TALL TALES FROM DEEP RIVER
Only in Canada could a guy make a jailbreak in a canoe.
CASE UPDATECold Case Red Saturday, October 25, 2003
After maintaining for over two decades that there was insufficient evidence to justify re-ng the case, in November of 2002 my brother and I were invited to the Sûreté du Québec’s headquarters in Montreal where detectives announced their decision to launch a full investigation into the death of our sister, Theresa Allore.
At that meeting, we were finally given access to the entire contents of our sister’s police file. Investigators with the Sûreté du Québec finally admitted that they believed the investigative work conducted by myself and the reporter, Patricia Pearson to have been accurate: Theresa had been sexually assaulted and murdered, the assailant was possibly responsible for a series of cluster-murders in the Eastern Townships region in the late 1970s.
Since November of 2002, the Sûreté du Québec has been pursuing their investigation. There are currently four investigators assigned on a part-time basis to the case. The investigators continue to focus their efforts on one of the suspects originally brought to their attention by myself and Patricia Pearson.
John Allore, Chapel Hill, N.C.
I would like to thank the following people for helping me in my quest to find out the truth about the death of my sister:
James Riordon at Amigo 3 Interactive for donating this webspace
Patricia Pearson, for working so hard with me to research the circumstances surrounding my sister’s death, and for writing the subsequent article in The National Post that let others know Theresa’s story
The National Post for allowing me to reprint Ms. Pearson’s article
Thank you all, very much,
Nat’l Post Article
www.foilaw.netresources on freedom of information law
www.suretequebec.gouv.qc.caSurete du Quebec
www.ombuds.gouv.qc.caLe Protecteur du Citoyen / Quebec Ombudsman
www.juliebureau.comSite for Julie Bureau / missing since September 26, 2001
www.missingchildren.casite for missing children
www.metropol-detectives.comsite for Robert Beullac
http://www.radio-canada.ca/actualite/justice/Justice avec Simon Durivage
John AlloreGazetteNovember 22, 2002
On November 11th, a 14 year old girl went missing from Saint Hyacinthe. I learned about this from the Surete du Quebec’s website and immediately, a four alarm bell went off in my head. Has anyone started a search party? Should I contact the SQ? Why isn’t there a report in the papers? Is anyone doing anything about this? As it turns out, this girl has run away quite often in the past, and this time, perhaps she headed for Ontario with her 29 year old boyfriend. I turned off the alarm bell. I was wrong. This time.
You will understand my paranoia when you learn that my sister went missing over 24 years ago. Theresa disappeared like this girl from Saint Hyacinthe, and the authorities erroneously concluded that she was a run away. When her body was found, they wrongly assumed she had suffered a drug overdose, and a half-hearted investigation ensued. We were told someone would come forward. No one ever did. We were told to give it time. We gave it 23 years. I started my own investigation. The SQ said it was pointless. I discovered she had been murdered. The SQ said she was not. I uncovered two other murders. The SQ said they weren’t related. I asked for a reinvestigation. They looked at the evidence, they said there was no basis. I made some threats. They changed their minds. They said my sister had been murdered, there would be a reinvestigation.
In the midst of this, Champlain college conducted itself with equal shame. On September 11th when most of us were mourning, Champlain executives were conducted a 3 hour, closed door meeting with their press agent, and exercising damage control. Their ultimate response was to defer to the Police. If the case was re-d, they would cooperate. Note to Champlain: the case had been re-d, enjoy being investigated.
I welcome the SQ’s assistance, but I can hardly feel grateful. There are no big favors being done for me here. Law enforcement is finally doing the work they should have done 24 years ago. Only, back then they had a chance at catching the murderer. Now justice is remote, at the end of a trail that’s gone cold.
It shouldn’t be like this for the families of crime victims. We shouldn’t have to wait decades, we shouldn’t have to lobby day in and day out, we shouldn’t have to take our tales to the press. We should be able to expect skillfull and committed crime investigations for the dollars we surrender to run the SQ. It should be a bottom-line part of the deal.
Last night I had a dream about my sister, or rather, when I woke up, I remembered the dream. In the dream my brother and I conjured her up to appear for us. We found her in a playground swinging on the swings. She was just as we had left her, and we were as we were now, in our late 30s and 40s, but strangely she was still 19, and still our big sister, so much wiser and smarter than us. She was as funny as I remember her, as full of life, completely captivating, yet selfless. We talked a long time about nothing. What music we liked, what our families were doing, where we wished to travel in our later years. We did not talk about the why, or the what, or the who. How did you die? Do you know who killed you? Are you pleased with what I’m doing to solve it now? She seemed to know that these things were important to me, but she also knew that it wasn’t important. Gently, she managed to steer the conversation away from all that. She controlled the situation, but in the most charming way. She was the quality person I have always loved.
