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DNA from 73-year-old Vancouver murder case may offer break in brutal killing of two children (PHOTOS)

A murder from the 1940s is getting help from 21st century science

Vancouver police are hoping the likes of FamilyTreeDNA will help break open a brutal double murder from 1948.

Known as the Babes in the Woods case, the skeletal remains of two children (believed to be 7 and 8) were discovered in 1953 near Beaver Lake in Stanley Park. For decades police have chased leads but to no avail. 

Discovered by a groundskeeper at the park, the bodies were covered by a woman's coat. Upon investigation, police determined they had been killed with a hatchet sometime around 1948. Other objects, like a belt and picnic basket, were also found nearby. 

“We still don’t know who these boys were, why they were in Vancouver, or who killed them,” says Sgt. Steve Addison in a press release, adding that there's hope

While the murder occurred nearly 75 years ago, the Vancouver Police Department is hopeful a company based in Massachusetts will be able to help. They've contracted Redgrave Research Forensic Services to study DNA from the bones found and search for any matches among public DNA databases (like FamilyTreeDNA or GEDmatch). The same databases have been used to solve other murders and cases.

“With so many people curious about their ancestry and willing to submit DNA for genetic testing, we think the Redgrave team can build a family tree for these boys and possibly identify others who are related to these young victims,” adds Sgt. Addison. “This process could give us new leads to follow, and we hope it will finally help us give these boys a name and identify their killer.”