Montreal attempted murder trial in jeopardy / Police destroy evidence

This is why the destruction of evidence in 40 year old cold-cases is relevant to today. First the Surete du Quebec and Longueuil forces, now the Montreal police. If you don’t hold them accountable, then don’t expect them to change:

Trial for sexual assault and attempted murder of a minor in jeopardy?

Paul Cherry, Montreal Gazette: March 18, 2016

scales-of-justice-image-for-extra-story-about-violence-againA Quebec Court judge will decide in April if a case involving the sexual assault and attempted murder of an 11-year-old girl should be tossed out because the Montreal police made a huge error by destroying evidence during the trial. 

The accused is a 44-year-old resident of the St-Laurent borough who was charged in 2013 with sexually assaulting and attempting to kill the 11-year-old victim. The man was a close friend to the victim’s family and, at the time, lived next door to them. She considered him to be like an uncle to her and he cannot be identified because it could be considered information that would identify the victim. 

The man is alleged to have used a skipping rope, on May 26, 2013, to strangle the girl inside her own home while she was watching television. She passed out and later woke up in an alley near her home. Her clothes were torn, her nose and hands were bloodied and the skipping rope was still wrapped around her neck. She sought help at the home of a neighbour who refused to do anything but was able to make it to the home of a friend. The girl’s mother showed up at the friend’s house a short while later and called 911. The girl told the 911 operator that a man who lived next door to her family tried to kill her and then she identified him as the accused who is currently on trial.

Quebec Court Judge Sylvie Kovacevich began hearing evidence in the trial at the Montreal courthouse on Feb. 16, 2015, and it continued on for several non-consecutive days. The Crown finished presenting its evidence last fall but defence lawyer Sharon Sandiford filed a motion after learning that a Montreal police officer somehow destroyed evidence – the skipping rope and a piece of clothing the girl was wearing the day she was attacked – while the case was at the trial stage. Sandiford asked for a stay of proceedings while arguing her client can’t mount a full and complete defence without having access to the evidence.

On Friday, Kovacevich was expected to render her decision on the stay of proceedings but she informed both sides in the case that she needed more time. She pushed back the date of her decision to April 25 and said she wants both sides to prepare for the trial to resume that same day if she rejects Sandiford’s motion. 

When she argued in support of her motion Sandiford argued that the destruction of the evidence was a an example of gross negligence. When prosecutor Pierre Olivier Bolduc argued against the stay of proceedings he based much of what he said as if Sandiford was claiming an abuse of procedure on the part of the police – or that they intended to destroy the evidence. Kovacevich noted this on Friday and suggested much of Bolduc’s argument was based on a moot point. She offered the prosecutor a chance to correct this but he said the prosecution had nothing further to add. 

“The Crown argued a lot on something that isn’t even an issue,” Sandiford told reporters after the brief hearing. 

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Katherine Hawkes – September 20th, 1977: SPVM Screwup

Katherine Hawkes-1977

Katherine Hawkes-1977

Less than 10 days after the murder of Helene Monast in Chambly, Katherine Hawkes was brutally beaten and raped in the Saint Laurent region of Montreal.

The Quebec tabloids did not overlook the threat to public safety, with Allo Police publishing the photos of Louise Camirand, Jocelyne Houle, Joanne Dorion, Helene Monast and Katherine Hawkes with the headline, Encore un maniaque sexuel!”

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Disappearance

34-year-old Katherine Hawkes worked in downtown Montreal, at the corner of Dorchester and University. The 5’5″ 145 lbs woman resided at 11815 rue Ranger in the Cartierville are of Montreal (to the north). Katherine usually road the commuter train home to the CN Val Royal station. On September 20th, 1977, Montreal (in fact the entire province of Quebec) experienced a massive power outage. As the trains were not running, Katherine took the bus home to Cartierville.

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Katherine left work at approximately 6:00 pm. A bus driver said he saw Katherine exiting the bus at Val Royal at approximately 6:20 pm, but we know this cannot be so: no bus travels that fast. So let’s assume Katherine was back in Cartierville around 7:00 pm. Her home was approximately a 4 minute walk away on rue Ranger.

Discovery of the body

September 21, 1977 around 5:30 pm, two students, Carlo Aghbashian and Berry LeBlanc are walking along the north side of the path by the railway station when they smell a “gross odor”.  They look in the bushes adjacent the train station and discover the body of Katherine Hawkes lying beneath some trees. They call the police.

