Coroner report challenges police theory Gravenhurst man Justin Evans died by suicide

WARNING: Some readers may find the content of this story disturbing.

A coroner’s report detailing the autopsy of the body of Justin Evans has ruled the 22-year-old’s death as undetermined and reveals new evidence into what could have happened to the Gravenhurst man.

The post-mortem was performed May 21, 2021 by the Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario, at the edge of a swamp in a wooded area that borders Muskoka Mobile Home Park where he lived.

He had been missing since Dec. 12, 2020.

The cause of death is listed as “unascertained.” OPP have said and Evans’ family said police told them he took his own life.

DECOMPOSITION RESULTS IN UNDETERMINED FINDINGS

In the report, released to Evans’ mother Jaime Wise and shared with Metroland, investigating coroner Dr. Scott Whynot determined that due to advanced decomposition of the head and neck area the cause of death could not be determined. 

“The postmortem scavenging artefacts to the neck and chest area may have obscured some injuries that could have been fatal,” the report said.

Evans’ body was found May 19, lying face up, “partially submerged” in water and “partially entangled in tree roots at the side of a pond,” the report details. He was identified through dental records.

Located with the body was a “bag of grassy appearing substance” and an “empty case of headphones,” the report said.

Two “superficial, likely non-fatal” wounds were found on the left forearm, each 7.5 centimetres in length, located on the radial side of the wrist, cutting tendons but no major blood vessels, according to the coroner.

On May 22, the day after the post-mortem, the report states a “rusted Exacto knife” was retrieved from the water near where the body was found.

“The possibility of drowning also cannot be excluded,” the report said, adding no significant natural disease was identified and toxicology testing conducted by Dr. Liza Boucher was “non-contributory.”

A CT scan found no further injury to the body.

REPORT DETAILS NEW EVIDENCE

A narrative of the history of the case is included in the coroner’s report, citing “a neighbour had committed suicide and in an audio suicide note seemed to take responsibility for Mr. Evans’ disappearance, though did not give any specific details regarding his death or the location of his body.”

In a second reference to the incident the report states that, “a neighbour committed suicide and in an audio suicide note he said: ‘I am responsible for Justin’s death’.”

Metroland has confirmed through Evans’ family and multiple residents of Muskoka Mobile Home Park that Lucas Ulbinas lived next door to Evans.

Among a list of evidence included in the report are items taken from Ulbinas’ home, Evans’ home and a shed located between the two where “significant amounts of blood” were found in December 2020. An online obituary states Ulbinas, a Hamilton native, died Jan. 6, 2021.

in connection with the case. The charge has not been proven and .

Wise and her family are somewhat relieved at the report’s findings; . The report states “there was no known history of suicidal ideation.”

“The mental anguish that they’ve put us through,” she said of the police suicide theory, “it just breaks you on the inside.”

“There’s so much that (police) are never going to be able to answer,” she added.


The phone number for the branch is The adult crisis line in Muskoka is and the children’s crisis line for those 18 and under is The Kids Help Phone number is