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Man charged in Alberta prostitute murder

TENILLE BONOGUORE
Globe and Mail Update

The man who discovered the body of Albertan prostitute Rachel Quinney has been charged with her murder.
Thomas Svekla is due to appear in Edmonton Provincial Court on Thursday, January 4, charged with second degree murder and one count of offering an indignity to a human body in relation to the death of 19-year-old Ms. Quinney.

Mr. Svekla reported the discovery of her body in a wooded area near Sherwood Park, Alberta, on June 11, 2004.

Mr. Svekla is already in police custody. He was charged on May 9, 2006, with the second degree murder of prostitute Theresa Merrie Innes, whose body was discovered at a Fort Saskatchewan residence on May 7, 2006. Mr. Svekla was also charged with committing an indignity to Ms. Innes’s body.



Investigators from the RCMP’s Project KARE have met with Ms. Quinney’s family to advise them of the latest charges.

In a statement released to announce the charges, the RCMP warned it was far from solving what appears to be a series of linked murders.

“Project KARE continues to assert that one or more persons are responsible for one or more deaths of Edmonton and area sex trade workers. Accordingly our work is far from being considered over,” the statement reads.

“These most recent charges strengthen our determination and commitment to do all we legally can to solve all of these crimes and to bring everyone responsible before the courts.”

The task force has spent more than two years investigating the deaths of dozens Alberta women, many of them involved in the sex trade.

While police acknowledged last year that a serial killer was likely responsible for many of the killings in and around Edmonton, they have refused to say whether Mr. Svekla is their man.

The area where Ms. Innes was found has become a dumping ground for the bodies of prostitutes. Since 1988, the bodies of eight women have been found east of Edmonton.

Project KARE is an RCMP-led unsolved homicide and missing person’s task force. Together with the Edmonton Police Service, over 70 cases dating back several decades have been analyzed.

Since 1988, there have been at least 14 unsolved murders of women — most of them prostitutes — in the Greater Edmonton Area.

Most of the slain women have been discovered in rural fields and ditches east of Edmonton, and at least two were burned.

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