The disappearances of Julie Surprenant and Jolene Riendeau.
The disappearances of Julie Surprenant and Jolene Riendeau.
Sasha Reid is a PhD candidate in Applied Psychology and Human Development at the University of Toronto, AND has spent 11 years studying serial homicide. Last summer Sasha contacted the Toronto police with a basic profile of the man she suspected was stalking the city’s LGBTQ community.
Early this year police charged Bruce McArther with six murders. The investigation into McArthur, a 66-year-old landscaper, has revealed that police found remains of at least six people at homes on Mallory Cresent, where McArthur mowed the owners’ lawn in exchange for storing work equipment in their garage.
Many of the characteristics of Reid’s profile matched the behaviors of McArthur.
On June 12, 1995 Joleil Campeau told her mom she was headed to a friend’s house nearby her home on Debussy St., in the North-West area of Laval. It was late afternoon, a Monday, The 9-year-old girl’s regular path to her friend’s house involved crossing through a wooded area behind her home.
Her body was discovered four days later, submerged in a creek in the wooded area. Whoever killed her had masturbated on her. A coroner determined she died of asphyxiation caused by drowning and declared her death a homicide.
This much is known. On April 27, 1982, 27-year-old Sylvie Trudel was found decapitated and dismembered in the downtown Montreal apartment of “Richard Owen.” That same afternoon a pedestrian discovered the dismembered body of Murielle Guay in trash bags in a wooded area of Mille-Îles northwest of Montreal.
Both murders have long been attributed to American serial killer William Dean Christensen (AKA “Richard Bill Owen”). So why is the Surete du Quebec continuing to pursue Guay’s case as a unresolved murder? (click here to go to their website)
Tracing the origins of misinformation on the internet reveals the following:
the sectioned corpse of Murielle Guay, 26, was found wrapped in trash bags at Mille-Isles, 50 miles northwest of Montreal. Police were initially reluctant to connect the crimes, noting that Trudel’s killer displayed “a certain amount of expertise,” while victim Guay was “really butchered,” but their doubts were resolved by April 29, with murder warrants issued in the name of William Christenson.
On February 25, 2012 the website Coolopolis reported that:
“[Christensen] also murdered Murielle Guay, 26, of Laval, whose body was found dismembered in Mille Iles, northwest of Montreal, decapitated as well, but with less skill, leading authorities to initially believe that it was not the same killer.”
Finally, in his book, Cold North Killers, published March 3, 2013 Lee Mellor writes:
So when did conjecture become internet fact? Difficult to say. When questioned, my friend and colleague Kristian Gravenor – who runs Coolopolis – stated that he was simply reporting what had been reported.
Fact from Fiction
It’s hard not to hold Christensen as a viable suspect. He was released in error from Montreal’s Bordeaux prison just two weeks prior to the murders of Trudel and Guay. Bordeaux is within striking distance from the Bar América on St-Laurent Street in Montreal, where Guay was last seen on April 17, 1982 (contrary to internet reports, Guay was 19, not 24 or 26).
I cannot find any news item that definitely links Christensen to the murder of Guay. A 1984 La Presse article state he was “thought to be responsible” for Guay’s murder. In 1985 La Presse reported that Christensen was “suspected” of Guay’s murder. In 1989 Le Nouvelliste merely states he was being “investigated” in her murder.
The Washington Post reported in 1985 that Christensen was “charged in the mutilation deaths of two women in Canada.”, but apparently those charges – at least in the case of Guay – were dropped. Currently Christensen is serving time in the United States for a Pennsylvania murder.
So who killed Murielle Guay? It’s curious. From memory I recall one other case of dismemberment: the 1989 case of Valerie Dalpe.
It’s also curious – and frustrating – why the Quebec media doesn’t show a greater interest in these matters. The Surete du Quebec have posted new information on over 60 cases. I’m sure they would welcome the attention, investigation, publication and support of media partners.
Apparently the Surete du Quebec no longer consider William Dean Christensen as a suspect, and are looking for answers.
Background on the life of Ugo Fredette. Fredette was arrested yesterday for the stabbing murder of his wife Veronique Barbe. and the abduction of his youngest child, Luka Fredette.
Fredette is the co-producer of the film Novembre 84, about a series of child abductions in Montreal in 1984. He is also the co-producer of 7 Femmes, a film about seven of the cold cases we have discussed in this podcast.
Part two of the episode:
Music from episodes 35 and 36 is from the great 70s lost band Spooky Tooth.
I took some flak for playing Barry Manilow in episode 32, but there was a specific reason I chose Manilow which should be fairly obvious.