IMG_0176The Montreal Municipal Police arrive at 6:33 pm. The investigation is led by Sargent Detectives Roger David and Arthur Laurin, assisted by Sgt Andre Tetreault, SD Remy Martin, and Constable Robert.

Katherine Hawkes bus stop at Val Royal. Note the light, which would have been dark due to the blackout.

Katherine Hawkes bus stop at Val Royal. Note the light, which would have been dark due to the blackout.

Katherine Hawkes was found lying on her back. Because it had been cold that day (windy the evening of the blackout) the body was very rigid. Her clothing was found approximately 5 feet from the body. 15 feet from the body police found a white “bag”, and a brown “bag” containing hair rollers and a tube of Pepsodant toothpaste.  Hawkes was lying approximately 100 feet from the Val Royal train station, and 400 feet north of 4767 Henri Bourassa boule. 

Autopsy

The medical examination is performed on September 22nd at the medical lab at Parthenais in Montreal by Andre Brosseau, assisted by Maurice Labrie. Hawkes was found wearing a beige sock on her right foot, a bra pulled up over her arms, a sweater, and her brown coat. Objects recovered include a neckless and a ring. Results indicate that Hawkes was beaten violently about the head, and raped. She died from a combination of her injuries and exposure to the cold.

Much to discuss about Katherine Hawkes

First, all of the information above is pulled from original police reports and public records, none of it comes from newspapers. When information was released to public archives someone from the Montreal Municipal Police inadvertently included all the police information (Oops!). Just watch how this plays out:

IMG_0167Unlike many of the other cases, Katherine Hawkes has received some recent media attention. In 2003 the Radio Canada television show, Justice avec Simon DeRivage profiled the Hawkes case (link here). At that time the case was in the hands of the RCMP (are you counting the cross-jurisdiction nightmares?) and lead investigator Michael Hanigan made a lot of public noise about the fact that the “killer” apparently telephoned into police the evening of Hawkes’ disappearance to report where the body could be found: “La police possède deux enregistrements du meurtrier, puisque ce dernier a téléphoné à deux reprises à la police pour se dénoncer et indiquer où ce trouvait le corps.”  

At that time, the police were still in possession of the taped recordings (which where played on Justice) and the public was asked to contact the RCMP if anyone recognized the voice:  The person called in twice, and spoke French.

Around 2010 the tapes apparently disappeared. The Montreal police no longer were looking for the public’s assistance, much to the frustration of citizens like myself that simply wanted to solve some crimes. This is witnessed by Kristian Gravenor’s plea on his website Coolopolis, calling for the Montreal police to please re-release the audio recording (link here).

Now this is where it gets interesting. The autopsy report indicates that the police received a call on the evening of September 20th:

“La Police a recu un appel dans la soiree du 20 septembre disant qu’une personne inconne se trouvait morte dans un terrain vacant a l’arriere du 4767 Henri-Bourassa”

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Further, the Montreal Municipal Police report indicates that one of the calls was received at 10:35 pm:

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So my question is this: If police knew as early as 10:35 pm the evening of September 20th, 1977 that a body was located behind 4767 Henri Bourassa, why did it take them until being notified by two students the following day at 5:30 pm to respond?

Stay with me. Remember the audio recording? It’s not lost. I have it. Why do I have it? Because when Radio-Canada / Justice did a 10 minute profile on Katherine Hawkes, they also did a 10 minute profile on Theresa Allore (look here).

Other points

Katherine Hawkes used the Montreal STM bus system. So did Johanne Dorion and Chantal Tremblay. In fact, both Dorion and Tremblay touched the Henri Bourassa line, and Dorion worked in Cartierville just north of where Hawkes lived. Here’s a quick map showing victim transit patterns. The map is interactive: click her and you will be taken to the map. In general the Bus and subway routes follow a grid pattern, so you should be able to extrapolate routes:

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So why not play the audio recording of the Hawkes call-in perp for the Dorion family to see if they recognize it? What harm could that do at this point? Unless the SPVM police are too worried about their embarrassment and failure to arrive at the Hawkes crime scene in a timely manner?

We are beyond that. Show some accountability and responsibility.

Oh there’s more. So Hawkes… found under trees, clothing next to body… What about her shoes? Like Camirand and Allore (and possibly Monast) they were missing. Katherine Hawkes’ shoes were recovered on September 23rd, 1977, a woman walking along rue Grenet sees the shoes in a ditch. The street is the destination from the bus stop towards Katherine Hawkes’ home.

