The Murder of Sharron Prior / Route 112 – WKT #10

The 1975 murder of Sharron Prior is discussed, and the significance of Highway 112 which is the route between Sherbrooke and Montreal:

Route 112 from Pointe-Saint-Charles to Chambly:

 

Here is a link to Sharron Prior’s website:

 

Sharron Prior

 

Sharron Prior crime scene:

Prior crime scene

 

This is a link to the National Film Board of Canada documentary, The Point:

 

Where Sharron Prior Lived

 

The site of Chez Marius Pizzeria

 

Rue Sebastopol

 

Where Sebastopol converges with Congregation

 

Sebastopol and Congregation converging with Wellington (note street signs). To the North is Route 112

Tags:

An inquiry about Melanie Cabay

imgres-1
Dear Sir:
Thank you for contacting me regarding the unsolved murder of Melanie Cabay.
First, I am aware of all those cases you speak of, and I believe Poirier Enquette is doing stories on both Cabay and  Marie-Ève Larivière. I am happy to help you with anything. I have been asked before to take my research into the 80s and 90s: I haven’t done that because I find the work exhausting / disturbing: I can’t do everything. But I am happy to assist anyone with my ideas.
I will offer a few things:
On the one hand, there are similarities with the cases I researched and the cases you bring up from the 1990s: abductions in cities, with bodies being disposed of on the frontier of cities. Clothing scattered. These may be patterns of a single offender. On the other hand they may also be patterns of simply what offenders do: You don’t “shit where you eat” as they say in english. So you don’t want a body around where you live and play (in this case “play” = stalking and killing women).  The clothing scattered: this may be what all offenders do in a panic: they dump the body: they don’t want anything associated with the body near them, in their car, etc… so they get rid of it quickly: I don’t think in any of these cases we are talking about the rape and murder occurring at the site where they were found: the rape and murder (in the cases where this happened) occurred somewhere else, THEN they dumped the bodies.
So again, could this be the work of one person? Possibly. I am more inclined to think it is maybe 4 or 5 similar offenders, who repeated several crimes, and who copycatted each other (if you observe that a woman in the early seventies gets raped and murdered and the police do nothing about it? maybe this inspires a criminal: maybe they think they can get away with it too. Better still, if they copy it, maybe the other guy will get blamed for it. Understand?) This happened in London, Ontario in the 70s, so it is not unprecedented:  
That the murders in the Montreal / Sherbrooke area stopped around 1981 may be attributed to many things:
1. Offender moves away
2. Offender gets arrested for some other crime, is in prison for an extended period.
But there is another element. Around 1981 the Quebec police stopped being so generous in sharing information. Up until 1981 there was a fairly fluid relationship between the police and the media in Quebec (The offices of Allo Police were across the street from the Surete du Qubec’s Montreal headquarters on Parthenais). The crime scene photographers were quasi-journalist / civilian police staff. As a result, a lot of information about victims and crimes was accessible, and still is accessible. After 1981, the policy with Quebec police must have changed. You can see it in the crime archives at Rouge Media  / Allo Police: the files from the 70s are filled with all kinds of things, from photos to police reports. When you research the the files from the late 80s? All of that is gone. There are only newspaper clippings. There are none, or very little source documents.
What I am suggesting is that maybe there were other murders, we just never heard of them because the Quebec police closed its doors.
So I will get to the question you are ultimately asking: could one serial killer be responsible from the 70s up until now: from Prior to Allore to Cabay to Cedrika Provencher, and all of the others along the way?
Highly improbable when you look at the length of the timeline 40 years? An offender in their 70s today. Improbable, but possible.
More probable? We are talking about several offenders with overlapping timelines. This is just an example: 
  • Offender 1: Prior, Houle, Leakey (75 to 81).  
  • Offender 2: Camirand, Allore, Bazinet – goes to jail then – Cabay? (77 – 94) Maybe.
  • Offender 3: Nicole Gaudreault – moves from Montreal to Sherbrooke, gets a good job, has a stable life, dormant for decades, then a crisis happens, he re-emerges – Cedrika? (79 – 2007) Maybe.
I see no issue with entertaining such possibilities. There are all kinds of examples that can back up such behavior. 
images
You asked, how did I access police information. Well, one source I mentioned above, the archives of Allo Police, now located at Section Rouge Media in Longueuil. The other source is the Grand Bibliotheque on de Maisonneuve in Montreal. You can make a records request (give them the victim name, date and location of disappearance, date and location of discovery) if they have it, it will cost you a few dollars for the service.  
I have already put a request in for you for Melanie Cabay. If I receive anything I will pass the information on to you, with my complements. 
Thank you for reaching out to me, and I wish you every success.
Regards,
John Allore
Tags:
Categories:

Surete du Quebec: I am still “inquiet”

Chantal Tremblay

Physician Heal Thyself!

This is a good first step but it is actually bad advice. It’s like the addict’s lament; “I’ve proven you wrong on dozens of occasions, throughout the years, but THIS TIME I’m gonna change,  All through the force of will power.” 

The truth is these are just words. Without a strategy and goals, without a means to measure results, without assistance from others; self-willed change rarely happens.