My sister was a quality person. Louise Camirand, Manon Dube, Julie Boisvenu, Julie Surprenant, Julie Bureau were all quality persons.
A quality person deserves a quality investigation. People’s lives are worth saving and their deaths are worth vindicating. If we ask nothing of our institutions, then it’s like saying we expect nothing from ourselves. It does not take “knowing” these people to get involved. You know them. They are of your communities. They are you. And they are lost.
Patricia PearsonNational PostThursday, November 14, 2002
Last week, provincial justice ministers conferred in Calgary about setting up a national sex-offender registry.
Good. The proposed Registration of Sex Offenders Information Act would go some way to protecting our citizenry by making the movement of convicted sex offenders transparent.
No rapist could slip out of jail after serving his paltry sentence and then disappear into the crowd, lurking there until he felt another predatory urge. The police would know where he lived, and would be notified if he moved, or changed his name.
Yet, the effectiveness of such an Act would be based entirely on the ability to enforce it, and that, in turn, would be based on a difficult blend of competence, resources and a willingness to take sex assault seriously.
Policing the pedophiles, but not the men who prey upon adult women — including the prostitutes who disappeared for years from Vancouver’s East Side before Robert Pickton was charged with murdering 15 of them — would fall way short of understanding how violent and traumatic this crime is.
Only a fraction of rapists are actually caught and convicted, which also undermines the ideals of a registry.
This past year has been eye-ng for me in terms of how brutally common sexual assault is in Canada, and how ineptly and sometimes indifferently it is handled.
Investigating the unsolved sex murder of a friend’s sister, which became a three-part series in this paper called “Who Killed Theresa?” was an object lesson in the manifold obstacles to developing a meaningful registry.
While the justice ministers were jawing over this issue in Calgary, John Allore was presenting some of our findings in his sister Theresa’s murder case to two investigators at the Sûreté du Québec. The SQ had previously reacted to the National Post series by agreeing to review the files of Ms. Allore and two other murdered females in the Eastern Townships: Manon Dubé and Louise Camirand, whose deaths — we had argued — were connected.
But then the SQ announced that our evidence was not “new,” and that they would do no further investigation. John Allore was obliged to file complaints with every level of bureaucracy he could think of in Quebec, as well as enlisting the assistance of two private investigators and of provincial Liberal leader Jean Charest.
I began interviewing women who had been stalked or assaulted in the area at the same time that the three victims died, and collaborated with a superb journalist for Radio-Canada, so that we could present the case on TV to the French-speaking citizenry on his show Justice.
At this point, the SQ phoned John Allore for the very first time, and agreed to meet with him and to solve these crimes. With the resources available to the SQ, there is finally light at the end of the tunnel with viable suspects emerging from the shadows.
What proved to be critical in our quest, however, were the 13 women who overcame their sense of privacy and provided us with accounts of assault that matched either our suspect or the very small geographic area in which Dubé, Camirand and Allore were killed. We were even able to procure a licence plate number, which the SQ is now tracing.
Only one of these 13 cases ever resulted in a conviction. In the other 12, the victims had been threatened into silence by their assailants, or kept quiet because they had escaped before harm came to them. Several did go to the police, only to have their allegations looked into lamely and then shelved.
All were aware that if they did procure a conviction, the sentence would be negligible and the assailant could seek revenge. (The one man who was convicted got out in under two years, and killed a waitress.) For years, some of these women have felt bitter regret that they could not prevent their attackers from striking again. Anxiety that the lack of resolution in their cases might have led to the deaths of Louise Camirand, Theresa Allore and Manon Dubé inspired them to contact us. At least, that was one source of inspiration. The second was that they felt confident that John Allore, unlike the police, was trying to do something serious.
Canadian women should not have to feel this way. A sex-offender registry can only “register” as many offenders as the police are willing to catch, in effective collaboration with their victims.
I am very heartened to hear from sources that the Sûreté du Québec held a meeting last week to discuss ways to be more sensitive to the public. This is, I think, John Allore’s most triumphant accomplishment on behalf of his sister Theresa. Consciousness-raising within law enforcement will surely play as crucial a part in protecting us from sex crimes as a computer data base sitting on desks.