DNA

In addition to sperm samples, the autopsy revealed that Katherine had in her hand three hairs which were analyzed. In addition the 2003 Radio-Canada piece seemed to suggest police still had the DNA (they had not destroyed it as in other cases).  If this is true, the DNA results should be shared with other police agencies to see if there is a match on these other cold cases.

The purse

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Like Monast, Camirand, Choquette, Allore (wallet later recovered), Hawkes purse is missing and never recovered.

Sharron Prior

Where is Sharron Prior in all this? The case was only 2 1/2 years earlier in April 1975. Why was Sharron dropped from the roster of cases?  Did the media / police / public forget? The family didn’t forget: Sharron’s mother had written the Dorion family in August 1977, and the letter was published in the Quebec tabloids. So why was Sharron left out of the Maniaque-Sexuelle equation?

Some possible clues:

Camirand (SQ)

Houle (SQ)

Monast (SQ)

Dorion (Laval, but recent)

Prior?   Longueuil police

Someone – with access to information – needs to be brave enough to answer these questions. 

Update:

  • The vocal tape from the killer: It is proving harder to locate than I originally thought. I was in touch with a contact at Radio Canada who assured me there would not be a problem in locating / providing it. That contact has gone silent. And all of a sudden, many efforts by people more influential than me have been frustrated. It is like we can get everything from the CBC except this.
  • I was told over this weekend by someone who had heard the tape that the French dialect / accent was very distinct, almost like someone from the Gaspe.
  • I was told by someone close to the original case that police did try to go back that evening and find Katherine’s body after the anonymous call, but – because of the blackout – it was too dark, they could not find the body. To which I say? Big deal: that’s what a flashlight is for. I’ve walked the area where Katherine Hawkes was murdered. It would have been easy to find her if you simply had put in the effort to do so. Also, the sunrises at 6:00? Go back in the morning: don’t wait another 12 hours: the first 48 are critical.

Here are some photos I took over the weekend in Montreal:

This demonstrates the proximity between Hawkes and Dorion. Dorion hospital is just beyond the trees. Hawkes shoes were found off rue Grenet:

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Hawkes lived here at 11815 rue Ranger:

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Henri Bourassa et Grenet, Hawkes bus exit is to the left:

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Val Royal train station. Hawkes was murdered just to the left:

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Reverse angle of Hawkes murder site, her body would have been located by the clump of trees. Bus stop would have been to the far left in the rear (Henri-Bourassa). Perspective gives you an indication of just how little geography the police would have needed to search:

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Hawkes shoes were found to the left. South of the railway tracks where body was found: This is just plain bizarre: who does that? Who murders a victim on one side of railway tracks, then travels ACROSS the tracks with the victim’s shoes and deposits them there? To the South (in distance) you see the hospital where Dorion worked:

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Reverse angle of place where Hawkes’ shoes were left. Note from street signs, Hawkes’ residence is just to the right on rue Ranger:

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Update 2:

Here is the audio tape:

 The night of the murder her assailant called the police twice around 10:35 pm and left the following two messages: 

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.”

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Bois Franc is the name of the train station. In the second message he phones back to clarify / be more specific: It’s North West of Henri-Bourassa and rue Grenet.

Now what I find interesting about the voice is this:  At that time the newspaper headlines were screaming about a “Sexual Maniaque” being on the loose. One of the newspapers even warned that police should check all the local mental institutions because obviously a “crazy” patient had escaped.

Listen to the voice. This is a very measured, detailed person. I sent the recording the Surete du Quebec. Marc Lepine of their Cold-Case bureau and I spoke about it last night (he brought it up in fact, not me). “The voice is a very organized guy”, he said.

But the most important point is in the final sentence in the first call: “Hurry sir, I’m afraid she might die”. 

This means Katherine Hawkes was no doubt alive when the 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 the 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.

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Jocelyne Houle – April 17, 1977

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Jocelyne Houle

24-year-old Jocelyn Houle was a nursing student from Chicoutimi, Quebec. The 5’2″, 100 lbs young woman traveled to Montreal with a group of fellow students to study respiratory therapy for three weeks at The Institute of Cardiology in the city’s Rosemont district.

