Coda: The curious case of Tammy Leakey – March 12, 1981

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The unsolved murder of Tammy Leakey may not be connected to the other cases in the 1970s, but there are details about the case that inform / illuminate those cases from that period.

There’s a lot of mis-information out there about the Tammy Leakey case (my past contributions included). There’s even a Facebook page dedicated to solving her murder, but there hasn’t been an update since 2014, and from the best that I can tell that site should really be titled, “Everything having NOTHING TO DO with Tammy Leakey”.

I’ve been sitting on original documents for 2 1/2 years now (if you question why? Consider this: it is not much fun reading an autopsy report). Recently I re-read them. Like some of the other cases, the docs included some investigative surprises (police reports: thanks again, SPVM).

The 35th anniversary of Tammy’s unsolved murder very recently passed us by, completely unnoticed and unappreciated. Let’s take a look at the case:

Disappearance

Tammy Leakey

A lot of information on the internet derives from the above article published in the Montreal Gazette, I believe in 1982. It gets a lot of the case details right, but in some cases it gets the information wrong. Here’s a run-down:

Tammy Leakey lived with her mother in an apartment at  339 5th avenue in Verdun. Her parents were divorced.  On Thursday evening, March 12th, Tammy’s mother went to visit a friend in Point Saint Charles for coffee. Betty Leakey brings her daughters along with her, Tammy age 12, and Donna age 8. The friend, Bonnie Tapp, lives on Ryde street in Point Saint Charles. The distance is approximately a 10 minute drive, or 40 minute walk between Verdon and Point Saint Charles.

IMG_0193At about 8:45 pm on the evening of March 12th, 1981, Tammy is sent to a local depanneur, Chez Bert to buy milk for coffee, a block away at the corner of Liverpool and Coleraine Sts. Tammy is excited to go on the promise that she can buy chocolate bars for her and her sister.

IMG_0194By 9:20 pm, Tammy hasn’t returned. Betty Leakey and Bonnie Tapp are worried, Tapp proceeds to the depanneur. The owner says that Tammy came to the shop, bought milk and chocolate, and left around 9:05 pm. Walking back to her apartment, Tapp sees in the gutter a brown bag containing milk and a chocolate bar, and Tammy’s glasses in front of 2340 Ryde street. (in some version it is this guy in the photo who found the items in the gutter) The time is approximately 9:25 pm.

Betty Leakey and Bonnie Tapp decide to canvass the neighborhood. At approximately 9:30 pm they knock on the apartment door at 2340 Ryde street, the home of Eve Renauld. Renauld tells them that she had just seen a man in a beige trench-coat get out of a small red car and force a young girl, screaming and yelling, into it.

Discovery of the body

At approximately 10:45 pm on the same evening, March 12, 1981, 73-year-old Ewing Tait is driving along Lindsay street in Dorval’s industrial park when he notices “something in the field along side the road”.

What he first thinks are rags is actually clothing. He stops and discovers the body of a young child, lying on her stomach with arms outstretched. The body is still warm. The police are notified, and Tammy Leakey is taken to the Lachine General Hospital. At the hospital she is pronounced dead on arrival. Cause of death: strangulation.

The lead investigators on the case were SD Maurice Chartrand and Roland Ouimet of the MUC police. The autopsy was performed by Theresa Sourour under the assistance of Andre Lauzon. Tammy was strangled with a length of rope of electrical wire. Recovered at the scene were her blue jeans, jean jacket (which contained a chocolate bar in the pocket), pink underwear, white stockings, and one – only one – blue shoe.

Aftermath

A year after the disappearance the Point Saint Charles community was not happy with the level of police service they were receiving (see article above). People complained that the Longueuil police were not doing enough to solve the crime, and that the safety of children was at risk. MUC police spokesman Norm Couillard tells the community that MUC police are “too busy trying to solve this year’s cases” (the article dryly notes that none of the 1981 cases were solved).  Robert Cote, the district commander for The Point, tries to assure the community that there’s a “good chance” the Leakey case will be solved. “No case is ever closed. There is no statute of limitations for murder”, Cote argues.  

