Police, coroner’s office request assistance finding next of kin, claimant for Eric Lee

Eric Lee, pictured here in July of 2018. Photo by Cris Vilela.

After publishing an obituary regarding the death of Eric Lee, former mayoral candidate and well-known Kingston icon ‘The Elevator Guy,’ Kingstonist has learned that Kingston Police and the Regional Coroner’s Office are currently still looking for Lee’s next of kin.

“This isn’t a police issue, I am simply trying to assist the Coroner’s Office in locating next of kin or someone to step up and offer to oversee a service for Mr. Lee,” said Det.-Sgt. Jay Finn of Kingston Police.

Since Lee’s passing on Monday, Mar. 4, 2019, no one has claimed his body, and both police and the coroner’s office have been unable to track down any of Lee’s family or next of kin. Without being able to find any blood relatives, Lee’s body will remain unclaimed unless police and the coroner’s office are able to determine a claimat – that is, a person or organization that is prepared to assume responsibility for disposition, i.e. a friend, colleague, neighbour, charitable organization, or religious institution, according to the Government of Ontario.

While it is unknown whether or not Lee contributed to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), if a claimant does come forward, there are services available to ensure the costs of Lee’s cremation and/or interment are covered, both through CPP and otherwise.

“We don’t want people to fear stepping up due to thinking they’ll be financially responsible,” Finn said.

We at Kingstonist have done a deep dive into our files on Lee, re-listening to our interview with Lee when he was running for Mayor in the 2018 municipal election. We have been able to determine the following facts that may help jog people’s memories as to the names of any of Lee’s family members, which might be helpful in locating next of kin.

Lee’s family moved to Kingston in the late 1980s from the US (California, specifically). His mother passed away first, before Lee began working at S&R, and his father passed away in 1998.

“I miss my dad very much, he was wonderful. Best person I met in my life was my father,” Lee told us in July of 2018.

Lee said his father was a World War Two veteran who did 15 missions, and was a Lancaster bomber named Henry Bishop Lee. According to Lee, his father spoke to the Toronto Star in 1942 about his mission in the war.

Some of Lee’s friends recall him talking about an uncle and perhaps some cousins in Toronto, which is where he was born, and other friends recall him referring to a brother, possibly more than one.

Det.-Sgt. Finn said he contacted Kingstonist in the hope that we might be able to help locate either one of Lee’s family members, or an appropriate claimant to ensure Lee’s end-of-life services are seen to. Without that, it will either be up to the coroner’s office or the Office of the Public Guardian Trustee to deal with Lee’s body.

“We’re just hoping we can find a member of his family, or that someone will step up to ensure that Mr. Lee is given the service he deserves,” Finn said.


Anyone with information on possible next of kin, or anyone who might be suitable as a claimant is asked to call Det. Sgt. Jay Finn at 613-549-4660 ext. 6228. or by email at [email protected].

4 thoughts on “Police, coroner’s office request assistance finding next of kin, claimant for Eric Lee

  • When Eric’s body is claimed, I will do a memorial/funeral service for him.

  • Can you not look up his father’s obituary to find out any family that way.

  • Why is there such an interest from the police, etc in this case… money…? Doesn’t make sense to me as many people die unclaimed…. lol my guess so shall I be one day……….. unless of course my Boys think there is something to claim re money….. So perhaps the post could read, “A Large inheritance unclaimed after the death of the Gentleman pictured in the photo….. please contact the Kingston Police re same”, lol..

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