Episode 35 returns to vintage 70s rock. If the music sounds somewhat familiar and resonant, it should. Spooky Tooth launched Gary Wright (Dream Weaver) and Mick Jones (Foreigner):
Michael Arntfield joins us to talk about his latest book, Murder In Plain English – From Manifestos to Memes – Looking at Murder through the words of Killers.
We discuss how artifice and crime are linked and inform each other.
A response to The Minds Of Madness podcast.
We backtrack. Revisit Luc Gregoire.
The music: It’s The Sweet: Love Is Like Oxygen. This was released January, 1978. I know Theresa loved it. It also addresses Tyler and Bek’s point about prog rock and disco culture.
Twitter – @madnesspod
Patreon – https://www.patreon.com/MadnessPod
Notes from the podcast
Prologue: On October 29, 1999 Monique Gaudreau, a 45-year-old nurse at a hospital in the Laurentians was found dead at her home in Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, Quebec (North of Montreal) . Gaudreau was found in the bedroom. She had been beaten, sexually assaulted, and stabbed 55 times. This is the story of William Patrick Fyfe.
Music: The Poppy Family: Evil Grows
Some intro on Fyfe: William Fyfe , known as the Killer Handyman, Born in late February 1955. One of Canada’s most prolific serial killers. why it’s important to talk about him
So let’s get into how Fyfe was caught. To answer that we first turn to the case of Anna Yarnold, a 59-year-old woman who was found dead on October 15, 1999 in Senneville, Quebec (west of Montreal… 1,500 people?). Lived in isolated home on water front. In analyzing the crime scene police note that the assailant approached the house in a vehicle at night. Yarnold’s dog was locked in a room with her handbag, wallet. The body found outside in the garden. Face down in flower bed. There was bruising on the neck and face, and she was beaten with a flower pot. She was initially attacked in the bathroom. She ran outside. Where she was choked beaten and bashed in the head with a flower pot. The assailant took credit cards. Police initially suspect her husband, Robert Yarnold because the scene seemed too violent for a mere robbery. crime of passion. There were no forensics / hard to get forensics on an outside murder. (Paul Cherry interviewed, he reported that it probably wasn’t a robbery)
Police know began to question if this was in some way connected to an incident that happened earlier in the Summer in the West Island of Montreal. In July, 1999 a woman named Janet Kuckinsky was attacked and murdered on a Bicycle path in the West Island.
At this point police also go back to the case of Monique Gaudreau, a 45-year-old victim from Saint Agathe who was beaten, sexually assaulted and stabbed 55 times. However, as with Yarnold police have very little forensics. In fact, not even a robbery, nothing taken. Outside they find a footprint (blood of Mrs. Gaudreau). They also find blood droplets belonging to a male individual. Different causes of death (knife / smashed with pot), therefore different killers? Forensic biologist Josenthe Prevot: “It’s difficult to approach violence, to be in there him. To be in the victim’s environment where they live their everyday lives”
On November 19th, 1999, a 55-year old accountant goes missing in Laval, Quebec. When police go to check her apartment they find four Montreal Gazette’s stacked outside her door. Teresa Shanahan was found stabbed to death on November 23, 1999. She had been sexually assaulted, beaten and stabbed 32 times. The scene was similar to Gaudreau, except there were items missing, jewelry and credit cards. Later there were ATM withdrawals the evening of the murder : $500 / $500. The assailant obtained her PIN number. At about this time the daughter of Anna Yarnold noticed withdrawals from her account. Police obtained a grainy / blurry photo produced from ATM, man in kangaroo hoody with a bearded. As Yarnold’s husband was clean shaven this ruled him out.
From this police now piece together that the assailant is torturing victims to obtain PIN numbers. He’s using subterfuge to obtain entry / tradesman or handyman: no break-ins.
December 15, 1999: a man comes to door of home in Baie-d’Urfé, Quebec (west). Asks the woman who answers if she’d like any gardening done. He’s doing some work in the area, could he offer services. Woman talks to husband, and then declines the offer.
Across the street on that same day 50-year-old Mary Glenn, was beaten and stabbed to death. Glenn lived alone in a waterfront home. Same man approaches home. Following morning woman finds her in living room. Interior, beaten, stabbed and violated. Prevost returns. Clothed. Beaten with blunt object. No forced entry. Very violent, covering many rooms, hair ripped out, blood in multiple rooms. Finished in living room. Turned on back,” beaten to a pulp” Again, footprints in blood. Blood on hands, washes hands in kitchen sink. Goes to bedroom upstairs, shakes down victim’s purse. A forensics printer expert, Jean Paul Menier, finds a finger print. Loads into finger print bank. A match is made: The print is that of 44 year old William Fyfe.
So who is Fyfe? Born in Toronto, raised in Montreal. Attended Montreal High School, he was known for urinating on the school bus. His first adult run-in with the law was in 1975, when he was charged with theft over $200 in Montreal and sentenced to six months in jail. Since then a series of BandEs and thefts. He worked as handyman. He was married, separated with a child. Since then several rel/ships. He did home renovations. Last known address was in a town north of Montreal.
