LOST CHANNEL – A large but still mysterious Ontario Provincial Police presence in normally quiet Lost Channel, about 18 kilometres from Port Loring, has set the area’s rumour mill into high gear.
Police won't say much about a scene where, rumour has it, a child's corpse was uncovered.
Saturday was the first day residents noticed police set up on Smith’s Bay Road about eight kilometres in from Highway 522.
Residents of Lost Channel report that on Sunday at least seven OPP vehicles were at the scene, which appears to be just one of many clear-cuts on the long coarsely graveled road leading to Dollar’s Lake. The lettering on the side of the vehicles states Forensic Unit and Canine Unit, with at least one unmarked Chevrolet cruiser making an appearance at the scene.
Monday they counted six OPP vehicles making the trek down Smith’s Bay Road, again a combination of trucks, SUVs, vans and cruisers, and by 5:30 p.m. on Monday there was a single black and white Crown Victoria manned by an OPP constable from West Parry Sound Police in the driveway set on the Canadian Shield, marked by OPP tape, surrounded by bright orange OPP flagging tape tied off to branches of new-growth brush, and small flags, not unlike those used by companies applying pesticide to a city lawn, stuck in the ground.
Calls to the OPP on Monday were met with a prediction they will have something to release about the mysterious investigation by either late Wednesday or early Thursday morning.
In the void, the local residents and visitors are fueling the rumor mill with their own grisly version.
At the Royal Canadian Legion in Port Loring, Branch 415, a lady’s eyes bug out as she raises her hand to mouth to cover a gasp when she is asked if she’s heard anything about the Lost Channel mystery.
“Oh, I just feel terrible when I think about it,” said the lady, taking a step back.
She, like everyone else, heard that police were investigating the discovery of a body on Smith’s Bay Road, that of a three-year-old.
Some versions of the story have the child identified as a girl and that she was either in blanket or a tarp. Either way, it is not good.
Almaguin News correspondent Susan Cripps first heard the rumour on Saturday night, from her husband Jim.
“I didn’t think anything of it and then on Sunday I thought I’d call my friend who lives over there,” said Cripps.
That friend, Cherry Carriere, of Loring, works at the Grundy Lake Supply Post, where she first heard on Saturday about the active investigation.
“There was a hunter from out of the area who came through who said police had a spot cordoned off on Smith’s Bay Road and were waving people through, not letting them slow down,” said Carriere.
Since then, all she has heard is innuendo and the repeated rumour of a child’s body.
“It’s scary not hearing anything. I’ve got grandchildren who live in the area,” said Carriere.
The official word from West Parry Sound Police, who have jurisdiction in the area, is “We have an active investigation ongoing at this time and it will continue to be ongoing for as long as we need it to be.”
A call Tuesday to the detachment commander ended quickly after he said he wouldn’t be answering questions about the Smith’s Bay Road investigation.
Back at the Port Loring Legion and elsewhere, the speculation continued.
“All we know for certain is no one around here is missing a child,” said a resident.