Category Archives: English

Crime & Culture in the City of Montreal – Interview with Kristian Gravenor – WKT #6

Here’s our interview with Kristian Gravenor, author of the soon to be released MONTREAL: 375 TALES.

 This is Episode 6 of the Who Killed Theresa? podcast:

Here are links to some things we discussed including Coolopolis, Montreal Biker Gangs (including legendary figure Michael French), the Reet Jurvetson case, Sharon Prior, Norma O’brien / Debbie Fisher and the Chateauguay Full Moon Killer murders, the Montreal tabloid Allo Police:

Here’s a link to Kristian’s blog, Coolopolis, and the Chateauguay Full Moon Killer case:

Here’s a link to Coolopolis’ reporting on the Charles Manson / Reet Jurvetson case:

Satan’s Choice biker Michael French and the connection to the Sharon Prior case (French is at the bottom on the left):

The history of Allo Police / Photo Police:

Link to National Film Board of Canada documentary, Station 10:

Maurice “The Rocket” Richard:

This happened:

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Sharron Prior, Debbie Fisher, Norma O’Brien and the “Chateauguay Full Moon Killer”

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I’m preparing some posts on Sharron Prior, Debbie Fisher, Norma O’Brien and the “Chateauguay Full Moon Killer”.

It’s proving more difficult than I initially thought. 

First, you have to go back and read everything. For those of you who missed it. I sit on a mountain of original caseload information. Everything from photos, to original news articles, to autopsy and police reports.

It was not my intent to hide this information. I came upon it about 2 1/2 years ago doing research in Quebec. I shared it with associates I trusted hoping they would spread the word. They never did. So now that I have some time I find myself going back and reviewing it. I want to put it out there. Let others see the information and put the pieces together.

It’s very exhausting. I read the Sharon Prior autopsy again this evening and it almost put me on my knees. 

But I’m finding things. 

Added to this is the fact that Prior and “Manique Pleine Lune” have been very adequately covered by the Prior family and my friend Kristian Gravenor over at Coolopolis. I don’t want to muddy waters by getting facts wrong, or by being plain redundant. It’s simply harder to write a piece where the facts are already well grounded. 

I’m no super sleuth. My oeuvre is a very narrow corridor between 1970 and 1980, with a concentration on 77-78. But when you disaggregate data to that degree maybe you can reveal / demonstrate something. I’m pretty good at spotting patterns, but someone else needs to come to conclusions on those patterns.

Anyway, I should have something up over the weekend. I’m sitting on some information about Prior / O’Brian / Fisher /Chateauguay that has never been disclosed before. No, it has nothing to do with who the Chateauguay Killer was, there’s a publication ban on that. And anyway, anyone with a search engine knows EXACTLY who he was….

So I’ll write something about what I know.   I think I can give it a unique spin. I’m also going to touch on the dangers of Confirmation Bias, something that is always lurking when dealing with human interpretation 

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Lison Blais = Louise Camirand, and the issue of false memory

So let’s talk about false memory.

Last year I was contacted by a woman who was convinced her brothers murdered my sister. Her evidence was this:

In late October, 1978, a week before Theresa disappeared, she said she witnessed her brothers and my sister talking together at Mount Orford, Quebec. The location itself was very compelling because Theresa had been in fact at Mount Orford the week before she died.

But when I questioned her further, the story began to crumble. My sister was hiking at Mount Orford. This woman’s account was more like a ski expedition. Everyone was skiing in the snow. Contact was made. They said, “Theresa, hello!”… She acknowledged the greeting.

Very compelling. There’s just one problem. There was no snow on Mount Orford in late October 1978. I cannot recall a year where there was ever snow on Mount Orford in late October, 1978.

I believe the woman believes she was telling her version of the truth. No question. This is a false memory, and it happens all the time.

A reporter asked me recently how often I get people claiming they know who killed Theresa. I think they were shocked when I said, about every two months for the past 13 years. And they all sincerely believe they have the piece that will solve the puzzle.

—————

I don’t post every lead I get on this site because I believe it fool-hardy to send everyone on a wild goose-chase. When I get a good lead, and post it, you can best believe it has been vetted, and I have confidence that it deserves to be shared with the public.