And this is the situation in which we find ourselves with Quebec police. 

I sat down with the Surete du Quebec in Montreal a few weeks ago. This is what I heard:

  1. It’s better now, they have new, motivated investigators who work tirelessly to solve crimes.
  2. They have new technologies that can better advance investigations.
  3. I am just a guy working with newspaper files and historic documents; the SQ has access to MUCH more information.

It’s the same thing we heard in the CBC online article posted this week:

Lt. Martine Asselin, the spokeswoman for the SQ’s cold case unit, acknowledges it was tougher then to solve cases.

“A lot of things have changed since those years: the evolution of the techniques and the evolution of the DNA and the way to treat the evidence has also changed,” she said.

“The communications between the police forces is very present. We have a task force to manage serial killers or serial sexual assaults,” Asselin said.

The cold case unit has recently added more officers, and Asselin said the provincial police force is looking seriously at these unsolved crimes.  As for the decrease in the number of homicides over the years, Asselin credits improved police techniques, including those aimed at crime prevention.

Let’s address the last point first. The SQ can take all the credit it wants for the reduction in violent crime over the years. The reality is that nobody knows what has caused the reduction in violent crime in North America over the last three decades, and I don’t know of a police agency or academic anywhere that is claiming that they know the answer.

But since we’re talking crime statistics, here’s what I do know. Over three decades, Quebec has had one of the worst homicide clearance rates of any province in Canada. That’s not my opinion, that is according to Statscan’s 2005 report, Homicide in Canada. From 1976 to 2005 Quebec had a homicide clearance rate of 74%. The average for Canada was 84%. Even worse, here are the homicide clearance rates for the major forces in Quebec over the same period – among the very worst in the country:

Surete du Quebec: 80%

Longueuil police: 74%

Laval police: 67%

Montreal police: 65%

The SQ Cold Case Website

There’s been a lot of chatter about my sister’s case being put up on the Surete du Quebec’s Cold-Case website, as if this signifies that the case has been “re-opened”. To begin with, I never said that and the police never said that, that was just a headline. Theresa’s case was never closed. Putting the case on a police website is a symbolic and important victory,  a transparent and accountable acknowledgement that the police recognize her death as a violent crime. 

When I met with the Surete du Quebec I asked them,  “since the case has been up on the website, how many calls / tips have you received?”. 

Answer? None.

That’s was not surprising to me. The police have lost so much credibility in these matters that it will take a lot of time before the public trusts them enough to come forward with information. The truth is they need to do more than hide behind a website to restore good will with the public. Much more. I’m not going to waste words on this, there are many fine examples of community policing efforts in North America, anyone can look it up, but the basis if community policing is to get out into the community and act like a societal partner, not simply as a another perceived threat to that community, and believe me, police in Quebec are seen as a societal threat.

Back to the issue of public engagement. In the same time period that the police had my sister’s case up on their website, how many credible contacts / tips did I receive?

Answer? Two, both of which I turned over to the police.

For those of you keeping score:

Who Killed Theresa?=2, SQ=0

Ok, enough with the silliness, I will get to my point. I asked the SQ, when will you get ALL the cases up on the website;  Bazinet, Houle, Camirand, Tremblay, etc…

I was told that they needed to take it slow, if they put too much information out there, they could risk an overload on their resources.

Really? You can’t have it both ways. You cannot – on the one hand – say that no one visits your website, then turn around and say putting more cases on that website will crash the system. The point here is transparency, acknowledgement and accountability. The SQ cold-cases of Louise Camirand, Jocelyne Houle, Denise Bazinet and Chantal Tremblay need to be presented on the SQ website immediately to demonstrate to the public that they are the police agency accountable for solving these crimes.

Chantal Tremblay

Speaking of Chantal Tremblay. Recall that this is a case from 1977. Chantal went missing in March of 1977 and her remains were found nine months later in somewhat of a police jurisdictional no-mans-land on the border of Rosemere and Terrerbonne.  There’s very little information on Chantal, so I’ve been trying to determine who owns the case; SQ, Terrebonne, or the intermunicipal police of Therese-De-Blainville (which now represents Rosemere). 

I am now going to relate to you a series of correspondences that transpired between me and the police. This is nothing personal, my intention is not to embarrass them, this is an important demonstration of a problem that needs to be addressed.

The Surete du Quebec attempted to find the Chantal Tremblay case, they concluded that it wasn’t their case. The Therese-De-Blainville police looked into the matter, they concluded that it too wasn’t their case either, and advised me to contact the Surete du Quebec.

At this point the SQ called time, and generously offered to get to the bottom of the matter to locate the case of Chantal Tremblay.

The next morning the Surete du Quebec informed me that the case of Chantal Tremblay was in fact an unsolved-murder, and that they would immediately assign an investigator to her file.

While I appreciated the fast follow-up, the situation hardly inspired confidence, and I expressed my dissatisfaction to the SQ. They responded that maybe it was the case that I knew the name of every unsolved homicide, but that they didn’t, and that they never promised that they did.

Wait a minute.

That is EXACTLY what they promised. They assured me that I may think I know everything with my old newspapers and historical files, but they had access to much more information and technologies.

