Police identify burned remains of Port Renfrew man

Bruce Edward Carlson, 49, a resident of Port Renfrew and local Pacheedaht First Nation artist identified as the deceased in burned car.

RCMP have identified the human remains found inside a burned vehicle in Port Renfrew belonging to a local Pacheedaht First Nation man.

The Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit confirmed Bruce Edward Carlson, 49, a lifelong resident of Port Renfrew and local artist, as the deceased.

Police did not say how Carlson ended up in the vehicle, though foul play is still suspected.

“Foul play has not been ruled out and we are asking for anyone with information to contact police,” said RCMP Island District media spokesperson Cpl. Tammy Douglas.

The investigation has been ongoing between the Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit, the B.C. Coroners Service and the RCMP since December 27, when a passerby came across a burned out grey 2004 Pontiac Grand Am sedan on the Pacheedaht First Nation reserve.

Police have not released any info as to who the vehicle belonged to or how it got there.

The disturbing discovery comes as an odd coincidence of events after Carlson’s house, located on the Pacheedaht First Nation reserve, burned down in a suspicious fire in September 2015, which also destroyed his woodworking shop and tools. A member of  Carlson’s family was injured in the house fire, suffering burns on his back and wrist.

Ardina Jones, Pacheedaht First Nation health director, said Carlson carved totems, masks, as well as other aboriginal works out of wood, which he sold abroad. He also served as the local tow service, being the only one in the area with a tow truck and proper equipment in a small community of about 300 people.

Just days after the fire, the T’Sou-ke First Nation as well as other Sooke residents delivered clothes, basic house items and some tools to help Carlson and his family get back on their feet.

Exact cause of the fire however, was never identified.

Police did not comment on the whereabouts of Carlson’s truck or where he was living around the time of his death.

Douglas said little information is being released as the investigation is ongoing, but hopes the public can provide helpful tips or info by calling Sooke RCMP at 250-642-5241, or, to remain anonymous, via Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.