AMHERST - A press release issued by the Amherst Police Department Tuesday at 5 p.m. said that the, "Nova Scotia Medical Examiner Service has positively identified the human remains that were discovered in Amherst, N.S. on Nov. 16 as Katherine Cora McNeil. Ms. McNeil was reported missing in Oct. 2010 after leaving the Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre."
Asked in a phone interview about the cause of death, Amherst Deputy Police Cheif Ian Naylor said the manner and cause of death "are still pending further investigation."
"As of right now, all I can say is our investigation will continue into the cause and manner of death," he said.
He wouldn't speculate on when that information would be available.
McNeil was last seen alive just over a year ago, on Oct. 4, 2010 at 9:15 a.m., when she left the Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre, about a kilometre from the site where the remains were found.
The discovery was reported to police Wednesday, Nov. 16 at 10:40 a.m. and, investigators from the Amherst Police Department, the RCMP Forensic Unit, the Nova Scotia Medical Examiner Service, and 15 Ground Search and Rescue personnel form Springhill and Pugwash collected evidence at the site.
Before she went missing McNeil had been admitted to hospital the day before with an undisclosed ailment and police were notified of her decision to leave, though they were not able to act on it until later.
There were several sightings in the days after she disappeared and police and search teams scoured the area after McNeil went missing but did not find her.
Video surveillance at an Amherst store had her buying footwear and, while there were another dozen sightings around Nova Scotia, further investigation proved they were cases of mistaken identity.