At this point the police have a puzzle: Do they go public and risk scaring him off into hiding, or do they act in the importance of the public interest? The police are given several hours to find him. Ex-girl friend tips that he may be staying at mother’s in Barrie Ontario. OPP Detective Jim Miller goes to mother’s old farm house. Car with QC plates registered to Fyfe. 24 hour surveillance. Determining if enough evidence to arrest. MUC come to Barrie, publish photo of Fyfe. Say he’s suspect, wanted for questioning. Story goes national. Leaves home, goes to Toronto, looks for newspapers, puts in orders for the Gazette. Dec 21st, 1999. Goes to church, drops three pairs of running shoes. Drove away. Spots on shoes that appear to be blood. Police finally close in on Fyfe at the Husky Truck Stop gas station in Barrie on December 22, 1999, he’s placed under arrest for Mary Elizabeth Glenn. “why don’t you shoot me now?”
Corporal Andrew Bouchard, Montreal police : on the investigation. Bouchard head of Montreal’s major crimes division. Interrogation: “arrogant. Cold like a fish”. First night, they don’t get very far. The secure his cigarette butts for DNA.
Hazel Scattolon, a 52-year-old woman who was stabbed to death and sexually assaulted in March 21, 1981. Scattalon’s son played hockey with Fyfe. Calls in in aftermath. Fyfe had painted in Hazel’s house. Mount Royal. At this point, where they thought they were investigating a series of murders from 1999, Fyfe has the potential of stretching back 18 years
Through it all Fyfe maintained his innocence, but there was simply too much evidence. There was blood on Fyfe’s shoes and clothing. In the case of Anna Yarnold police found traces of her blood on Fyfe’s clothing. The prints from the Monique Gaudreau crime scene tied to shoes recovered at the church in Ontario. Teresa Shanahan’s stolen ring later turned up as one of Fyfe’s possessions. And finally of course the finger print recovered at the Mary Glenn site turned out to be Fyfe’s.
On Sept 21, 2001 Fyfe is sentenced to life in prison wit out parole for 25 years. He denied involvement in the Janet Kuckinsky case.
During these affairs Fyfe hinted at other cases. After his conviction he confessed to 4 more:
And police also later learn that Fyfe was responsible for a string of violent rapes in the 1980s in downtown Montreal / “The Plumber” rapes.
(series of violent rapes in the 1980s / Plumber Rapes)
So putting the timeline together, Fyfe’s activity crosses two decades 1979 – 1999.
Police begin to ponder the the gaps in time. And why the slowing of violence? Why did he calm down. Police said Fyfe was always willing to describe the crimes in vivid detail, but he remained silent as to motive. “What hit you to cause you to kill again? Why did you stab her so many times” / “that’s for me to know”, Fyfe replied.
In 2000 a task force was formed and Investigation units from Montreal, Laval, SQ went back and check files on 85 cold cases dating back to 1981.
During the 1980s Fyfe lived in St. Laurent (borders Cartierville) , LaSalle, Lachine and Verdun (south of Pointe Saint Charles) during the 1980s and in the Laurentian town of Saint-Jerome in 1993 (north).
He still remains a suspect in at least 5 unsolved murders:
Looking at our own cases, could Fyfe be a suspect? No: wrong timeline (too young), different modus operandi:
Note the above two because please only delve back as far as 1979, so we presume they know he was in prison?
Was Fyfe operating with a different M.O .at an earlier age, then switched at some point to something less risky? (Outdoors to indoors. Younger to older victims)
Fyfe will be elegible for parole September, 2026. He will be 69 to 70 years of age.
Out music: Terry Jacks / Seasons in the Sun
Today we have an interview with Canadian criminologist Michael Arntfield, author of the book Murder City, The Untold Story of Canada’s Serial Killer Capital, 1959-1984:
Arntfield was a police officer and detective in London, Ontario from 1999 to 2014 when he left policing to accept a customized academic appointment at University of Western Ontario where he teaches what he calls “literary criminology” in a combined English literature, professional writing, and crime studies program.
The best-selling and controversial Murder City for which Arntfield is arguably best known, advances a hypothesis, often employing an epistolary format through the use of a now deceased detective Dennis Alsop’s original diary notes, that over a specific interval in the 1960s and 1970s, the city of London, Ontario spawned or otherwise housed more serial killers per capita than any city in Canada, and possibly beyond.
The Wire: Burrell assembles a “task force”. Pryzbylewski has a “light trigger pull”:
It was the 80s, Mike was 9. This is Nash The Slash:
Classic G.I. Joe PSA: