Police from the Island’s major crime unit spent Wednesday searching for clues a day after a body was found near S.J. Willis Educational Centre.
An excavator operator who works for the school board told the Times Colonist that he found the body while working in the area around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday. He said the human remains appeared to have been buried and wrapped in a tarp or a tent.
The man walked investigators through a fenced-in grassy area overlooking Topaz Avenue, pointing out different spots as an investigator recorded the scene on a video camera.
The man, who identified himself as Dan, said he and other workers were cleaning up junk in the area when they were overcome by a foul smell.
“We were working and talking away and all of a sudden we were overwhelmed by the smell,” he said. He said the remains were covered in soil “a good depth.”
He suspected the remains were there for quite some time because the ground was quite hard. “To dig in something that hard — it had to be compacted for a long time.”
The body was removed by the B.C. Coroners Service and the area was kept behind police tape east of Blanshard Street and along Topaz Avenue.
“We will continue to work with the Coroners Service to determine the identity and cause of death,” said RCMP spokeswoman Cpl. Tammy Douglas.
Police have not said if foul play is suspected.
The Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit, which probes suspicious deaths and homicides, a forensic identification team and Victoria police major crime detectives spent much of the day looking for evidence. At one point, several officers conducted a grid search.
S.J. Willis Educational Centre is an alternative school for adult learners. There are no summer classes right now.