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30 April, 2010


House in Dresden where skeletal remains were found in an abandoned well.

You just knew I had to get to it sooner or later -- the discovery of skeletal remains in an old abandoned well in my home town of Dresden a few days ago.

Even more interesting to me is the fact that the property in question is located on Sydenham Street, my old stomping grounds.  The street, of course, is probably the longest in town, starting at St. George Street (the main drag) and ending in the rural outskirts at Hughes Road.  My family home was at 33 Sydenham Street and the property where human bones were discovered  is at 559 Sydenham, a good two miles or more to the east.  

The house on the property, currently sealed off for investigation purposes, had been rented for a number of years and a new tenant preparing to move in, was in the process of fixing up a back deck when he removed a few boards and discovered the well cistern with what looked to be a skeleton in a few feet of water at the bottom.  He immediately called local police.

News of the gruesome find soon spread in the small town and it was inevitable that the name "Clint Brown" would come up in conversations.  Poor Clint, you see, lived in a trailer at the corner of Hughes Road not far from 559 Sydenham Street, some 40 years ago.  He went missing after a doctor's appointment and was never seen again.

I knew the World War Two veteran and prisoner of war detainee only to see him and left town quite a few years before his mysterious disappearance, but I well remember my mother Grace telling me about rescue helicopters flying over the area in an exhaustive search for the middle-aged man who lived alone at the time.  Acting on a rumour, police are said to have even checked wells in the vicinity but to no avail.   

OPP Inspector George Flikweert, head of the major crime unit, has confirmed that police are "looking into reports about a man who went missing in the area decades ago."   "We're looking in our archive records," he said. "That will be one area we'll follow up."  The coroner and a forensic anthropologist have confirmed that the remains are human, he said.

"We haven't determined gender or age," the Inspector added, saying that police also do not know how long the remains have been in the well.  Coroner Dr. Park Parry said it would likely be at least 48 hours before the skeleton was removed and it could be weeks before a cause of death and identity is known.  He said an autopsy of sorts will be conducted along with an anthropological exam.

Meanwhile, police continue to canvass the area for information relating to the case and will be attempting to track down the many former renters of the house who may have been completely oblivious to the fact that human remains were resting in a well just under the back deck of their home.  It was reported on Friday that the investigation will go back as far as the 1950s.

Knowing Dresden as I do, I can almost hear the downtown talk and coffee shop gossip all the way up here in Southampton.  "Clint Brown" speculation will be prevalent and a lot of history and rumours will be dredged up.  Some things never change in a small town where local issues are discussed thoroughly whenever two heads get together.  Put a cup of coffee or a glass of beer in front of the conversationalists and embellishment can be quite creative and entertaining.

Regardless of the outcome of the police investigation it is kind of sad that Clint Brown, a quiet unassuming and likeable kind of guy who as far as I knew never hurt anyone in his life and preferred to be left alone, should once again be the subject of so much public attention.  May he eventually rest in peace.

...And may justice prevail, even in perpetuity.

1 comment:

Peggy Brown said...

Thanks for your writings on Clinton Brown and yes he is the talk of not only Dresden but across the country. Clinton was a distant cousin of mine and I had seen him the day before he disappeared. He was visiting my Mom and Dad in Tupperville with his sister Pearl Furtah. It is funny that Bob Wilmott was on your page also. I have know Bob for many years as he lived not to far from me in Tupperville and I used to babysit for him and Menneitta.
Peggy Brown