Fearful symmetry in Winnipeg
thanks to Queenie for this
Tue, March 29, 2005
By CARY CASTAGNA, POLICE REPORTER
The prime suspect in the unsolved 1981 murder of Winnipeg waitress Barbara Stoppel has died. Terry Arnold, 42, was found dead of an apparent suicide Saturday afternoon in his apartment in Victoria, B.C.
Officers from the Victoria Police Department were called to an apartment about 1 p.m. to check on the welfare of a resident, said Sgt. Michael Brown.
The body of a man, who was later identified as Terry Arnold, was discovered in the suite, Brown said.
“There does not appear to be any signs of foul play,” Brown told The Sun. “The investigation is being classified as sudden death, believed to be a suicide.”
An autopsy had yet to be conducted, Brown said.
Arnold, a convicted pedophile with a lengthy criminal history, became the No. 1 suspect in the Stoppel slaying shortly after Thomas Sophonow was exonerated in June 2000.
However, Arnold was never charged.
“I’m quite glad Terry Arnold is no longer on this planet at this point because he can harm no one else,” Stoppel’s brother, Rick Stoppel said yesterday.
But the murder victim’s sibling expressed frustration with Winnipeg police for failing to solve the case when they had the chance.
He said Chief Jack Ewatski told his family several years ago that Arnold was the killer. “Why has nothing happened?” he asked.
Winnipeg police spokeswoman Const. Shelly Glover said Arnold’s death “doesn’t do anything” to the ongoing Stoppel homicide investigation.
“As far as our investigation goes, nothing has changed,” Glover said. “If new information comes to light we will investigate it.”
Stoppel, 16, was strangled and left for dead in a washroom in a Goulet Street doughnut shop on Dec. 23, 1981.
Sophonow, who protested his innocence for 20 years, was tried three times and was convicted of murder twice, spending almost four years in jail before being freed and eventually awarded $2.6 million in compensation.
“That’s too bad,” Sophonow said of Arnold’s death. “It’ll be more hardship on the Stoppel family than myself. They themselves won’t see any closure. As far as I’m concerned, I’ve already been vindicated.”
Arnold had a striking physical resemblance to Sophonow, lived near the St. Vital doughnut shop and was interviewed at the time of the murder.
Arnold told police he had a crush on Stoppel and admitted visiting the teenager in hospital before she died.
“He was clearly the person of most interest in terms of the Barbara Stoppel death,” said Jay Prober, the Stoppel family’s lawyer.
Arnold, who served eight years for raping several Newfoundland children, was also being investigated in the 1987 slaying of a 17-year-old Calgary girl.
He had been convicted eight years ago of first-degree murder for the 1991 slaying of a British Columbia teen and was serving a life sentence until he won a new trial on appeal.
In March 2002, the B.C. Crown Attorney’s office decided to stay the charge against Arnold and he was immediately released from jail.