Since 1989, the bodies of 26 unidentified people – eight women and 18 men – have been found in Niagara County, 24 of them in the lake or river. The other two, a man found on June 22, 1991, on the Tuscarora Reservation, and a woman found on July 14, 2003, in a burning nightclub in Niagara Falls, had been murdered.
How the rest lost their lives is not known, but most are believed to have gone over Niagara Falls, possibly as suicides.
Here are the cases:
- Sept. 8, 1989, a 55- to 60-year-old white man found in the Niagara River, a quarter-mile south of Joseph Davis State Park. He was about 5-foot-9, about 170 pounds, with brown and gray hair and a receding hairline and a long mustache. He was wearing a pair of Hanes striped briefs. Dental records on file.
- June 22, 1991, skeletal remains of a 30- to 45-year-old black man found in a ravine off Black Nose Spring Road on the Tuscarora Reservation. His hands and feet were bound and he had a white washcloth in his mouth. He was about 5-foot-9, weight unknown, with very short black hair. He had healed facial and rib fractures, possibly from boxing or a car crash. He was wearing a large white V-neck Fruit of the Loom T-shirt and a pair of tan long underwear bottoms. Dental records and DNA on file.
- July 15, 1992, remains of a woman approximately 4 feet tall found in Lake Ontario about 1.5 miles north of Fort Niagara. Age unknown.
- April 10, 1993, a 30- to 45-year-old white man with brown hair found in the river just off the Coast Guard station near Fort Niagara. He was about 6-foot-1, about 163 pounds, and had a tattoo of the name "Linda" with a tail running from the letter A and a picture of a heart. He was wearing gray corduroy pants and a belt.
- June 17, 1994, a 20- to 25-year-old white male with brown hair and eyes found in Lake Ontario 7.5 miles north of Olcott Harbor. He was about 6-foot-2 and wearing a black “Mountain Gear” jacket, a black long-sleeved sweatshirt, a light blue T-shirt that said “Rush Programs” on the chest with a blue “R” and a white bird, blue Levis size 32x36, white socks and underwear, and black and white Nike “Force” hightops, size 10.5. His front left pocket contained 15 cents in Canadian coins, his front right pocket contained a set of five keys and a flat screwdriver marked with a shamrock.
- 22 June, 1994, a 20- to 25-year-old white woman with black hair found in the lower Niagara River, a quarter-mile off the Lewiston docks. She was about 5 feet tall and about 104 pounds.
- April 2, 1995, a young adult or adult white female, about 5-foot-5 and about 155 pounds, was found on the shore of Lake Ontario in the Town of Wilson. She was wearing a black Sears brand bra, size 36C, and heavy black lycra tights. DNA records are available.
- Sept. 6, 1995, a 25- to 35-year-old white man found 250 yards off the boat ramp at Fort Niagara Coast Guard Station. He was wearing brown Dexter shoes and brown pants.
- June 22, 1996, an adult white female, about 5-foot-1 inches tall and about 104 pounds, found in the lower Niagara River north of the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge. She was wearing black "Jean Works" jeans, size 38, pink and white underwear labeled "SP," and an orange bracelet on her right arm. Dental records are on file.
- July 6, 1996, a white adult man with brown hair, about 5-foot-4 and 120 pounds, found in the lower Niagara River off Youngstown. He was fully dressed, wearing brown cowboy boots with the logo "BB," white socks, two pairs of underwear, a black T-shirt and black "Replay" brand jeans. He was carrying a mix of U.S. and Canadian currency and a set of four keys.
- July 19, 1997, a 40- to 90-year-old white female, about 5-foot-7 and about 140 pounds, found in Lake Ontario. She was described as "possibly diabetic."
- May 25, 1998, a white man with brown eyes and brown, medium-length, straight hair found in Lake Ontario, 4 miles north-northeast of Youngstown. He was about 5-foot-7 and about 227 pounds. He could have died as early as 1995. He was wearing a black sock and black Reebok sneaker on his left foot, and a gold metal chain around his neck. He had a Marvin the Martian tattoo on his left upper chest.
