Toronto Police Make ‘needle-in-a-haystack’ Discovery, Find Missing Man’s Remains in Landfill


After scouring a large city dump for months Toronto police officers have uncovered the remains of Nathaniel Brettell— CTV News Toronto has learned. This — needle-in-a-haystack discovery has given his family peace and could give a continuing murder case a major boost.

About seven months after he went missing at his home in Toronto, Police discovered the corpse of the missing 57-year-old after searching since late June at the Green Lane Landfill near London, Ont.

“In the sense that he’s been found, it gives me peace,” revealed Brettell’s sister, Lois Brettell. “I’m thankful that my brother’s remains have been found because it gives me closure.”

However, she noted her family still suffers the anguish of his demise— and have many questions on how he died, and how his body wound up in the landfill in Sothwold, Ont., some 200 km from where they believe he was murdered.

Detective Sergeant Keri Fernandes said,

“The Toronto Police will not stop in their pursuit of evidence and the recovery of people for their family as they investigate these criminal acts.”

Fernandes revealed the search is the largest of its kind in Toronto’s history requiring hundreds of officers and several units, with some officers putting in volunteer hours.

The crucial break in the case involved the records kept by the city’s solid waste management system. The records permitted them to pinpoint the most probable location amid a landfill that sprawls over some 130 hectares and takes in about 800,000 tons of waste from the City of Toronto yearly.

“They keep meticulous records and because of that we were able to recover him and bring closure to the family and assist in the prosecution of the people responsible for this,” she stated.

Brettell, 57, suffered from Asperger’s syndrome and other disabilities, his family disclosed. He went missing in January from his Etobicoke rooming house on Westona Street.

A man attacked officers looking for him on Feb. 2 with a butcher’s knife. The officers charged the 34-year-old man called Ahmed Al-Farkh with attempted murder. Police discovered blood in Brettell’s apartment and figured that he had been murdered, however; there was no sign of a body.

In May Al-Farkh was charged with second-degree murder in Brettell’s case. In online information confirmed by CTV News Toronto, Al-Farkh narrates his time in City of Toronto homeless shelters, referring to the Freemasons and the Illuminati.

Police acquired a warrant and started searching the dump in late June.

“It’s essentially looking for a needle in a haystack. It’s not an easy job. The mere fact they’ve found a body is miraculous,” noted former Toronto homicide detective Mark Mendelson. “It’s huge, many acres in size, and it’s very deep. As they plow over the garbage it gets higher and higher and you don’t know how deep you have to go,” he revealed.

He added,

“The odds were infinitesimal when I conducted these inquiries as the record-keeping wasn’t as good as it is now. They know what trucks come in from what day and what area they’ve emptied into. From an investigative point of view, that’s very helpful.”

The next move is possibly an attempt to find the cause of death — something that may be challenging depending on how long the body was exposed to the elements, he noted.

Officers discovered the body last week and confirmed that it was Brettell briefly thereafter, his sister stated.

Brettell said,

“Now that they have a body they will be able to properly prosecute the person who has been charged in my brother’s death.”

Now that his body has been retrieved, Brettell reveals she hopes to cremate the remains and have a funeral.


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