I realize that being called out like this is difficult to hear. Believe me, it brings me no pleasure in doing it.

It is even less of a pleasure feeling a lack of confidence in the investigative capabilities of the agency tasked with solving these crimes. 

It’s not like the police can claim they are being blind-sided, or didn’t see this coming. In 2013 I gave a summary of all these cases and suggested / cautioned that they should be looked at (link here). In February I stated explicitly I was disappointed that nothing had been advanced since that time, and gave fair warning that I was going to provoke and embarrass them (link here). No one can accuse me of pathetic “gotcha” tactics.

We family members hanging on with these cold-cases, with hopes of resolutions to the horrors and trauma we have experienced, are faced with a paradox. By calling attention to the issues, we risk losing the communication and cooperation of the police; the only means of bringing these cases to justice. But by being silent and complicit, we again run the risk that these crimes will never be solved.

The police can say they are doing better, and we can call that into question, but the fact remains there is a measure for evaluating who is right and who is wrong: the homicide clearance rate. Solve a cold case, move the needle, watch the line on the graph go down; that is the only metric for evaluating the effectiveness of homicide investigation.

Update: The file of Chantal Tremblay is missing from the Quebec public archives (BANQ).

 

Tags:

Montreal Police negligence lead to Katherine Hawkes death

Katherine Hawkes-1977

After much thought – and assistance from others – I’ve finally been able to piece this through:

Recall that Katherine Hawkes was murdered September 20th, 1977 at the Val Royal train station in the Cartierville area of Montreal.  The night of the murder her assailant called the police twice around 10:35 pm and left the following two messages (click here for details):

First message:

“I attacked a woman at the corner of Bois Franc and Henri Bourassa. In the bushes to the North West side… Hurry sir, I’m afraid she might die. Thank you.”

Second message:

“Yes, hello, I attacked a woman at the corner of Henri Bourassa and Grenet… Grenet… in Ville Saint Laurent, in the bushes, at the North West corner. Do you understand?  I think you understand well, Sir. At the corner of Grenet and Henri Bourassa. At Ville Saint Laurent, In the bushes at the North West corner.”

Operator: “The woman is still there?”

 “Thank you.”

 “Hurry sir, I’m afraid she might die” 

This means Katherine Hawkes was no doubt alive when the first call was made. The autopsy indicates that Hawkes died from a combination of her wounds and exposure to the cold. The beating made her vulnerable, but hypothermia killed her, and that could have been avoided if police had responded with diligence instead of leaving Katherine Hawkes exposed to the elements all night long.  

There was a chance to save Katherine Hawkes.  Police waited 20 hours before responding, and Katherine Hawkes died.

This is no doubt the reason the Montreal police removed the tape from their website.

 

Tags:
Categories:

Quebec cold cases: Families of 8 dead women call for public inquiry

The CBC’s Joanne Bayly did an unexpected follow-up story; it’s really good so I’m going to simply post the whole thing.

To recap:  Yes, I was in Quebec a few weeks ago, apart from meeting with the SQ (more on that later), we had a meeting with several victim families. With the help of Stephan Parent and Marc Bellemare we came up with a a series of reforms to present to current Quebec Minister of Public Security, Martin Coiteux.

The families present / who met were:  Sharron Prior, Johanne Dorion, Lison Blais, Denise Basinet, Helene Monaste, Roxanne Luce.

A note on the article: That the SQ can’t confirm their own measure of the number of homicides in 1977, 1978 speaks to the problem. The numbers are well documented in StatsCan’s 2005 report on crime, which delved specifically into homicide (I believe my numbers were off by 1):

http://publications.gc.ca/Collection-R/Statcan/85-002-XIE/85-002-XIE2006006.pdf

victims-families

The relatives of eight women who suffered violent deaths in the 1970s and early 1980s are calling on Quebec Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux to call a public inquiry into policing methods in the province.

For decades, those families have honoured the memory of their lost sisters and daughters, waiting for a call from police to confirm an arrest and, in some cases, becoming detectives themselves.

Now their hope has been renewed through the efforts of a Quebec filmmaker, Stéphan Parent, who is making a documentary about seven of those women, tentatively entitled Sept Femmes. 

“We found [much] evidence was destroyed by police,” Parent said.

Marc Bellemare and victims' families

Former justice minister Marc Bellemare (left) is calling on Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux to look into police techniques when it comes to missing and murdered women.

Parent, who began investigating the unsolved homicide of 16-year-old Sharron Prior, noticed a pattern in other cold cases from the same era: destroyed evidence, relatives whose calls went unanswered, police forces that failed to communicate with one another.

Parent contacted former Liberal justice minister Marc Bellemare to help the families build a case for an inquiry.

The missing girls and women

The late 1970s were not an easy time to be a teenage girl or young woman in Quebec. Month after month, another was reported missing – and then found dead.