So publishing yesterday that there may be a possible connection between Louise Camirand and Lison Blais and a purse was not done haphazardly. This is something that needs to be considered in a measured fashion.

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So back to false memory. Last Saturday I took my youngest daughter to the high school dance. She was wearing a red and white striped strapless dress, tapered at the waist and cut at the knee, of that I am certain. I cannot be certain of the direction of the stripes. Maybe horizontal, maybe diagonal, but I think diagonal because that is a more attractive dress (but this is not based on my memory, this is based on an assumption).

So this was five days ago. And a fairly important event. I had taken all my other daughters to similar dances, this was the first time I took my youngest: I would expect to remember that.

Jump to the next day. Ask me what my daughters wore on that Sunday. I haven’t the slightest clue. It was a routine Sunday, I remember muted colours, maybe greys and blues, perhaps jeans?

It has always frustrated me the degree of uncertainty with my sister’s case. Was she seen on a staircase at the residence at Compton, or not? Did the hunters find blue corduroys (like the ones she was last seen wearing) or blue jeans?

King's Hall staircase

King’s Hall staircase

But think of it. You are asking people to recall an event that IN RETROSPECT is very significant, but at the time was very routine and mundane.

And this brings us to the purse. My daughters have all kinds of purses, I could not describe any of them. Is it important that the composite drawing does not exactly match the photo of the purse recovered from the Camirand site?

No.

Camirand purse

Camirand purse

The two purses has the same basic shape. They are both black. They have a similar strap. Does the recovered purse have vertical lines like the composite? No. Does it matter? No. Might we be looking at the back of the purse which has a different shape than the front, and which was never photographed in the recovered purse? Yes.

Composite purse / Blais

Composite purse / Blais

When is a purse not a purse?

When it is a composite. A drawing made by a police artist, derived from the memory of someone who remembered the purse.

Is this matter easily resolved? Yes. We know the Blais family, we will take the photo to them and ask them, “Is this Lison’s purse?”.  And they will answer, Yes, or No, or I Don’t Know, it’s been too long. And EVEN if they say NO, they might be wrong. It’s been close to 40 years = false memory.

Here’s what is certain. It is someone’s purse. And it is NOT Louise Camirand’s. The only thing missing from her belongings were her boots and underpants and “identification” (not a purse). Here’s another thing, it’s not Catherine Hawkes’ purse who was murdered under similar circumstances in Montreal at that time, and also had a purse go missing. Here is Catherine’s purse:

IMG_0166

This is a completely different purse. We would never confuse it with the Camirand and Blais purses.

And here is yet another thing. A lot of these cases had missing items from the crime scenes, but particularly wallets and purses. Here’s a run down:

Allore – 1978 – missing wallet

Bazinet – 1977 – missing wallet

Blais – 1978 – missing purse

Camirand – 1977 – missing identification

Hawkes – 1977 – missing purse

Is it unusual for wallets and purses to be missing? No. It is quite understandable to separate a crime scene from the means of discovery of the victim, such as identification. This tells us that the perpetrator does not want anyone to easily discover who they murdered.

But here’s what I do know. This very fact tells me that these cases and a case like the murder of Roxanne Luce are not connected. Why? Because Roxanne was found on her bed in her home. Everybody knew who the victims was, or had a pretty good idea from the moment of discovery. There was no attempt to hide who was murdered

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And still all of this misses the larger point. This should have been looked into decades ago by Quebec law enforcement. I am in no rush to get the purse back and process it. I am in no rush to talk to the Blais family. That point is long past. We are past the point of resolving these crimes. It’s not the perpetrators who are under investigation at this point, it is the police, and there absolutely lack of effort to solve these crimes.

Demand a public inquiry for Quebec Police to do their job.

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Evidence suggests connection between murders of Lison Blais and Louise Camirand

Following on my posts from last week, I’m now going to do what the Quebec police should have done for decades now. I’m going to demonstrate to you a very simple, and possible link between the murders of Lison Blais and Louise Camirand. The evidence was right there ready for the Surete du Quebec to discover, they simply never bothered to look at the information. 

