After the search for Tim Bosma ended tragically with the discovery of his remains in Waterloo, police now say they are investigating a murder.
“This is now a homicide investigation,” Hamilton Det.-Sgt. Matt Kavanagh told a news conference Tuesday afternoon.
He revealed Bosma’s body was “burned beyond recognition” and a cause of death has not yet been determined.
Dellen Millard, the 27-year-old man in custody in connection to the case will have his charges upgraded to first-degree murder on Wednesday when he appears in Hamilton court, the detective said.
Millard was previously charged with forcible confinement and theft of Bosma’s truck 2007 black Dodge Ram 3500 following the Ancaster man’s disappearance on May 6.
Kavanagh said based on video evidence they now know when Bosma left his home with two males to test drive the truck, a second vehicle — which may have been an SUV — followed them.
It is now confirmed Bosma’s black pickup truck was found inside a trailer that police say is registered to Millard’s company parked at his mother’s home in Kleinburg.
“I believe he died shortly after he was abducted,” Kavanagh said.
Based on the new evidence, they are now considering at least three suspects, including Millard, in the murder.
Kavanagh said he still cannot say what motive the suspects may have had in kidnapping Bosma — who he said was targeted.
“I wish I could. I don’t know the motive at this time,” he said. “This has been a terrible crime.”
Kavanagh would not confirm where Bosma’s remains were found in Waterloo.
Police have executed two search warrants in the Waterloo Region and officers were seen at both a farm property owned by Millard and the Waterloo Regional Airport hangar where Millard’s aviation company is headquartered.
A forensics team continues to work on the case, Kavanagh said, as the search turns to finding the other suspects involved with help from police forces across the GTA.
On Monday, the search had extended to a rural farm property owned by the Millard family.
Several vehicles including Hamilton police cruisers and a forensics van were seen at the field at 2548 Roseville Rd. in North Dumfries Township, where a laneway leading to a large wooden barn was cordoned off with yellow police tape.
Monday marked a week since Bosma’s disappearance and it remains a mystery what anyone would have wanted with the 32-year-old father or his truck.
Police say Bosma posted his truck for sale online and was contacted by two men in their mid-20s, who arrived at his home on foot. After leaving with them for a test drive, he never returned.
Just a day earlier, police allege the same men arrived at an Etobicoke business to test a newer Dodge Ram model, but returned that man and departed.
Millard himself appears to have already owned a Dodge truck.
A cherry red 2005 Dodge Ram 3500 was registered to Millard Holdings Ltd., an amalgamated company formerly helmed by his late grandfather, Carl Millard, and father Wayne Millard.
On Monday, Hamilton police confirmed a large covered trailer they say is registered to Millard’s company was found in Kleinburg, Ont. with a black pickup truck inside. Police did not say whether the truck is Bosma’s as they sought a search warrant.
A neighbour who lives next door to the Tinsmith Crt. address where the trailer was found said it first appeared in the driveway late Thursday. The home belongs to Millard’s mother, Madeleine Burns, who is listed as the sole owner.
“It was suspicious in that it was parked right up against the garage,” said Frank Cianfarani, who called the police to have them check out the trailer.
Kavanagh said Tuesday Burns has nothing to do with the case.
In court documents, Millard is listed as living on Maple Gate Crt. in Etobicoke, which was transferred from grandparents Carl and Della to Dellen and his father in April 2008.
He was also listed on a Derry Rd. W. home in Mississauga alongside his father in April 2008. That property was sold for $795,000 in June 2012, several months before his father’s death.
Millard purchased a rural Waterloo Region property on Roseville Rd. in 2011 for $835,000. That property is also being searched, Hamilton police confirmed Monday night.
According to Millard's lawyer Deepak Paradkar, Millardair performed aircraft maintenance with several staff at the Waterloo hangar, which was modernized after the company moved from a Pearson airport hangar in 2012.
But a Transport Canada spokesperson confirmed the company’s certification as an approved maintenance organization was cancelled this past February at the company’s request.
The maintenance and manufacturing branch of the government department oversees standards for aircraft operations in Canada and gives approval to do specific maintenance work.