Justice avec Simon DurivageRadio-Canada5 Octobre, 2002
Un citoyen mène sa propre enquête
En 1979, Theresa Allore est retrouvée morte près de Sherbrooke. À l’époque, la police avait conclu que cette étudiante de 19 ans avait succombé à une overdose de drogues. Insatisfait des résultats de l’enquête, son frère John décide de réouvrir le dossier 23 ans plus tard. Selon lui, sa súur a plutÙt été victime d’un tueur en série. Un reportage de Jacques Taschereau.
Theresa Allore était une jeune femme sans histoire. De bons résultats scolaires, un petit copain, des amies… Elle a été aperçue vivante pour la dernière fois le 3 novembre 1978 à King’s Hall, la résidence étudiante du Collège Champlain, à Lennoxville, où elle poursuivait ses études.
Cinq mois plus tard, son cadavre est retrouvé en bordure d’une route de campagne, à moins d’un kilomètre de là. Son visage fait face au sol et son corps est vêtu seulement de sous-vêtements. Il est dans un état de décomposition avancé. Une autopsie est pratiquée. Le rapport toxicologique est négatif. Le coroner conclut à une «mort violente de nature indéterminée».
Les policiers informent alors la famille de Theresa Allore que leur fille est probablement morte d’une overdose de drogues. Ils évoquent même ses tendances lesbiennes. Leur hypothèse est que la jeune femme a succombé à une overdose de drogues à la résidence étudiante et que son corps a été transporté jusqu’à la route de campagne par des étudiants paniqués à l’idée d’avoir à affronter cette réalité.
Une hypothèse différente
Son frère John, qui vit aux États-Unis, n’a jamais réellement cru à cette hypothèse. Au printemps 2002, il demande à la S¾reté du Québec de réouvrir l’enquête mais on refuse de donner suite à sa requête. John Allore décide alors de faire appel à une amie, journaliste du National Post qui est spécialisée dans les enquêtes criminelles. Depuis, ils essaient de retracer le fil des événements qui ont mené à la mort de Theresa Allore.
En effectuant ses recherches, John Allore découvre que deux autres femmes sont mortes à la même époque dans des circonstances similaires. Louise Camirand, 20 ans, est morte par strangulation après avoir été violée dans la région d’Austin, en mars 1977. Manon Dubé, 10 ans, est retrouvée sans vie dans le ruisseau qui se jette dans le lac Massawipi, dans la région de King’s Croft, en mars 1978. Ainsi, trois jeunes femmes sont retrouvées mortes dans la même région en l’espace de 20 mois.
Mais ce n’est pas tout. John Allore découvre qu’il y aurait pu y avoir une quatrième victime. Un mois avant la disparition de Theresa, une jeune femme de 18 ans qui rentrait chez-elle à pied se fait couper la route par une voiture, entre Compton et Sherbrooke. Un homme en descend et marche vers elle. La femme sent le danger et s’enfuit en courant. Le hasard veut que des agents de la SQ passent à ce moment par là. Ils aperçoivent la voiture, interceptent l’homme en question puis le relâchent.
Le lendemain, la jeune femme porte plainte auprès de la police. Les agents réalisent alors que l’homme qu’il avait rel‚ché la veille avait déjà été accusé d’agression sexuelle dans l’Ouest canadien. Aucune suite n’est donnée à ce dossier. Les policiers n’ont jamais fait le lien entre tous ces événements. Mais pour Kim Rossmo, un profileur renommé de Washington, l’explication la plus plausible est celle d’un meurtrier en série.
Letter from former Champlain teacher Michael BenazonThursday, September 19, 2002
The news that the Sûreté de Québec has decided not to re the investigation into the tragic death of Theresa Allore will disappoint the many Canadians who have been following this case, and it will alarm hundreds of Townships residents who were hoping for some resolution to this sorry affair. Are we to be given no official explanation? Are we to understand that the investigation stands where it did 23 years ago with the absurd hypothesis that on the night of Nov. 3, 1978 Ms Allore overdosed on drugs and died, and that her friends and classmates instead of calling for an ambulance or for the police, stripped off her outer clothing, transported her body to a small creek about two kilometres away, and then several months later tossed her wallet into a farmer’s field thirteen kilometres to the north? Given the failure of the police to come up with some substantiating evidence, this dubious story will only serve to nourish suspicions that the provincial police are shielding their colleagues at the local level who mishandled this case, and others, 23 years ago.