I was really hoping not to have to do this. I was hoping the Surete du Quebec would make an honest effort to be accountable and transparent, but I have waited patiently for over 10 years. They have done nothing. So now I will – again – do it myself.

First some background on Lison Blais:

L BlaisBlais was found murdered the morning of June 4, 1978 a few feet from the entrance of her home where she lived with her parents at 4685 rue Christophe Colomb in Montreal. The previous evening she had been out with friends, first at a discotheque on Saint Denis, then later at the Philippe Disco Bar on Saint Laurent. She left the bar at about 3:25 am. 

Her body was found at 9:00 am that following morning. She had been struck on the head, and there were choke marks on her neck. She had been raped. The original investigators were Jean Legros and Claude Lecheppelle of Montreal’s municipal police force (MUC).

 

 

 

investigators were Jean Legros and Claude Lecheppelle of Montreal's municipal police force (MUC)

investigators Jean Legros and Claude Lecheppelle of Montreal’s municipal police force (MUC)

 

Police noted that some clothing was missing, including Lison’s black purse.

Writing in Allo Police on June 18, 1978 reporter Jacques Durand noted the similarity with other murders at that time including, Catherine Hawkes (missing purse), Louise Camirand (strangled, missing clothing), Jocelyne Houle, Johanne Dorion (Dorion and Houle were both nursing students), Helene Monast (strangled, missing items), and Lise Labadie (one of the “Plaines of Abraham” murders from 1976 in Quebec City).

(To see how all these cases interconnect, go here to the maps. When you do, you will notice that Blais lived blocks away from another possibly connected victim, Denise Bazinet)

Of particular note was Lison’s missing black purse, shown here:

purse drawing

This is a police composite. You see that the sketch is white to demonstrate some definition, but the article where the drawing was published clearly states that Lison’s missing purse was black:

Allo P 790618 pg 3 4 L Blais (3

And here is the statement released by police concerning the black purse:

L Blais Communiqué

Police went to some effort to find this purse, enlisting the public for help, but it was never located.

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Now I must ask to anyone who has been on this site for the last 10 years, does this purse look familiar to any of you?

It should.

It is strikingly similar to a purse that was recovered from a site that was searched in 2006, the very site where Louise Camirand’s body was discovered, March 25, 1977:

purse2

Further recall that the search in 2006 was lead by Quebec Secours, and assisted by victim survivors and volunteers. The Surete du Quebec refused to participate in the search on the grounds that it was too much work. The purse became a major focal point in a series of articles written by Allison Hanes – then of the National Post – back in July 2006 (you can read here).  

Here is another look at the purse where you can see the broken strap:

????????????????????????????????????

So maybe this is a case of, “So what? That was the style of purse all woman had in that era.”. Or maybe it is a case of, “That IS Lison Blais’ purse found at the site where Louise Camirand’s body was dumped”. The same site where hunters claimed to have found clothing matching the description of those worn by Theresa Allore the day she disappeared, November 3rd, 1978. Maybe this is a perpetrator who returns to crime scenes and dumps evidence there (recall that a garbage bag of clothing was found where Theresa Allore’s body was left, but not clothing that belonged to her).

The police have had 10 years to piece this together. They never did. How do I know? If someone was on the ball they would have contacted me the moment they connected the recovered purse to the Blais purse and asked me to send it to them for examination. No one ever did that. No doubt because of some cross jurisdiction turf-war between the Montreal police and the Quebec provincial police, the Surete du Quebec. No communication.  Whoever heard of a serial criminal respecting police boundaries? Police have squandered ten years.

So where is the black purse now? I don’t know. We sent it to a forensics lab in British Columbia because, again, the Surete du Quebec refused to process it. We had to go to a private lab, ACROSS THE COUNTRY WHO AGREED TO DO THE WORK FOR FREE, rather than go to the very agency responsible for processing evidence.

If we are extremely lucky, they may have kept it, but it has been 10 years.

Quebec Police: Please do your job.