Among them:

  • Pointe–Saint-Charles: March 1975. Sharron Prior, 16, was on her way to have pizza with friends at a restaurant five minutes from her home. Her body was found three days later in the snow in Longueuil. No one has ever been arrested.

    mi-sharron-prior

    Sharron Prior was last seen March 29, 1975. (CBC)

  • Chateauguay, two teenage girls are found killed: 12-year-old Norma O’Brien in July 1974 and 14-year-old Debbie Fisher in June 1975. A young man, a minor, confesses to the killings, though his name and the details are still cloaked in mystery.
  • Sherbrooke, March 1977: 20-year-old Louise Camirand is found in the snow, 11 days after stopping at a convenience story to buy milk and cigarettes. Her killer is never found.
  • Montreal, June 1978: 17-year-old Lison Blais is found dead just metres from the entrance of the home where she lived with her parents on Christophe-Colomb Street. She’d left a disco bar on St-Laurent Boulevard early that morning. She had been raped and struck on the head, and there were choking marks on her neck.
  • Lennoxville, November 1978: 19-year-old Theresa Allore disappears from the campus of Champlain College, only to be found at the edge of the Coaticook River five months later. Police rule her death suspicious.

    Theresa Allore in her family's kitchen

    Theresa Allore in her family’s kitchen. She was 19 when she disappeared.

A serial killer?

“I think Quebec in that era was a very violent place,” said John Allore, one of the relatives who is asking for a public inquiry.

 

“People got away with a lot more. In today’s world, with cellphones and all this technology, cameras everywhere, it’s not as easy to get away with these kind of behaviours.”

His research shows there were 179 homicides in Quebec in 1977 and 177 the year before. In 2013, there were 68 homicides in the province.

The SQ won’t confirm the statistics, but it’s clear that in the 1970s, criminals were getting away with rape and even murder.

He said because police forces at the time worked in isolation, they failed to identify patterns.

If there was a serial killer on the loose in the greater Montreal area, as some relatives of the dead women believe, police didn’t figure that out – or didn’t share their suspicions with victims’ families.

Change in attitudes

Lt. Martine Asselin, the spokeswoman for the SQ’s cold case unit, acknowledges it was tougher then to solve cases.

“A lot of things have changed since those years: the evolution of the techniques and the evolution of the DNA and the way to treat the evidence has also changed,” she said.

“The communications between the police forces is very present. We have a task force to manage serial killers or serial sexual assaults,” Asselin said.

The cold case unit has recently added more officers, and Asselin said the provincial police force is looking seriously at these unsolved crimes.  As for the decrease in the number of homicides over the years, Asselin credits improved police techniques, including those aimed at crime prevention.

 body of Theresa Allore

The body of Theresa Allore. She was found in her underwear by a passing trapper.

John Allore agrees there has been a change in attitudes.

“Certainly, in the 1970s, rape and sexual assault were not taken as seriously then as they are today,” Allore said. He said blaming the victim was the norm.

“A woman is found with a rope, a ligature around her neck, and police say it could have been suicide. A young girl is found abandoned in a field, and they say it could have been a hit and run.”

My sister is found in her bra and underwear in a stream, and they say it could have been a drug overdose.”

Inquiry demand focuses on 8 cases

The letter to the public security minister focuses on eight cases: Sharron Prior, Louise Camirand, Joanne Dorion, Hélène Monast, Denise Bazinet, Lison Blais, Theresa Allore and Roxanne Luce.

Hélène Monast

Hélène Monast was walking home from an evening out celebrating her 18th birthday when she was killed in a Chambly park in 1977.

In it, the families ask for the following changes:

  • That all murders and disappearances anywhere in the province be investigated solely by the Sûreté du Québec.
  • That a protocol be established to make sure all evidence and information is held in a centralized place.
  • That police officers be paid to undergo specialized training.
  • That families of victims be kept systematically informed about the evolution of any investigation.
  • That families of victims, accompanied by their lawyers, have access to the complete dossiers of the investigations, if the crime is still not solved after 25 years.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Public Security says officials are well aware of the difficult situation that relatives of missing or murdered people have to go through. The Ministry says it has received the letter asking for a public inquiry, and that demand is currently being analyzed.

Tags:

Seven Women, and the murder of Joannne Dorion

Buried in the Laval newspaper, Le Courrier  last Friday ( what? you’ve never heard of it?) was a story about the 38-year-old unsolved murder of Joanne Dorion, and the frustrations the family has experienced over these decades trying to engage police to solve the crime.

The family of Johanne Dorion

The family of Johanne Dorion

It’s a familiar story. An experience shared by myself, the Monasts, the Priors, the Provenchers. And it is becoming less and less surprising that you now have to reach out to third tier media like the Courrier – or sites like mine – in order to get this kind of story heard. No one does investigative journalism anymore. La Presse and The Gazette are circling the drain. Even when they do take the time to cover these horrific and unrelenting tragedies it is usually with a heavy dose of sentimentality – “the poor, suffering victims” – when all we ever asked for was police interest and engagement.

I have translated the story here in English in hopes that it doesn’t get buried again. For the record, Le Courrier Laval did not, as they suggest, resurrect this story.  I did. Three years ago I published the piece, Who Was The Bootlace Killer? I had to dig the information out of the archives of Allo / Photo police, an arduous emotional task that took all of one day (one wonders why in 40 years the police never bothered to do the same). I am the only civilian ever to have been granted access to the archive, mostly because the current owners of the archive understand that I appear to be one of the only ones left on the planet who gives a rats-ass about these unimaginably dark Quebec crimes.

