Slain at Seventeen

Recreations of Dickey Hovey and Eric Jones by police
Recreations of Dickey Hovey and Eric Jones by police

In 1967, seventeen-year-old Richard “Dickey” James Hovey disappeared. In 1968, his remains were discovered. However, he remained unidentified for almost 40 years until the Ontario Provincial Police worked with coroner Kathy Gruspier and Constable Rachel Zuidervliet to create a model of his face from his skull. The Resolve Initiative did its job.

Police announce identification of Dickey Hovey
Police announce identification of Dickey Hovey

In 1966, Hovey had hitchhiked from his home in Fredericton, New Brunswick to arrive with his guitar in Yorkville, just outside the Village, where artists, bohemians and people of all sexualities joined together. He and his guitar, purchased from Sears, played gigs around the area, including the Mynah Bird Club at the corner of Yorkville and Hazelton. A year later he was struggling to survive and may have turned to prostitution for money.

Photo of murder victim Dickey Hovey and his guitar
Photo of murder victim Dickey Hovey and his guitar

Hovey was one of three young men who went missing from the areas in and around Toronto’s Gay Village, although it was not known as The Village in 1967. They all turned up dead in similar circumstances. Hovey was last seen being picked up by a “muscular black man” driving a white Corvair in the Bay and College Streets area.

The other young men were Robert Mortimore and Eric Jones.

Hovey’s decomposed remains were found in a hedgerow in a field on the 17th Sideroad of New Tecumseth, between the 2nd and 3rd Lines near Schomberg on May 15, 1968. He was naked and there was evidence that his hands had been bound with a shoelace.

The man believed to be responsible, although not tried, was James Henry Greenidge, aka James Henry. Henry, who appears to still be alive, is serving a life sentence, for murdering a prostitute, in Mountain Prison, in British Columbia.

Mugshot photo of murderer James Henry Greenidge
Mugshot photo of murderer James Henry Greenidge

 


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Richard James “Dickie” Hovey
Age: 17
Gender: Male
Date of Death: summer 1967
Manner of Death: undetermined
Location: 17th Sideroad of New Tecumseth
Suspect Name: James Henry Greenidge, aka James Henry

Identified 42 Years Later

Eric Jones' grave marker - St. David Municipal Cemetery Noelville, Sudbury, Ontario
Eric Jones’ grave marker – St. David Municipal Cemetery Noelville, Ontario

The body of a young man was found by a passing motorist – who had spotted a partridge and got out of his car to hunt it – on December 17, 1967, in a wooded area near Balsam Lake Provincial Park, near Coboconk. The victim was wearing one white tennis show. He remained unidentified for 42 years, even though he had the unusual feature of an extra rib on the right side.

Decades after he was found, the Ontario Provincial Police created a model of his face from his skull. The model was featured on a W5 television special about unsolved crimes, and one of dead man’s sisters was watching. She called police the next morning. On March 9, 2009, police announced they identified the remains as Eric Jones, 18 at the time of his death.

Recreations of Dickey Hovey and Eric Jones by police
Recreations of Richard Hovey and Eric Jones by police

Jones moved out on his own in May 1967 after moving to Toronto to live with an aunt. He was reported missing by his family, but was mistakenly taken off the missing persons list in the 1970s due to confusion over whether it was he or his brother named in the file.

Photo of murder victim Eric Jones
Photo of murder victim Eric Jones

Jones was one of three young men who went missing from the areas in and around Toronto’s Gay Village, although it was not known as The Village in 1967. They all turned up dead in similar circumstances.

The other young men were Robert Mortimore and Richard “Dickie” Hovey.

Map showing bodies found of William Howell (survivor), Robert Mortimore, Eric Jones and Richard Hovey - From the Toronto Star
Map showing bodies found of William Howell (survivor), Robert Mortimore, Eric Jones and Richard Hovey – From the Toronto Star

When Jones was found there was no clothing present except white tennis shoes, size 7, made in Czechoslovakia, one of which Jones was wearing. An eleven-foot length of twine was found with the skeleton. This piece of twine had a knotted loop immediately adjacent to the hand and wrist bones.

Police immediately suspected James Henry Greenidge, aka James Henry. Henry, who appears to still be alive, is serving a life sentence, for murdering a prostitute, in Mountain Prison, in British Columbia. Henry is also considered the likely suspect in a similar murder in 1980 when he was out of prison. Although Henry has been questioned by police, the investigation into the murder of Eric Jones has not been closed and a reward of $50,000 remains outstanding.

Mugshot photo of murderer James Henry Greenidge
Mugshot photo of murderer James Henry Greenidge

 


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Eric Jones
Age: 18
Gender: Male
Date of Death: summer 1967
Manner of Death: undetermined
Location: near Balsam Lake Provincial Park
Suspect Name: James Henry Greenidge, aka James Henry
Conviction and Sentence: not pursued by police