 

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I’ve never seen law enforcement work so hard to NOT solve crimes

IMG_0940

So these are my reasons why I believe the Quebec police should be under investigation:

From the very beginning, Quebec police have taken the very passive approach of, “Let’s wait and see what happens”.  This was the approach in the very early stages of my sister’s disappearance.  The Surete du Quebec’s approach was very clearly expressed by lead investigator, Corporal Roch Gaudreault when he told my father that there was little they could do, and that Theresa’s body would probably turn up when the snow melted.

This philosophy continued 5 months later when the body was found. The Surete du Quebec tried to convince my father that Theresa’s death was a school campus matter. Something went wrong with recreational activities involving drugs, things got out of hand, mistakes were made by teenagers. Gaudreault’s words were (and I know this, because my father wrote them on a manilla envelop), “Wait. Someone will say something”.

But no one ever did.

Where have I heard this before? In fact it is the same approach of the Laval police in the 38-year-old cold case of Joanne Dorion. Here is Joanne’s sister, Lisa:

“(The Police) told us they wanted to investigate a young man who found the body of our sister because his brother had been in love with her. I found it funny, that he wanted to go this approach. I have not heard from the investigator since. He said he wanted to talk to me before he speaks to the media following the publication of the article. “

After 38 years they now want to investigate this young man?

And this:

“When we talk in the media, we are told all the time by the police that this will harm the investigation. After 38 years, I think it’s time to shake things up…”

Well this sounds very familiar. It is not uncommon. I have heard this from dozens of Quebec unsolved victims: A deliberate attempt by police to hide, confuse, obfuscate the truth.

I certainly understand the need for law enforcement to keep information highly confidential and secure. By sharing too much information they could potentially jeopardize the resolution of a case in a court of law. But too much control? These are the lessons of Chicago and Ferguson, you risk losing public trust.

IMG_0423

And here to my point. Look at the photo at the top of this post. It is pretty clear that the media (and by extension, the police, who in that era controlled the exploitation media) where drawing lines between cases in 1977 – 78. Connect the dots: Camirand to Houle to Dorion to Monast to Katherine Hawkes. Did the police EVER do anything to assuage public fear? Did police ever say, “yes, we’ve looked into this, there is no connection”. I have searched public record thoroughly from 1975 – 1981: I can find no evidence that the police ever did such a thing.

So were they careless in not informing the public, or were they hiding something?  I don’t know.

Flash forward to 2013. I posted on this site, Quebec 1977: Who was The Bootlace Killer?  A very deliberate attempt on my part to brand a series of approximately 20 to 30 unsolved murders of young women from this era. And let me point out that my “theory” is nothing new, it is simply a revisit of what Allo Police / Photo Police was publishing 30-plus years ago. What I expected from Quebec police was some kind of response:

“a. We have looked into these murders, numbers 13, 16, and 23 were solved decades ago.

b. We have looked into these murders, there is no connection to any of them.”

What did the public get from Quebec police? Nothing. Stone silence. You cannot help but feel that if Quebec police are not addressing the problem, then Quebec police are trying to avoid the problem.

There are other factors that support my belief that Quebec police intentionally do not want to revisit these cold cases from the late 1970s. I will list them:

  1. To this day, Quebec police refuse to look at the cases of Manon Dube, Theresa Allore, and Louise Camirand as a grouping, as a possible cluster of victims murdered by one individual. The cases are separated, they are assigned to different investigators.
  2. Destruction of Evidence: It is has been documented that physical evidence was systemically destroyed by police in the unsolved murders of Theresa Allore, Sharon Prior, Manon Dube, and Roxanne Luce… and we suspect many others. These cases cross jurisdictions, some are SQ, some are Longueuil, etc…  The point being, THIS CANNOT BE SOME SIMPLE BLUNDER. If it is, it is a catastrophic fuck-up. No police agency IN THE WORLD destroys physical evidence in unsolved murders. This can only be a calculated decision by someone at the very top of either public safety or the Quebec government.
  3. The Reward: I have a standing offer from a private citizen to offer a reward of $10,000 for information leading to the arrest of the person who murdered my sister, Theresa Allore. The agency in Quebec that administers such deals is Sun Life. The catch is Sun Life will only enter into the agreement if a Quebec police force agrees to be the entity who will receive the information / tips from the public.  The Surete du Quebec refuses this offer on the grounds that it will create too much work for them: following up on calls,  chasing down false leads, etc…
  4. The Surete du Quebec’s Cold Case Website: The site has been operating for about three years I believe. Of the 20 to 30 cases from 1975 – 1981 only one is posted on this site: Helene Monast. In the beginning this was understandable, it was explained to me that they wanted to get their footing. BUT IT’S BEEN THREE YEARS. Why not have ALL the cases? Do you want to solve crimes or don’t you? What is the harm in having a true representation of the unsolved murders in Quebec? For that matter, what determines whether a case can be posted on their site?