It is not clear what work Millardair was continuing to do at the hangar.
Pictures posted to a Facebook page between March 2010 and February 2012 show Millard working on several cars inside what appears to be an airport hangar. A video posted March 2012 on the same page shows Millard inside a small helicopter, its propellers rotating as it sits on the tarmac.
On Monday afternoon, forensic identification officers were seen entering the hangar and taking photographs around the perimeter as a police van remained parked outside the building’s door.
Dellen Millard, the man charged by Hamilton police in connection with the disappearance of Tim Bosma, whose remains have now been found, made headlines in 1999, with a story fitting for a teenager from an aviation family.
On his 14th birthday, Millard became the youngest Canadian to pilot solo both a helicopter and an airplane on the same day.
Millard's grandfather, Carl, was a Canadian aviation legend. He started his own charter airline in 1954, Rob Seaman wrote in Wings Magazine in 2005. Before that, Carl had been a pilot for Tran-Canada Airlines, which became Air Canada.
Millard also told Seaman that he was "a direct descendant of Chief Joseph Brant," the Mohawk leader who aided the British forces during the American Revolution in the mid-1700s.Facebook photos show Dellen Millard, 27, has an interest in restoring and repairing cars, as well as offroad racing. (Facebook)
Millard Air was incorporated in 1963 and eventually had a fleet of 21 planes. The charter airline was based at Toronto's main airport, operating until it went into bankruptcy in 1990.
Later, the Millard family owned an aircraft servicing and maintenance company, also based at Toronto's Pearson International Airport. Carl died in 2006 and his son Wayne, took over the business.
Before he died in December 2012, Wayne was starting up Millardair MRO, described as "a new provider for aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul service." It was based at Waterloo International Airport in Ontario and had the largest hangar at the airport, with plans to employ 40 to 90 people, Canadian Skies magazine reported at the time.
In his father's obituary which appeared in the Toronto Star, Dellen wrote: "For father piloting wasn't just his job, it was his freedom."
Dellen's record flights
Wayne had learned to fly when he was five, sitting in his father's lap. Wayne's son, Dellen, also learned about flying when he was young but only began formal flying lessons in the months before his record flights.
The day after setting that record, the 14-year-old told CTV News, "It was just incredible flying alone. You look over at the seat and there's nobody there."
"It felt great and free. You can do anything up there," Dellen added. At the time, he was a student at the Toronto French School.
Dellen has flying in his background on his mother's side, too. Madeleine Burns is a former Air Canada flight attendant. (On Sunday, in Kleinburg, police found a trailer, containing a black pickup truck, in Burns's driveway.)
When he was 21, Wayne told the Toronto Star that Dellen wanted to start a helicopter business.
From flying to car racing
In 2011, Dellen, along with co-driver Andrew Michalski competed in the Baja 500 desert off-road race in Mexico. Michalski's Facebook page has photos of him and Dellen working on the bright yellow jeep before the race. The photos were taken at an airport hangar.
The Hamilton Police Services forensic truck was on scene at the Millardair hangar at Waterloo airport Monday. (Christopher Williams/CBC)
On Friday, police arrested Millard "without incident while driving" in Mississauga, Ont. Initially Millard, 27, was charged with forcible confinement and theft over $5,000." On Tuesday afternoon, Matt Kavanaugh, Hamilton Police's lead investigator on the case, told a media conference that Millard will be charged with murder.
Hamilton police Supt. Dan Kinsella said that police believe Millard was the driver in a test-drive in Toronto that had similarities to the one that led to Bosma's disappearance. "Millard is the suspect with the 'Ambition' tattoo," Kinsella added, referring to the word on his wrist.
Dellen Millard stands beside the yellow Jeep he and Andrew Michalski drove in the 2011 Baja 500 off-road race. (Facebook)
Millard's lawyer, Deepak Paradkar, told CBC News his client isn't the type of person to commit such crimes.
"He's a very unassuming, humble person. He's intelligent, well-educated and financially well off, so there's no motive here," Paradkar said.
"He's never had a brush with law, never been to jail," Paradkhar added.