Before doing my research there was absolutely no mention of Joanne Dorion – and many of the others- anywhere on the internet. With my blessing and appreciation, Stephan Parent took the information and shaped it into an idea for a documentary, Seven Women. Publishers of Le Courier Laval got wind of it – and journalist, Caroline Mireault, took me literally, and wrongly assumed that there actually was an assailant tagged by the police as “The Bootlace Killer” – then wrote the folllowing piece in Hebdo Rive Nord. From that piece the Dorion family was able to contact Stephan Parent.

dorion

Parent with the Dorion family

 

There are some things from the article I’d like to clarify. First, the Laval police’s suggestion that increased media attention will harm an investigation? That is certainly true in some cases, but not in a 38-year-old cold case. That is lazy police work, and it is all too often heard from Quebec law enforcement, and they need to be held accountable for such irresponsible suggestions.

Second, in the article Parent remarks that physical case evidence should be re-analysed. Stephan is being cheeky here because he suspects – as I do – that the majority of physical evidence in these cases has been destroyed by law enforcement. We know this to be true in the cases of Theresa Allore and Manon Dube. Both of those cases were investigated by the Surete du Quebec. We also know it to be true in the cases of Sharon Prior and Roxanne Luce. Both those cases were investigated by Longueuil police.

Two different forces involved in the systemic destruction of evidence. To what purpose? What could account for such an incompetent breakdown in investigative procedure? We shall see. In the meantime Quebec police are worried. They have good reason to be worried.

Here is the translation of the Dorion article:

Thanks to an article published in Le Courrier Laval in September 2015, the family of a young woman murdered in 1977 was able to make contact with the documentary filmmaker, Stephan Parent.

Parent has been researching the history of Joanne Dorion, 17, who was last seen by a bus driver along 9th Avenue in Fabreville, July 30, 1977 at 12:30 AM.

Eleven days later, her body was found five blocks away, in a wooded area near the Mille Îles River. No one was arrested in connection with the murder, leaving the family in turmoil and perpetual mourning.

Le Courrier Laval met in Saint-Eustache, with the victim’s sister, Colette Dorion, for the filming of a scene for Parent’s documentary, Seven Women, due out at the end of this year.

Colette Dorion, who was 16 in 1977, is currently writing a book about the personal history of her sister in this world, for family purposes, but also the general public.

Speaking with the family, they hope that information on the offender will surface after almost 38 years. With Parent working on his film, they hope that new information will come forward that will help resolve Dorion’s unsolved murder.

“Harming the investigation”

Joanne Dorion’s sister Lise, who was 12 at the time, commented that a few days after the Septemeber 2015 publication of the article in the Courrier Laval on unsolved murders of women, an investigator for the Laval Police contacted her.

“He told us he 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. “

 

Michel, who was 22 years old when he lost his younger sister added, “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… for the investigation to move!  What people don’t realize is that we are always in mourning, as long as the person who committed this murder it is not found.”

Investigation Stopped

The family is often told that investigations have to be stopped because there is always another important case that comes along. “My sister was also important,” insists Colette.

“What I deplore in these cold case of women is that the evidence found at the crime scene could be further analyzed”, adds independent filmmaker, Stephan Parent, who is leading his own parallel investigation, “But there is nothing that obliges [the investigators] to do so, unless there is a suspect or arrest of an individual. This is because a cold case investigation is expensive. So they await for new information to come to them rather than putting a team on it. “

The family has repeatedly asked, in vain, that the Laval Police review the evidence.  In 1977, the crime scene had been trampled badly by people in the neighborhood. Pictures provided by Stéphan Parent from that time show a gathering of onlookers next to the police car. Nothing had been cordoned off.

In addition to the Dorion murder, Parent’s documentary, Seven Women will feature  the cases of Louise Camirand, Helen Monast, Denise Bazinet, Theresa Allore, Lison Blais and Sharron Prior. All of the women were between the ages of 16 and 25, and killed in a similar fashion in the 1970s. The murders took place in Montreal, Laval, Sherbrooke and other areas in South East Quebec.

Le Courrier Laval tried to contact investigators, but they failed to respond.

Tags:

Repost: Quebec 1977: Who Was The Bootlace Killer?

There was a serial killer operating not only in the Eastern Townships in the 1970s, but also in the Montreal region. Call him The Bootlace Killer. Louise Camirand, Helen Monast, Denise Bazinet and Theresa Allore were all most likely strangled by a thin ligature. Camirand with her bootlace, Monast and Bazinet most likely with their shoe laces, and my sister, Theresa Allore with her scarf (she was wearing Chinese slippers with no laces when she disappeared). Because some of these cases extend into the Montreal region, they call into question many other murder investigations from that era that remain unsolved, most notably the unsolved murder of Sharron Prior.

Let me begin by stating that I do not like unifying theories, especially those involving serial killers. But given the explosion in information exchanged due to the Internet in the last 10-years, the communication between the Victims’ families in these cases and the vast amount of cyber-sleuthing, and the fact that within these 10 years Quebec law enforcement has not solved any of these cases; the matter now requires some innovation, imagination and – above all else – simple curiosity. It is time for a fresh approach.