Then why is there an unspoken statute of limitations on evidence retention? 

Well, you get my point, this is sounding all too familiar.

Some additional thoughts

The most striking thing is the extraordinary compression of time between disappearance and discovery: it is about 90 minutes. In no other case do we see such an accelerated passing of events.

Think about it: Leakey is last seen at 9:05 in the depanneur. Give a couple of minutes to be abducted in front of the Ryde street apartment. She’s found at about 10:45 pm on Lindsay street in Dorval, that’s at least a 20 minute car ride from Ryde. The perpetrator had approximately 1 hour to conduct their business and strangle Leakey before leaving her in Dorval.

Here’s another thing. I don’t believe Leakey was stalked. Leakey’s mother traveled from Verdun to PSC to visit her friend. No one in The Point knew Tammy Leakey. This was an incredibly high-risk crime of opportunity, a snatch-and-run, very similar to the Sharron Prior snatch-and-run.

And while we are on the subject of Sharron Prior. Yes, Leakey’s abduction point is approximately 2 blocks from the point where Sharron Prior was abducted in 1975.  But Prior was raped, Leakey was not.

What do we make of that? Leakey was 4’10”, 88 lbs. Prior was 5’3″ 103 lbs. It was late at night. Did the perpetrator later realize that Leakey was much younger and abandon plans? Did something change?

What do we make of one shoe being missing? Haven’t we seen peculiarities with shoes in the other cases? Camirand: missing boots. Hawkes; shoes dumped on a side street. Monast: socks neatly placed in shoes. Bazinet: one shoe missing. Allore: Chinese slippers missing.

And what about the description of the car?  Eve Renauld describes a man in a beige trench-coat with a small red car. The tire tracks at the Louise Camirand site tell us it was also a small car: a Renault, Toyota or Mini-Austin.

Tammy Leakey was not found in a field

Contrary to news reports Tammy Leakey was not found in a field. She was found on the curb, to the side of the road of Lindsay Street, as the following crime scene map demonstrates:

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And those 4 points along the sidewalk? Those mark where blood was found. In addition to being strangled, Tammy was beaten about the head and her back. Here’s a police photo from the crime scene:

 

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So Tammy Leakey wasn’t dragged into a field. She was abandoned at the side of the road. I would guess that the perpetrator knew the location before hand where they dumped her: you just don’t wander into the industrial section of Dorval.

So who do we know that might have known that section of town? Well there’s the “Chateauguay Killer”. As we pointed out earlier, MX worked at Record Tools, LTD which is about a 10 minute drive from 890 Lindsay street, where Tammy Leakey was found.  What we don’t know is whether MX was out on parole at this point. We only know that he served a very minimum sentence for the murders of Norma O’Brien and Debbie Fisher.

Here’s another peculiar thing. One of the lead investigating officers on the Leakey case shares the same last name with the “Chateauguay Killer”. Similarly, one of the lead investigating officers on the Prior case shares the same last name as the 7 brothers who recently appeared in a Longueuil court on sex crime charges dating back to 1964 – 1976 in the Longueuil area. Now they are both common names, and I don’t want to create a panic over nothing, but with these 2 cases still unresolved after 35-plus years? I would be looking into every angle, including collusion. 

 

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4 thoughts on “Coda: The curious case of Tammy Leakey – March 12, 1981”

  1. Just speculating – the missing shoes are possibly a trophy for a sexual fetish and desire. These are sexual crimes, and taking girl’s and women’s shoes are part of the experience. He’ll go back and relive the moment with them in the safety of his home. A link to what he did. A link to what drives him. For the shoes he left with the bodies, there was specific attention paid to them.

  2. I’m not sure why you would say nobody in the Point knew Tammy. We all knew her. We all knew her sister, Donna. They went to school with us at Lorne…we lived at 847 Hibernia, we were out in our gallery at 855 pm saying goodnight to my sister, husband and new baby niece. When I woke up the next morning and my mom said Tammy Leakey was dead I knew who she was talking about…my mother was devasted that we didn’t stay out on the gallery another few minutes…

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