These questions must be answered if we are ever to rebuild trust in the Quebec police’s investigative capabilities.

Quebec Police: I’ve never seen law enforcement work so hard to NOT solve crimes.

 

 

 

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Quebec 1977: Keep The Focus Tight

Assemblée nationale du Québec

Assemblée nationale du Québec

Frequently I get asked the following:

“Why don’t you blog more? You appear to be sitting on a lot more information than you’re choosing to write about.”

There are a variety of reasons why I don’t blog as much as I used to. The easiest explanation is that I try now to keep a life balance with this obsession; I have a family, and my children require a lot of attention. I need to step away from this site frequently, and for extended periods. That’s just healthy.

Second reason. This site has been up for about 12 years. In the early days I blogged about everything; pop culture, criminal justice, trauma, and all manner of crimes. Part of this was, of course, to attracted attention; the more you write, the more hits you get. But I became concerned about the quality of hits. For instance, it was interesting and absorbing to be writing about, and communicating with people about some cold-case in California; but that dialogue diluted the focus of this blog, the mission of which is, Who Killed Theresa?  So I gradually tightened the vision to Canada, and then Quebec, with a particular emphasis on French Quebec. Occasionally I will veer off on a topic that interests me like the Rocky Mount Serial Murders or Hannah Graham.  This tightening of focus certainly means that I get fewer visitors to this site, but the quality of visitors are the ones I want. Google the words “Quebec”, “serial Killer”, “murder” and this site will be at the top of the list.

I also don’t get a lot of comments. That’s okay too. I really don’t need to be writing something only to receive 56 trolling messages from people with nothing better to do with their time than act-out on social media (I also control what comments get posted; I filter it). But the people I want to be reading are reading and participating; Canadian and Quebec politicians, law enforcement, victim NGOs, and, of course, some websleuthers.  They generally choose to email me directly.

What I now choose to write about (and what I consciously DO NOT write about) comes out after a long and deliberate decision making process. In the last two years, I have clearly wanted to keep the focus very tight around Quebec culture in the late 1970s, and specifically a series of murders that occurred during that time. I find anything else is simply a distraction to the goal; Who Killed Theresa?  And sometimes when I write, I am saying things in a kind of code to get a message out to a specific audience.  I am saying things in an indirect fashion, and communicating with people who I cannot directly communicate with (for instance, certain members of Quebec law enforcement who cannot be contacted directly, because it would be too dangerous). So you can read into my recent posts on Quebec Bikers what you will; but I wasn’t writing about that because I suddenly became interested in Quebec Biker culture in the 1970s.

A little bit scary and paranoid? Sure. There are all kinds of things that I know that would scare you, but I can’t write about them, in part because it could compromise an investigation. 

I am the only private entity (citizen or corporation) who has ever been granted free access to the crime archives of Section Rouge Media, the organization that warehouses all the Allo Police and Photo Police newspapers. This information is generally reserved for Quebec criminal justice agencies, or to investigative journalists who pay a fee for access. It’s not like a FOIA request. SRM is a private corporation in the business of making money. Their files are not public property. Witness the fallout when a sleuthing colleague attempted to gain access, then threatened SRM with a law suit: they were shut out completely. Section Rouge Media allows me to access their records because they know I have learned to be discrete. I have posted about 1/100th of what they provided to me. What I have posted I have done with their permission which they have granted because they know I am sharply focused on my writing, and I have no intention of embarrassing anyone. The other 99% that I am sitting on? I will simply say I have a pretty comprehensive understanding of crime on Quebec in the 1970s. I know all the police investigators, their names and photos, the people who did the autopsies, the lawyers, the judges, the crime scene examiners, etc… everything.  

