Collins as she appeared in a 2004 rally to save the local hospital's emergency room.
Samantha Collins would have turned 35 this week.
A Bracebridge court heard on Monday, Jan. 21 that police identified Collins in July 2010 as a murder victim through her distinctive tattoos and her fingerprints. Just 29 at the time of her death, Collins’ remains were discovered by police at a Merrick Drive cottage in four five-gallon pails, packaged in a well-crafted wooden crate.
“There were still clear markings in the form of tattoos on her left shoulder,” said Identification Sgt. Jane Ramsay, one of the first OPP forensic investigators on scene. “It was a tattoo image of boxing gloves with the inscription of ‘kick ass.’”
Under cross examination by crown attorney Douglas Kasko, Ramsay said the tattoo was found on the remains during the course of a post-mortem, along with an Asian-themed tattoo on Collins’ right torso. Collins also had a tattoo of a sun burst pattern on her lower back and another of a black panther on one of her ankles.
Fingerprints obtained from at least two of her fingers were also instrumental in identifying Collins as the victim, Ramsay told the jury. Her findings were verified by another officer.
Defense attorney Paul Cooper questioned Ramsay on whether she found any fingerprints belonging to Ian Charles Borbely – the Orillia man accused in the case – at the crime scene.
“Not to my knowledge,” said Ramsay.
Cooper also noted that whoever killed Collins did not make an attempt to remove either her trademark tattoos or her fingerprints.
Later in the day, the jury also heard testimony from Michelle Lee Williams, a former employee at Addictions Outreach Muskoka Parry Sound who once worked with Collins.
In addition to offering help for victims of substance abuse, Addictions Outreach also works to help those dealing with others who are suffering from such problems. The organization offers various self-improvement programs that cover a diverse array of issues like women’s empowerment and spirituality.
“Spirituality is something that could be positive for everyone’s life,” Cooper said before the jury.
Williams, who worked with Collins between 2005 and 2007, testified that she wasn’t aware of any indications that suggest Borbely was physically abusive to Collins.
“She never did say he was physically violent towards her,” she said. “As far as I can recall, she never said he was.”
Cooper then spoke to support her findings.
“I’ve gone through the notes, and Ian was never reported as being violent with Samantha Collins, correct?” he asked.
“Correct,” Williams said.
Williams’ and Ramsay’s testimonies come just one week after the court saw cross examination of other officers involved in the Collins investigation. So far, the court has heard that blood found on one saw seized from the cottage did not belong to Borbely.
A foul-smelling crate containing the victim’s body parts in pails was originally discovered by the cottage’s owner, and the package was briefly examined by a groundskeeper who didn’t open them. The contents were not revealed until the first responding officer kicked over one of the pails.
Police have ruled out the cottage owner as a suspect in the case. Borbely was arrested a year after Collins’ remains were discovered.
Throughout the proceedings in court, Collins’ mother kept a small polished stone close at hand, engraved with a simple inscription.
For ongoing coverage of the murder trial visit cottagecountrynow.ca.