Langley RCMP are reaching into the past to try and learn about the last days of a man whose remains lay hidden in the woods in Aldergrove for half a decade.
The bones found on Nov. 29, 2011, have been identified as Barry Steven Maslanka-Ewing, said Cpl. Holly Marks, speaking for the local Mounties.
The remains were found on the forested land owned by the Canadian Department of Defense in the 26200 block of Robertson Crescent.
A sharp-eyed BC Hydro crew member spotted something while pruning trees around power lines. It turned out to be a human skull, and more bones were found nearby, along with a wallet.
After nearly a year, the BC Coroner’s Service and the Langley RCMP Serious Crime Section were finally able to definitively put a name to the remains through DNA matching.
The official cause of death remains undetermined, said Marks, but there is no obvious sign of foul play.
It seems that Maslanka-Ewing, also known as Big Bear, simply died in the relatively isolated spot and wasn’t found for more than half a decade. He was never reported missing.
The date of death has been tentatively put at around 2005, but it could have been earlier or later than that, Marks said.
Maslanka-Ewing had moved to Aldergrove in 2002, where he stayed with family friends for about six weeks.
He then left, and it’s unknown exactly where he lived or what he was doing for the next several years, until his death. He may have been homeless, Marks said.
Born in 1954, Maslanka-Ewing would have been about 51 when he died.
Marks is now asking anyone to come forward who might have knowledge of what Maslanka-Ewing was doing in the years before he died.
The police would like to make certain they can eliminate any possibility that his death was suspicious, and to locate and speak to anyone he associated with regularly during his missing final years.
Maslanka-Ewing died before Langley had many dedicated outreach programs for the homeless. Groups like the Salvation Army and Joe’s Soup Kitchen at St. Joseph’s Church have been aiding the homeless for some time, but there was no centralized homeless shelter and no full time outreach workers at the time of Maslanka-Ewing’s death.
Anyone with information can call the Langley RCMP at 604-532-3200.