O Untimely Death! – Ursula Schulze / WKT2 #25

 

 

19-year-old Ursula Schulze was abducted at a bus stop in broad daylight the morning of July 13, 1972 in Brossard, Quebec.

The abduction occurred near the girl’s home at 8442 Marie Victorin Blvd.before 8 a.m. when a man dragged her into his car.

The incident was witnessed by many people. “His large hand… he just gripped the girl by the arm and yanked her towards the car,” a witness said. The driver of the car was described as 5’5″ tall, stocky, about 35 years of age with black hair and wearing brown clothing.  Later he was described as between 40 and 50 years of age measuring between 5’6″ and 5’8″ and weighing between 150 and 170 pounds.  Witnesses said he waited for Schulze in the parking lot of La Terrasse Drive-In restaurant. 

The car was described as  “dull red”, with a fastback roofline, possibly a Toyota or a Datsun. 

A witness continued with the following, extremely detailed account of the abduction: 

“It drove up slowly behind the girl, who was standing with her back towards the car. The car stopped in the middle of the road. The driver got out and walked slowly around the back of the car. The girl just had time to turn her head when the guy rushed and grabbed her with his right arm.

“The thing I remember most about the man was his large hand. He just gripped the girl by the arm and yanked her towards the car.

“Opening the door with his other hand he pushed her inside and jumped on her. All I could see was his rear-end sticking out of the car. He must have hit her or something because when he got up and closed the door I couldn’t see the girl.

“He went around the car the same way he approached the girl and drove off. He stayed on the service road as far as I know because I didn’t see him take the entrance to the highway.”

Schulze planned to go shopping for a birthday present for her mother after she got off work at a Place d’Armes office on St. James street where she worked as a file clerk.  Mrs. Schulze described Ursula as impossibly shy. Her parents forced her to take the job as a means of meeting people. 

Schulze was found dead against the wall behind a vacant soap factory in Lapraire  by a truck driver around 4 p.m. on Friday, July 14th. She was found by some bushes near Rang St. Claude, 15 miles from where she had been abducted. One account said Schulze had been strangled. Though there were no signs she had been sexually molested, detectives said her hands and arms bore signs of a severe struggle. Another account said that Schulze had been shot through the back of the head at least twice by a small-calibre weapon.  and there were no signs of struggle at the scene where the body was found.

On Monday, July 17th Gazette reporter Jim Duff reported that an arrest was pending, “The naming of several suspects in the slaying came after a weekend of intensive investigation by detectives from both the Brossard and Quebec Police Forces.” Yet nearly two weeks later QPF detectives admitted that they were no nearer to a solution. “Despite intensive questioning of witnesses and possible suspects, police have been unable to come up with more than a general description of an automobile and the suspect.”

Eight months past. On March 15th, 1973 the following notice appeared in the Montreal Gazette:

The public hearing followed complaints from the parents of Ursula Schulze that the Brossard police did not do everything in their power to locate their daughter. Testimony revealed the father of the murdered girl and another daughter went to the Brossard police station the afternoon of the kidnapping and were told, “We’ll take care of it later.”  It was also determined that the Quebec Police Force / Surete du Quebec was not notified of the abduction until 19 hours after it occurred.

Otto Schulze testified that he went to the office of Brossard Police Chief Marcel Renaud with photos of his daughter the afternoon she disappeared.

Mr. and Mrs. Otto Schulze

 

“He told me to place the pictures on Blain’s desk (Assistant Director Paul Emile Blain). He said Blain had no time for that right now because he had a more important job to do… that he had a tip on something.”. Chief Renaud told him that Blain would go to his house in about “half-an-hour” for more information on his daughter. “Nobody came to the house until 11:30 p.m. that night.”

Ursula’s sister, Angele who accompanied her father to the police station, continued the testimony. “One of the men at the station suggested that my sister might have made off with some guy. ‘She’s 19 years old and she’s an adult.’ “I told him: ‘Not my sister, I know her.’

Testimony continued:

“…[the duty officer at the time] did not order roadblocks or inform Quebec Provincial Police because this was not “standard practice”. In fact, there were no directives on what standard practice was in such a case.

Other duty officers said they did not know that QPP headquarters was not cut in on the regional network used by municipal forces and thought “somebody else” had informed the QPP directly.

Blain and the officer in charge of criminal investigations, spent the day investigating a report of a robbery by four prison escapees which he told the commission he judged the more serious of the cases.

Both he and Director Renaud thought the QPP had been informed of the kidnapping and were investigating it.”

In April 1973 the commission issued its report. While praising the efforts of on-the-ground constables the report faulted the force director Marcel Renauld and his Assistant Director Paul-Emile Blain for

“”learning nothing” from the incident and failing to instruct force members on how to handle major crimes.”. The report went on to say, “…the “off-hand” manner of force superiors, coupled with the ignorance of force members on procedures and how to use regional communications systems, severely hampered the investigation.”

Brossard Police Chief Renaud called the report “unfair”, “It’s unfortunate they had to judge my department on one isolated incident.” Among the recommendations the Quebec Police Commission recommended that police take special courses in criminal inquires. Renaud stated that is was standard practices to send his men to the Police Academy in Nicolet. “Of the 32 policemen I have I would say only four haven’t gone to the academy yet. But they will be soon.”

The report called on Renaud to ensure that his men put in more than a minimum effort. Renaud replied, “What’s a minimum effort for a guy who works 14 to 18 hours a day?”

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Montreal Gazette, Tuesday, July 10th, 1973:

“Slain girl’s parents suing police

The family of Ursula Schulze, the 19-year-old Brossard girl kidnapped and murdered last July, is suing the Brossard police department and the Quebec Police Force.

A suit is expected tomorrow in Superior Court on behalf of Mr. and Mrs. Otto Schulze by lawyer Morris Chaikelson.

Chaikelson said yesterday he is preparing the suit because the Schulzes blame the two forces for the death.”

The Schulzes filed two $100,000 court suits claiming police incompetence in the kidnapping death of their daughter. Defendants in the suits were the Quebec Government, The Quebec Police Force, the town of Brossard, and several of the municipality’s policemen. Each of the Schulzes sought $50,000 for the loss of their daughter in both actions.

No further stories were filed in this matter. It is presumed that the Schulze settled with the Quebec government privately and never went further with legal proceedings.

Despite a good description of Ursula Schulze’s abductor and his vehicle, her murderer has never been apprehended.

 

“Those who forget the mistakes of history are destined to repeat them.”

 

(with acknowledgement to the archives of the Montreal Gazette)

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