Here’s an example –  in general terms – of something I have learned about law enforcement in Quebec that is disturbing. I have learned this from a variety of disparate sources. Occasionally in Quebec someone who is “connected” will commit a crime in Quebec and get caught. When law enforcement realizes that this person cannot be processed through the criminal justice system because they possess too much power and influence, the police will do the following in some instances. They will arrest someone else with a similar criminal background and charge them with the crime. The “connected” person walks away, and the criminal justice system processes the substitute criminal. It’s all very efficient, and Quebec Public Protection gets to say, “We got our man.”

That is not paranoid, that is a simple fact of living in the province of Quebec. It was a process undertaken in the “wild west” of the 1970s, and it is a process that continues to this day. You don’t have to look too far to connect the dots. The Matticks affair / Poitras bore this out 20 years ago, and Charbonneau is yielding a similar result today:

1. There is evidence of corruption.

2. The public demands an inquiry,

3. Millions of tax dollars are spent on a process.

4. The commission makes recommendations.

5. The government claims it does not have the resources to implement the recommendations.

The reality is they lack the moral fortitude. 

Theresa Allore Investigation

T-051A follower has brought forward some questions I feel would be beneficial to share with everyone:

Q1: Do you have the feeling that the Quebec police or other police have lied to you ? Or
do you believe that police have always said the truth about that matter?

A1:  I have the feeling that the Quebec Police have their reasons for keeping the truth from me, and their reasons can be separated into three categories:

1. In the most positive sense, they have an interest in solving the case; and sharing too much information with me could potentially damage any ability to solve it.

2. In a negative sense, they may have reasons  for withholding information that could potentially embarrass them.

3. In the EXTREME NEGATIVE sense,  the police may be withholding information that could potentially compromise them, or even implicate them in the case: It has long been suggested that possibly the police were involved in Theresa’s death; either through their association with criminals, or perhaps because some of them were criminals themselves. The evidence here is anecdotal (hearsay), there is no documented evidence of this.

Q2: Is it true that someone has suggested to exhume her body….and why?

A2: The idea of exhuming my sister’s body has been suggested on several occasions. The reasons are to examine whether there might  still be trace DNA evidence that can only be examined by today’s standards. My family is ok with it, we have given our approval anytime any agency should wish to conduct it. One SQ officer wanted to do the exhumation examination, but he couldn’t get the SQ to pay for it. Alternatively we tried to raise money for a private laboratory to do an examination of the remains, but we could never get enough money together to do it, and no one would do it for free.

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Myths Of The Criminal Justice System

Excerpt from Radley Balko’s excellent series on criminal justice myths. This one hits home. So who precisely does watch the watchmen?  Don’t look to law enforcement for ethical guideance:

Myth 5: Due to their position, law enforcement officials are held to a higher standard of conduct than regular citizens.

A strong argument can be made that they’re actually held to a lower standard. Unlike any other profession in America, prosecutors and judges are protected by the doctrine of absolute immunity, which completely shields them from civil liability for the decisions they make in the course of their jobs. The courts have ruled that prosecutors can’t be sued even if they intentionally manipulate or manufacture evidence that results in the conviction of an innocent person.

Police officers and most other government officials are protected by qualified immunity, which holds that even if they violate a citizen’s rights, they can only be held liable if a reasonable person would have known their actions were illegal. And unlike private sector workers, most government employees — including police officers — are not expected to have specialized knowledge of the laws governing their professions.

Many states have also passed a “police officer’s bill of rights,” a special set of protections for officers accused of serious misconduct, including acts that could result in criminal charges. In many jurisdictions, police officers get a “cooling off period” after a shooting or allegation of excessive force. During this period, which can range from 48 hours to 10 days, the officers under investigation cannot be asked any questions about the incident. In most states, police officers also can’t be questioned about misconduct without a union representative or attorney present. If any part of the police bill of rights protocol isn’t followed, even officers who commit egregious misconduct can find themselves back on the force, often with back pay.