The original investigation

Untitled-Scanned-49

Louise Camirand’s body is found

When the theory of a serial predator roaming the Eastern Townships was first put forward ten years ago we were only talking about 3 cases; Theresa Allore, Manon Dube and Louise Camirand (for a quick refresher on those cases, check out the Wikipedia site here). What made this theory so compelling was the timing and geographic immediacy of all the crimes. As Geographic Profiler, Kim Rossmo summarized:

“Three murders of low-risk young women in a 19-month period, in such a tight geographic cluster, is highly suspicious, and not likely to be a chance occurrence.”

However, there were differences in some of the circumstances. Dube was a child found fully clothed and the exact cause of her death has never been determined. Allore was most likely strangled, presumably by her scarf . Louise Camirand was the least elusive case; she was clearly strangled by her boot lace, and her boots were never recovered.

 

 

 

Denise Bazinet

The case of Denise Bazinet, to my understanding, has been forgotten. Trawl the internet and you will find one reference to it: The Quebec journaliste, Jacques Guay apparently covered the case in 1977. The case has been sitting in the archives of Allo Police for 35 years where I recently discovered it.

(Photo of Bazinet removed)

Like many of the victims, 23-year-old Denise Bazinet was a low risk female. She worked as a cashier at Saint Hubert barbeque. On the night of her disappearance she was last seen at a local restaurant. She disappeared from Montreal in the Fall of 1977. Her semi-nude body was found on October 24th, 1977 at the side of autoroute 35 near the Chambly Saint-Luc exit, east of La Prairie. Bazinet had been sexually assaulted and strangled. She was wearing her jewelry; a watch, earrings, a ring on her finger. Some of her clothing was found strewn along the shoulder of the road, but some items were missing. She was wearing her right shoe – sport shoes with thick laces – but her left shoe was off and discarded along the road. The crime scene photo of Bazinet clearly shows the thin line along her neck where the mark of strangulation was made, presumably by something thin like her shoe lace. The crime scene is just under 10 miles from Chambly, Quebec where just 6 weeks earlier Helene Monast was found strangled.

 

Helene Monast

Crime scene of Helene Monast

Crime scene of Helene Monast

September 11, 1977. Again, a low risk female. She was out with friends the night she disappeared, last seen at a local restaurant, Chez Marius. She was found across the street in a public park along the Chambly canal. Clothing was discarded along side of the body… personal items; a pack of Export A cigarettes, a box of Chiclets. Some articles of clothing were missing, notably her shoes. Investigators asked her family at the time of the discovery whether Helene wore shoes with laces. When Helene’s sister saw the body she noticed a thin line along her neck from strangulation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Louise Camirand, Denise Bazinet, Helene Monast, and Theresa Allore. Low risk females. All found in wooded or rural settings. Articles of clothing missing. In the case of Camirand, Monast and Allore shoes are missing. Articles of clothing scattered next to the bodies. Jewelry left on most of the victims. All strangled, presumably by thin ligatures like a shoe lace or a scarf.

 

Crime scene of Denise Bizanet

Crime scene of Denise Bizanet

 

The addition of Bazinet and Monast to the original 3 cases of Camirand, Dube and Allore extends the geographic radius beyond the Eastern Townships of Quebec to the Montreal region. I believe it a worthy exercise to consider other unsolved homicides from the same era in the same region with similar victimologies. It has been close to 40 years and Quebec police have not been able to advance the resolution of any of these cases, it’s time for some fresh eyes.

 

 

 

 

 Jocelyne Houle

24 year old Jocelyne Houle disappeared from the Old Munich bar in downtown Montreal (corner of St. Denis and Dorchester / Rene Levesque) in April 1977, one month after Louis Camirand’s disappearance in Sherbrooke. Her body was found along the side of a rural road in Saint Calixte, North of Laval. She was sexually assaulted and beaten to death. Articles of clothing were scattered.

Johanne Dorion

17 year old Johanne Dorion was last seen by a bus driver at boule Arthur-Sauve and Sainte Rose in Fabreville on July 30th, 1977, six weeks before the Monast murder. She was found shortly thereafter eight blocks away in a wooded area along the banks of Riviere des Mille Iles. The body was badly decomposed, but she had been stabbed. Note that both Houle was a nursing student, Camirand and Dorion worked at hospitals.

Katherine Hawkes

34 year old Hawkes was found in a wooded area next to the Val Royal CN train station on September 20th, 1977, 9 days after the Monast murder, and a month before the Bazinet murder. She was sexually assaulted, beaten and stabbed. Her clothing was stacked about 12 feet from the body. Personal items were missing, including her purse.

————————————

Eight possibly related cases. Now let’s pause for a moment. Little of what I have proposed so far is original.   I lifted it.   In a November 6th, 1977 article on the Denise Bazinet murder, Allo Police implied that six of the cases might be related: Bazinet, Camirand, Houle, Dorion, Monast and Hawkes. But what Allo Police was suggesting was that given the timing – 6 murders in 8 months – the accelerated pace might imply a connection. I am suggesting this, but a further element. Time and place are certainly important; but the victimology is similar: low risk women, rural wooded sites, clothing scattered or missing, strangulation in most cases. And something Allo Police could not have known in the Fall of 1977; there would be / could be more cases, most notably Theresa Allore and Manon Dube. One further disclosure. The Camirand / Dube / Allore connection? That too was not an original idea. Allo Police suggested it by referencing each of the cases in their articles, each time a new body was discovered.

