two other cold cases in Ontario.

Jones’ murder might be linked to the May, 1968 discovery of the remains of Richard Hovey, 17, near Schomberg, Ont., police said yesterday.

Hovey was also found unclothed with his hands bound, but by shoelaces.

In July, 1980, the skeletal remains of another young man were found in a wooded area near Markham, Ont. He, too, was found unclothed.

Investigators believe the cases could be connected, said Sgt. Pierre Chamberland of the OPP.

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