Last September, the ongoing mass search for Holly Ellsworth-Clark came to a devastating conclusion when the 27 year-old’s body was discovered floating in Hamilton Harbour at Pier 11.
The young musician and recent Hamilton transplant was last seen on January 11th, 2020 after leaving her home on Sanford Avenue near Barton Street East in distress, carrying a baseball bat and leaving her cellphone behind.
The disappearance led to a massive months-long search for Holly, led publicly by father Dave Clark alongside friend and employer Elle McFearsin.
It was a search that inspired large-scale community uprising and support with search teams, posters, a dedicated Facebook group, tip lines, and active ongoing efforts by Hamilton Police; a search that led to countless dead ends, disappointments, and loose threads.
Following the discovery of Ellsworth-Clark’s body on September 10th, a statement released by Hamilton Police noted that the tragic death was not believed to be suspicious in nature.
However, Ellsworth-Clark’s family – unconvinced by the result – requested that Ontario’s chief forensic pathologist perform an unconventional second autopsy.
Family has 2nd autopsy performed on Holly Ellsworth-Clark as they question how she died https://t.co/XPI54LLx73
— Crime&All (@crimeandall) December 25, 2020
So what did that second autopsy reveal? Not too much, unfortunately.
With a similar result to the first autopsy, the second still indicated that it was impossible to tell exactly when Ellsworth-Clark died as her body had been in the water for so long. Additionally, there was no sign of injury and no drugs detected in her system.
Holly’s father Dave Clark has issued a statement via the Holly Clark Search group on Facebook.
“How Holly came to disappear and die remains a mystery,” he said. “We requested a second autopsy from the Province of Ontario as some of the details around Holly and the state she was found in, were murky. We were graciously granted this by Dr. Pollanen who is the Chief Pathologist for the province. Thank you to Dr. Pollanen, his staff and the others who do this difficult work.
“The autopsies and multiple toxicology tests could not determine how or when Holly died. They also could not find trauma or injury which led to her death. None of the toxicology testing found any illegal drugs, recreational drugs or prescribed medications in her system at the time of her death.”
The family believes Holly’s death to be accidental, revealing that the 27 year-old was known to “take part in cold plunges in glacial water” and may have done so in a self-healing effort while in distress.
“When faced with the question of how she might have ended up in the lake in the winter without any evidence of trauma, we have to consider the possibility that she may have gotten into it herself – she might have taken a plunge to attempt to clear her tumultuous mind,” adds Clark, albeit with a large amount of uncertainty.
“Or maybe she was taken by aliens and her death is an elaborate hoax. The point is that we are only speculating – way out on a limb. We don’t know. We may never know.”
The full statement can be read on the Holly Clark Search group on Facebook.