Can we go further?

Having gone this far, why stop there if there are other cold cases that fit the victimology? As I have said, the Quebec police don’t have any new ideas, so let’s consider the following:

Claudette Poirier

15 year old Claudette Poirier disappeared from Drummondville July 27, 1977. Later her bicycle was recovered from the side of a rural road in the area. Nearly 10 years later her bones were recovered in a local camp ground. We don’t know how she died.

Chantal Tremblay

17 year old Chantal Tremblay was from  Rosemere, north of Laval.  She was last seen by a bus driver on July 29, 1977 at the Henri Bourassa metro station. Her body was recovered 8 months later in Terrebonne. She was murdered, but we don’t know how she died. 

Unidentified

unknown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A murder victim between the ages of 18 and 25 was discovered along chemin de lac in Longeueil on April 2nd, 1977. And given the time and place of this discovery, this then leads back to the consideration of the murder of…

Sharron Prior

Crime scene of Sharron Prior

Crime scene of Sharron Prior

Of all these cases, Sharon Prior’s is the most widely known. Given the geography, timing and victimology her case should be considered in these matters. It’s been nearly 40 years, and the Longeueil Police have advanced nothing.

Consider this:

The unidentified victim from 1977 and Sharron Prior were both discovered along Chemin de Lac in Longeueil. Prior went missing from Montreal, and – like Bazinet, Tremblay and Houle – her body was found off the island in the “suburbs”. Prior was found in a wooded area. Her clothing was scattered around the crime scene. There are obstacles with making a connection; Prior is a 1975 case (does that go back too far?). She was savagely beaten; her chest was collapsed, a tooth was driven through her lip. Was she strangled? We don’t know.

But maybe Sharron Prior fought harder. Maybe she resisted her assault more than the others. If you look at the crime scene photos of Camirand, Monast and Prior, it is the same victimology; you think you are looking at the same crime scene.

Is there anything else?

Certainly. The question is, how far forward and backward are you willing to go? What else should be considered? Here are my  best / worst ideas:

 Alice Pare

14 year old Pare disappears from her school in Drummondville in February, 1971. Her body is found in April 1971 in a wooded area near Victoriaville. She had been strangled.

Tammy Leakey

The 12 year old goes missing from Point Saint Charles in Montreal blocks from where Sharron Prior disappeared in March 1981. Her body is discovered soon after in Dorval; raped, stabbed once, and strangled, possibly with a cord or lace. There was always criticism that Manon Dube didn’t fit the profile because she was too young (10 years old). I think the rape and murder of Leakey puts to rest any doubts about who a predator may prey upon.

The following cases are disappearances. They just vanished. We don’t know if they were runaways, or what happened to them:

Johanne Danserault: 16, disappeared from Fabreville, June 1977

Sylvie Doucet: 13, disappeared East Montreal, June 1977

Elizabeth Bodzy: 14, disappeared Laval, July 1977

The police need to look into these cases to determine if they ran away from home, if they were murdered or if they simply “vanished”.

Here is a GIF animation showing locations of disappearances, followed by where bodies were discovered. Worth a thousand words. In the 1970s, someone was moving bodies out of Sherbrooke, and off the island of Montreal:

gifmaker slow

 

 

 

 

 

 

To see more maps click on this link.

With the exception of Helene Monast, none of these cases are included in the Surete du Quebec’s  cold case file for special examination. Quebec law enforcement (SQ, SPVM,Longeueil, RCMP, Laval) all need to work together to consider the evidence in these cases. These cases need to be re-examined as a group of potentially linked sex murders. At the very least, physical evidence from the cases (if any of it still exists) should be re-examined using modern DNA testing, and all the evidence should be cross-referenced to look for potential patterns and links.

Update: On March 9, 2016 the Theresa Allore case was added to the Surete du Quebec’s website: 

(All photos are the  property/used courtesy of Allo Police/Section Rouge Média Inc.)

Tags:

Stephan Parent explores the unsolved murders of seven women

 

I found this in a Quebec newspaper. My only quibble? The only one who dubbed the suspect “The Bootlace Killer” was me. And I did it deliberately to call attention to the issue. Guess it worked:

After the success of November 84 ‘, the filmmaker Stephan Parent visited Oasis du Vieux-Palais in Assomption, Saturday, May 30 for the filming of his next feature film. With the working title, Seven Women, Parent wants to give a boost to police investigations involving seven women murdered in the 1970s.

articleAs with  November 84 ‘, which deals with a series of kidnappings and unsolved child murders that took place over 30 years,  Seven Women concerns the murders of Louise Camirand, Helen Monast, Denise Bazinet, Dorion Johanne, Theresa Allore, Lison Blais and Sharon Prior.