- Oct. 9, 1998, a 40- to 50-year-old white man with gray hair, 6-foot-6 inches tall and about 263 pounds, found in the Niagara River near the Power Authority. His arms, legs and spine were broken. He was wearing only a gray and green striped sock on his left foot.
- May 29, 1999, an adult male, about 5-foot-5 inches tall, found on the shore of Lake Ontario a mile east of Olcott. He was wearing a size 32 brown leather belt with a sold brass buckle stamped with the numbers 22893501, a white elastic underwear band with blue and gold stripes and one white and black sock.
- June 4, 1999, a 25- to 50-year-old white male, about 5-foot-6, about 130 pounds, found in the lower Niagara River off Joseph Davis State Park. His right upper arm had been repaired by a metal surgical device attached to the bone by 11 metal screws. He was wearing white athletic socks with a Tommy Hilfiger logo.
- March 9, 2000, a 25- to 45-year-old white male, about 5-foot-7 and about 200 pounds, was found in Lake Ontario near the Coast Guard Station. He could have died as early as 1999. His tonsils had been removed and he had a previous fracture of his upper and lower left leg. He was wearing a black leather belt and white Fruit of the Loom underwear, size XL. Dental records on file.
- April 1, 2001, an 18- to 32-year-old male, who could have been in the water as early as 2000, and could have been an estimated 5-foot-8, was found in the lower Niagara south of Joseph Davis State Park. He was wearing remnants of blue jeans size 34x35, white Spaulding underwear, size 34, and a left Adidas sneaker, size 11.
- Aug. 15, 2001, a 20- to 30-year-old white man, about 5-foot-11 and about 134 pounds, was found in the lower Niagara River near Stella Niagara. He could have died as early as 2000. He was wearing blue "Scotch" swim trunks, size XL, socks and a Citizens WR 100 watch. Dental records on file.
- July 13, 2002, partial remains of a 30- to 40-year-old white male were found 200 yards off shore in Lake Ontario northeast of Fort Niagara.
- July 14, 2003, the body of a 25- to 50-year-old woman was found inside the burning former Pharaoh's nightclub at 1919 Whirlpool St. She was found to have an extra vertebrae in her lower back. She was wearing a size 6 ring with synthetic sapphire and two cubic zirconia, a necklace with a heart pendant that enclosed a cross, a gold colored ankle bracelet and a gold or silver toe ring. Dental charts and DNA are on file. Police ruled her death a homicide and said the fire had been set to cover up the murder.
- April 8, 2005, a dog-walker found the foot of a white female in a brown leather moccasin on the Lake Ontario beach behind Dickersonville Road in Ransomville. The moccasin, brand name "Cheyenne," was size 8.5 wide and had brown laces and a black sole.
- Aug. 3, 2005, an 18-to 30-year-old white male with long, brown hair, about 6 feet tall, about 147 pounds, was found about a half-mile from the mouth of the Niagara River. He had "sunshine" tattooed on his right shoulder and a dragon on his left arm. Dental records are on file.
- May 20, 2006, the torso of a woman about age 25 to 50 and about 5-foot-3 was found in the Lower Niagara River off Devil's Hole State Park. DNA is on file.
- June 22, 2007, an adult man, about 5-foot-9 and about 185 pounds, was found in the lower Niagara River off Lewiston. Dental records are on file.
- Dec. 27, 2008, a 50-year-old or older white man, about 5-foot-5 and about 128 pounds, was found on the shoreline of Fort Niagara State Park by duck-hunters. He was scarred from prior surgery. Dental records and DNA on file.
- July 23, 2016, a 40- to 60-year-old Hispanic or Latino man, about 5-foot-3 and about 124 pounds, was found in the lower Niagara River on the Lewiston waterfront. He had moderate to severe arthritis in his left TMJ joint, which connects the jaw to the skull. Dental records are on file.