In most places these extra rights only pertain to internal, administrative investigations, not criminal investigations — but the internal investigations usually take place first. That means bad cops can use those protections to gain advantages not afforded to those who don’t happen to work in law enforcement.

Unlike other professions, police officers and other public officials also can’t be fired from their jobs or disciplined for invoking their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

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Pickton inquiry hears from serial killer profiler

Kim Rossmo was one of the first officers to warn that a serial killer could be responsible for the disappearance of women in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

Kim Rossmo was one of the first officers to warn that a serial killer could be responsible for the disappearance of women in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. (The Magazine of Simon Fraser University)

A renowned criminologist who warned the Vancouver Police Department that a serial killer might be at work while women went missing in the Downtown Eastside is scheduled to testify Tuesday at the missing women inquiry.

Kim Rossmo, a geographic profiler who was on the force at the time, was part of a working group formed as public pressure mounted for police to solve cases of missing sex workers.

Rossmo is credited as being among the first officers to warn about the possibility of a serial killer.

In 1998, he and another officer were preparing to issue a news release that said, in part: “The objective of this group is to determine if a serial murderer is preying upon people in the Downtown Eastside and, if so, what murders and disappearances are linked together.”

It would have marked the first time Vancouver police had publicly acknowledged the possibility of a serial killer, but just two weeks before the news release was scheduled to be issued, it was scrapped by the head of the force’s major crimes section and the working group was disbanded.

Systemic failures

In a brief address prior to the opening of the inquiry Tuesday, commissioner Wally Oppal compared the Pickton investigation to other serial killer cases including Clifford Olson, Ted Bundy and Gary Ridgway, known as Green River Killer.

Even though the cases spawned their own investigations and inquiries, Oppal said the same problems keep cropping up — issues of leadership, morale and resources within the policing community.

Oppal said he has to ask himself what he can do differently if previous reports failed to affect change.

Oppal said his final report will examine the systemic failures in the policing environment, including the relationship between police and the victims, and the failures in the organization itself.

Report due in June

Pickton wasn’t arrested until February 2002, five years after his name first surfaced as a suspect in the disappearance of sex workers in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, when officers showed up at his Port Coquitlam farm with a search warrant related to illegal firearms and stumbled upon the belongings and remains of missing women.

Pickton was convicted in 2007 of six counts of second-degree murder, but the remains or DNA of 33 women were found on his farm. He claimed to have killed a total of 49 women. He is currently serving a life sentence.

Rossmo, now a professor at Texas State University, invented a technique of tracking crimes that is used around the world. He was the first Canadian police officer to get a PhD in criminology.

The missing women inquiry, headed by Oppal, is examining why Vancouver police and the RCMP failed to catch Pickton in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and why prosecutors declined to pursue an attempted murder charge against him after an attack on a sex worker in 1997.

A final report is due by June 30, 2012.

Theresa Allore Scholarship to be awarded June 10th, 2011

Yes, I guess this is cause for celebration. I find the whole thing bitter-sweet. So we are awarding a scholarship on June 10th to a deserving student in the amount of $200 (hey, it’ll pay for some books!). It will be awarded at their graduating awards ceremony. I have been invited to attend (to have a seat at the “head- table”)… I am debating attendance.

On the one hand, I feel it is a landmark and I should be there; on the other, this maybe should be treated as no-big-deal… I’m a little tired of turning these affairs into press events that call attention to the case, that invite further intrusion into my life, that ultimately traumatize me to a point I am now long past.

And the third hand… Pierre Boisvenu has stated he will be there to support the whole affair: that is an honor I don’t quickly turn down. Pierre is one of my closest soul-mates… any opportunity to reconnect with him is time well spent.

So I sit and consider.

And a forth hand… here’s what’s also in the balance. I had a wonderful day with my daughters. We walked the dog (twice), discovered a box turtle. Swung on the rope over the creek, trampolined, and are set for grilling burgers and dogs for dinner. I have three lovely daughters, I don’t want to upset the wonder of our relationship.

Thus is my dilemma. (btw: happy mother’s day to all)