It is not that Townships residents are looking for scapegoats. They are worried that the same person who killed Theresa Allore also killed Manon Dubé in January of the same year, and Louise Camirand on March 19, 1977, and that the same person made an aborted attack on yet another young woman on Oct. 3, 1978 on Chemin MacDonald, all in the same area between Sherbrooke and Compton. The murderer is, as far as we know, still at large. If the provincial police are convinced that there is no link between these assaults and the recent deaths of two women, again in the Sherbrooke area, they should give their reasons in an official report at a public press conference where their findings can be challenged by family members and other interested parties. If it turns out that the earlier investigations were mishandled by the local police, the public needs to be informed what measures have been taken to improve police efficiency and professional competence in the Sherbrooke region. Without these reassurances, young women will be afraid to go out alone at night, to walk to school, to hike, jog, cycle, or ski unless accompanied by others. An atmosphere of apprehension and fear is not conducive to leisure industries, tourism, and to the creation of proper study conditions on the various campuses in Sherbrooke and Lennoxville. And needless to say, people will lose their trust in the ability of local police forces to protect them.
The second issue has to do with the attitude of Champlain College. The present campus director has stated that the college fully co-operated with the police in the past and that “it intends to do so again when and if the investigation is red.” Although it devolves upon the provincial police to carry out the criminal investigation, the directors of Champlain College also have a responsibility to clarify their role in the aftermath of Ms Allore’s disappearance on the night of Nov. 3, 1978. Now that the police have decided not to rethe case, Champlain College would be well advised to hold an enquiry of its own and make its findings public. It is highly unlikely that the College could have prevented Ms Allore’s abduction, if that indeed was what happened. However, the College should explain to the public its role in three areas:
1. Why did the College decide to establish a residence in Compton? How many students were in residence there? How many staff members were placed in charge, and what was their professional training? Was it wise to place such a large number of adolescents, many of whom had never lived away from home, in a residence located 15-20 kilometres from the main campus? How much money was allocated by the Ministry of Education for staffing the residence? Did the College fully use its allocation, or did College officials feel that the Ministry of Education was not providing enough money for staffing? If the latter, did they communicate their staffing concerns to the provincial government? What action did the College take to reports that underage drinking and consumption of illegal drugs were taking place at the Compton residence? Was the shuttle-bus service adequate? What response did the College make to complaints Touchstone, the student newspaper?
2. Why did it take so long for the College to discover that Ms Allore was missing? What measures are now in place to report if a student is missing from the residence? These questions, if fully and honestly answered, should reassure the public that the College now takes adequate measures to ensure the safety and welfare of its students in residence. 3. What, precisely, was the source of the apparently slanderous remarks made about Ms Allore following her disappearance?
These remarks, as reported by Ms Pearson in her series of three articles in the National Post, added grievous insult to the terrible injury inflicted on the Allore family. They also appear to have served as an excuse for the police and the College to dismiss the suggestion, apparently made by more than one person at the time, to undertake a comprehensive search of the fields between Compton and Lennoxville. While a search could not have saved Ms Allore, it could have provided immediate conclusive proof that a murder had taken place. Has the College apologized to the Allores for the inappropriate remarks made by a Champlain official to family members on the character of Theresa? An early and forthright report to the public will do much to refute most of the rumours floating around. It will also clear the Compton students of the time from the apparently slanderous charges that they were somehow implicated in Ms Allore’s disappearance.
Pearson National Post Thursday, September 19, 2002
Sometimes I wonder: am I in Canada, or one of Kafka’s dreamlike mazes? I watch events unfold with growing amazement. A young Canadian woman dies. The family wishes to know why, what happened, what fate befell their beloved child. The police decide that she died of a drug overdose. They provide no evidence. They refuse to share with the family the results of their investigation. The family must hire a private investigator. Building on the man’s work, they investigate with a journalist. Building on this publicity, they come to rely on the kindness of fellow citizens, who write to them with tips and information. The police do not receive this information with interest. They will not share with this family their reasons why not, nor investigate what information the family can scrounge up on its own. The family appeals to the bureaucrats who oversee the police. The bureaucrats respond that they have referred the matter to the police for review. The family appeals to the provincial coroner to start an inquiry. The coroner responds that the case must be closed before an inquiry begins. The police will not close the case. The family drifts round and round, round and round, in a baffling circle. “There isn’t enough new evidence to restart the investigation.”