“With this film, we will focus on seven women, but we believe that nearly fifteen cases could be associated with the same killer despite the fact that this has not been confirmed by police”, says Stephan Parent in interview with TC Media Hebdo Rive Nord. “There is a modus operandi in these murders that lead us to believe that the same person could be responsible for these crimes.”

The director explains that the victims were all women aged 16 to 25 and that they were killed in a similar way, their naked bodies found after they had been raped and strangled with their own clothes.

“At the time, some had even dubbed the killer as the “Bootlace killer” because victims would likely have been strangled with their own shoelaces or scarf. In our view, there have been cases in Montreal, Laval, Sherbrooke and elsewhere in Quebec. In all cases, the bodies were found adjacent to highways or in woodlands.”

With Seven Women Stephan Parent will examine police investigations that began in the 1970s to elucidate these crimes, with the goal of reviving these cold cases.

“In the scene we are shooting today, we reconstruct the evening when Denise Bazinet, who worked as a cashier at St-Hubert, went to a disco bar with a friend”, says the filmmaker. “What we know is that she lived in the Plateau Mont-Royal in Montreal, and her body was found on the edge of Highway 35 in the Eastern Townships. It might be that someone could probably remember something, even if the disappearance was in 1977. ”

For this production, Stephan Parent has once again enlisted the collaboration of crime reporter Claude Poirier and Marc Bellemare, a lawyer and former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Quebec.

Despite the success of November 84 ‘, the new film by Stephan Parent is being independently produced with Ugo Fredette. For both men, it is important that these victims do not fall into oblivion.

“In 1984, I lived in the same area as Maurice Viens, who was 4 years old when he disappeared on November 1 and was later found dead”, recalls Parent. “So I witnessed the whole story and all the police deployment, I was deeply touched. When this happens near you, you feel challenged. Eventually I developed a certain expertise related to investigations”.

Seven women should hit theaters in the Fall or early Winter.

Tags:
Categories:

Case details: Allore, Camirand, Dube

 

download

I have expanded the Wikipedia page on Theresa Allore, and submitted two pages to Wikipedia on Manon Dube and Louise Camirand. I have included many details about the cases. Some of this I have written about in the past, but it’s nice to have it all laid out in one place. Also, I get tired of answering the same questions over and over, so hopefully this will elevate some of those problems.

The information is from a variety of sources (mostly newspaper articles from the 1970s), but chiefly adapted from the chapter I contributed to Kim Rossmo’s academic text, Criminal Investigative Failures.

Here are links to the pages:

Theresa Allore

Manon Dube

Louise Camirand

We’ll see how long they stay up. Since Wikipedia is open source, they can be pretty picky about the nature of content.

If all goes well, I hope to add additional pages about Helene Monast, Denise Bazinet, Jocelyne Houle, Johanne Dorion, Tammy Leakey, and Sharron Prior.

Tags:

July update

Photo_of_bog_3

I’ve changed my site theme. I had some complaints that the posts were not date stamped, and it was hard to track the chronology of information. True enough. It was time anyway. I was using a WordPress theme called “Fog” that had a picture of Charlie Manson on it in demo mode: never sat well with me.

Will you let me know what you think? What works / what doesn’t? I’d appreciate it.

A few notes:

1. Someone linked me on a Facebook page about the Eastern Townships and the response was unbelievable: I had no idea that many people still  came to this site for updates on the case. Still, it felt a little intrusive. There’s this page with nice pictures of Quebec landscapes, and then someone drops this mess in the middle of it. Just like life.

2. A have been asked – again – to consider taking down graphic photos of crime scenes. I’m considering it, but it’s doubtful I’ll do it. They serve there point. These things are real, terrifying and uncomfortable. If someone doesn’t like that then don’t come to my site.

3. I’ve been corresponding with a student at Bishop’s university. He is a criminology student there (a new program for the school) and wants to work with me. Always good to have boots on the ground. We’ll see.

4. I was approached to be part of some sort of memorial to murder victims that would be erected in Montreal. I declined. It’s just not my style. I have a name on a monument: it’s called a tombstone. Enough already. Solve the crime; that will be the testament to tragedy.

5. I’ve also been approached to be part of a group calling for a public inquiry into these crimes. I’m luke-warm, but could be convinced. An inquiry like that would need to have very specific goals and outcomes. If one of the outcomes is increased resources to solving these crimes, How fair is that? So  we’re going to raise taxes on current taxpayers to solve 30 year old crimes for which they bare no responsibility? What current priority is going to be sacrificed to achieve these new and old priorities? Finally, show me a Quebec public inquiry that achieved what it set out to do: Poitras? Charbonneau? The answer is, “none”. You can search this website for the “why”, I’m too lazy to make the links.

6. It’s always great to come home at 11 pm on a Saturday evening and get a message from the Priors asking for copies of autopsy reports. No really: this is what we do! (Just messin’ with you, Doreen, I’ll send them this morning).

7. What are the Surete du Quebec up to? Well several things, but here’s one. They are looking seriously at a suspect. On their own, I didn’t bring the suspect to their attention. This is why I don’t know the details. It’s good in the sense that the police are being pro-active. Theresa’s case isn’t sitting in a box on a floor at 1701 Parthenais (well, actually it is); they are doing things. But because they are doing it right, I don’t know the details.

Tags: