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Police recovering human remains and car from Lake Ontario

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Ontario Provincial Police are working to recover human remains and a vehicle found in Lake Ontario west of Kingston earlier this year.

Police dive teams are using a barge near the intersection of the Loyalist Parkway and County Road 6 in the recovery operation.

The investigation started in January 2023, when a vehicle left the roadway and entered the water west of Amherstview, Ont. During that search, police divers found another vehicle.

"It was determined that this vehicle contained human remains and had been in the water for many years," OPP said in a news release. "The identity of the deceased has not been determined."

The discovery is unnerving for the long-term resident Alan Champagne.

"It's really sad for the family," he says. "It could have happened in the middle of the night. It depends on how old the vehicle is. It could have happened decades ago, or it could have happened recently."

Const. Shannon Cork says it’s a delicate process to investigate the scene.

"When it has human remains in it, then that takes a whole other element because there’s an investigative purpose to figure out who that person is, so they’re doing it cautiously and carefully," Cork says.

Divers, along with the OPP search and rescue and marine units, are removing the remains on Wednesday. The vehicle will be lifted onto the barge on Thursday, police said.

A crane on the barge platform will help remove the vehicle. The process is difficult without disturbing the evidence.

Ontario Provincial Police use a barge in an operation to recover human remains and a vehicle from Lake Ontario west of Amherstview, Ont. on Wednesday, May 3, 2023. (Kimberley Johnson/CTV News Ottawa)

Cork said finding one body while retrieving another from the lake is something she’s never seen before.

The criminal investigations unit is on scene because the area needs to be treated as suspicious. She says everything is being looked into to identify the person involved.

"Obviously, somebody somewhere is missing this person, there are missing persons that have not been identified and so that would be an avenue that we would look at," Cork said.

As officers work to determine who the victim is, Champagne hopes there can be answers for the family.

"It’s a tough time for people for sure," he said.

Police are asking people not to stop along Highway 33 so as not to endanger themselves or other drivers.

The criminal investigation into the matter is ongoing.

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