So said Constable Jimmy Potvin of the Surete du Quebec’s Eastern Townships detachment on Tuesday, in response to a five-month investigation conducted by myself, and John Allore, into the supposed drug overdose death of his nineteen-year-old sister Theresa. Here is what evidence the Allore family were told about by the Surete du Quebec in 1979, when Theresa’s body was found face-down in a creek, clad in her bra and underwear, one kilometer from her student residence at Champlain Regional College: none. Here is the evidence that the Allores were provided to support a drug overdose theory: none. I phone Constable Potvin and ask him for the evidence of drug overdose. He says he’ll check. For one reason or another, he never quite manages to get back to me. I’ll let readers know what he says just as soon as I hear. Here is the evidence that John Allore and I uncovered in a few short months that has been deemed irrelevant: Theresa Allore’s toxicology report turned up no traces of drugs, legal or illicit. Her scarf was found near the body, torn in two. The initial coroner’s report described strangulation marks, observed on the body by Corporal Roch Goudreault of the S.Q. Two other young women were abducted and killed in the area in eighteen months. One, Louise Camirand, was found strangled within a stone’s throw of the siting of clothes that may have belonged to Theresa Allore. The other victim, Manon Dube, was found within a minute’s drive of Theresa Allore’s body, also face-down in a creek. Theresa Allore’s wallet was tossed alongside the property of a girl her age and appearance, who had been chased and almost-abducted exactly one month before Theresa disappeared. The woman described her assailant to us as noticeably short. The police at the time intercepted the man, ran a vehicle check, and determined that he had a prior sex offence conviction from out west. In 1980, a young woman of Theresa Allore’s age and appearance was stalked and then almost forced into a car by a very short man, at precisely the intersection where Manon Dube was abducted two years earlier. In 1981, a Sherbrooke woman was raped and strangled (but survived). Her attacker was a very short man who, like the assailant near where Theresa Allore’s wallet was found, was found to have lived out west. We have learned of two other women who were abducted but escaped the car and the attacker, both in the area, both in the late 1970s. We are trying to locate them in order to see if the description of the assailant matches. We should not be doing this, the police should be doing this. But they are not. According to Kim Rossmo, an internationally respected investigator at the Police Foundation in Washington, the geography of these attacks suggests a serial offender, not a series of coincidental sexual attacks and murders on the southern fringes of a small Canadian city. This is not the Red Light District of Amsterdam.
Rossmo suggested that the offender was living in south Sherbrooke. The man who raped and attempted to strangle the woman in 1981 lived in South Sherbrooke, along the route of all of the attacks. We brought him to the attention of the Surete du Quebec. As far as we know, this is part of the evidence that they did not consider to be evidence. “We don’t even know how you came up with this guy,” one SQ investigator told me, when I asked why they hadn’t checked him out. I’m sorry, I thought I’d explained.
Was any of our analysis followed up by the Surete?. As of last week, the victim on Macdonald Road had not been interviewed. Was the old police record on her assailant checked? The files of Louise Camirand and Manon Dube were not reviewed alongside Theresa Allore’s. The wallet and watch, which have remained in their evidence bags for twenty-three years and could now be combed over for droplets of blood or strands of hair belonging to an assailant and tested for DNA, have not been requested.
No one in the Surete du Quebec phoned the Allore family to announce the lack of new evidence. Instead, they placed an unsolicited call to the Sherbrooke Record. This is no way for the families of crime victims in Quebec to be treated. The secrecy is appalling. The accountability is awful. The Privacy Laws in place to protect that province’s citizens by restricting access to virtually all information in police investigations have the second, unintended effect of protecting the police.What the SQ has done, in effect, is to shut the Allore and Dube and Camirand families down once again. We don’t know their reasoning, because they won’t tell us, and the privacy laws enable them to stay mum. Thank god, there are other citizens in this nation who want to assist these victims. John Allore is immensely grateful to the women who have come forth with their own painful memories of stalking and assault, in the hope that their observations of the attacker can be of help to his sister’s case. He and I both are equally grateful to the people in the criminal justice community outside of the Surete who have volunteered information, done continuing research and offered analysis that might break the case. We are grateful to the journalists — to Jacques Taschereau of Radio Canada, whose investigation will be broadcast on September 28th on the show Justice, to Sharon McCully of the Sherbrooke Record and to Paul Cherry of the Montreal Gazette, to the free-lance journalists digging up their own clues who prefer to remain anonymous for the time being — to everyone who has taken our investigation seriously, and furthered it. Together we can hope to solve these crimes.