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Butte murder victim identified through genetic genealogy

Body parts found in 2012
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Posted at 6:23 AM, Aug 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-15 09:12:36-04

BUTTE - Human remains found on June 26, 2012, on the side of the Moulton Reservoir Road north of Butte have been identified. A homicide investigation is ongoing.

According to a Butte-Silver Bow Law Enforcement press release, through DNA testing officials identified the human remains as 46-year-old Michael Wayne Canada.

According to the release, on June 26, 2012, officers discovered two human legs inside of a bag. Detectives reportedly believe that the victim died at another location before being left near Moulton Reservoir Road.

The remains were in the beginning stages of decomposition and investigators were able to determine the legs belonged to a white male, according to the release.

In 2013, the case was entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System. However, the man’s identity remained a mystery.

The Butte-Silver Bow Law Enforcement Department partnered with the Montana Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation to help identify the man. The agencies then decided to attempt forensic genetic genealogy to generate new leads in the case.

Genetic genealogy led to law enforcement connecting with possible relatives of the victim and later determining the identity of the victim.

Canada was reportedly a drifter who had not been in touch with his family for at least two years prior to his death. He was never reported as a missing person.

Officials believe Canada was living in Butte for a short time prior to his death and may have been employed at one of the local Safeway stores.

Canada was 6-foot, 2-inches tall and weighed 185 pounds. He had brown hair and blue eyes. Canada also had a metal rod placed into his leg from a previous motorcycle accident. Below is a photo of Canada taken in 2007:

If you have any information about the circumstances surrounding the death of Michael Wayne Canada, contact Agent Ryan Eamon with the Montana Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation at (406) 444-3874 or Butte, MT Field Office at (406)-691-7108 or Captain Jeff Williams of the Butte-Silver Bow Law Enforcement Department at (406) 497-1157 or Butte-Silver Bow Law Enforcement Dispatch at (406) 497-1120.