IMG_0378During her stay Houle was living at a boarding house, The Jeanne Mance Institute at 6675 44e avenue. Wednesday evening, April 13th Houle decides to join seven of her fellow students for a night on the town. They have dinner at The Barnsider which was at 2250 rue Guy. After dinner they decide to go to the Old Munich at Saint Denis and Dorchester (now boule Rene Levesque).  They arrive at 11:30 pm. They drink, they dance, they stay until closing. They leave the club together around 1:30 am with the intention of moving the party up the street to La Caleche on Saint Catherines, just west of Saint Denis (I believe this was – and still is – La Caleche du Sexe, a strip club still in existence to this day). Jocelyne Houle, who was walking apart from the group with two men, never arrived.

Houle disappears

IMG_0376When they arrive at La Caleche the friends discover Houle isn’t there. They go back to the The Old Munich, but Jocelyne isn’t there either. They then decide that Houle must have gone back to the boarding house. Later when they get home, Houle isn’t at the boarding house. Houle is absent from her classes at the Institute of Cardiology on Thursday and Friday  April 14 and 15th. She doesn’t return to her parent’s home in Chicoutimi at the end of the week.

Discovery of the body

On Sunday, April 17th Houle’s body is discovered about an hour north of Montreal near Saint Calixte. She is found off a gravel road, Rang 5 about 8 feet in from the road lying face down in a few inches of water. Houle is found half-naked and badly beaten about the face and head. Her purse is lying next to her.


IMG_0389First to arrive on the scene at 11:00 am  are P Renaud of the Saint Jerome Surete du Quebec, and Reynald Vincent of the SQ in Rawdon. They are soon joined by Raymond Girard, Victor Judd, Gilles Vachon, Fernand Yelle and Normand Vien of the Surete du Quebec in Montreal. Yelle and Vien both worked the O’Brien / Fisher murders in 1974 and 1975 in Chateauguay.

MEDICALThe coroner on the scene is Rene Raymond. The body is taken to Montreal and the autopsy to performed by Andre Lauzon at the SQ Parthenais headquarters. The autopsy confirms that Houle was beaten to death. She had a fractured jaw, and many facial injuries caused by “kicks or punches”.  Houle had been raped, possibly my several persons. Houle was still wearing some of her clothing, including her bra, which was torn. Investigators conclude that Houle was not killed at the Saint Calixte location, only dumped there.

Analysis

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The above image is the full page from Allo Police, May 1, 1977 (it looks a little funny because I had to splice the top and bottom together).

Initially, the Surete du Quebec and the media focused all their attention on a possible connection between the Houle murder and the death of Louis Camirand. There reasoning appears to be this:

  1. Camirand was murdered three weeks earlier.
  2. Both Camirand and Houle were found in remote wooded areas.
  3. Both victims were raped.
  4. Both victims were in their 20s.

Linking Houle and Camirand was also a matter of convenience: both cases were assigned to the Surete du Quebec.

The media also seemed to fixate on the fact that both victims were engaged to be married: Tragic, but hardly evidentiary (I don’t think we’re chasing the “Engagement Killer”).

When you think of it, given what was known at the time, the Surete du Quebec was really linking the wrong cases:

  1. Camirand was found almost completely naked, Houle was partially clothed.
  2. Houle was badly beaten about the face and head, Camirand did not appear to be touched around the head area.

Here is the front page of Allo police on May 1, 1977:

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Look familiar? It should. It is practically identical to the Sharron Prior crime scene. Here is Photo Police April 17, 1975:

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  1. Prior and Houle both have their socks and shoes left on.
  2. Prior and Houle are both beaten about the face.
  3. Prior and Houle both disappear from the island of Montreal and are dumped off the inland in Longueuil and Saint Calixte.

Finally, the clue to the fact that the police were looking at the wrong crime lies in the page above showing the picture of Houle next to the photo of Camirand with her fiancee. The picture the Surete du Quebec should have been focused on is the one below Houle of the unidentified victim (read more about her here) who was found wrapped in a blanket on chemin du Lac in Longueuil, the very street where Sharron Prior’s body had been discarded two years earlier almost to the date that Unidentified was found (Prior was found April 1st 1975,  Unidentified was found April 2nd, 1977).

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I would even suggest the Surete du Quebec might have forgotten about the Prior case after 2 years, because it was not part of their unsolved portfolio. The Prior file was in the portfolio of the Longeueil Police.

There is even evidence to suggest linking Houle to other similar cases in the East End area of Montreal that occurred later. In the cases of Lison Blais and Denise Bazinet we have a profile of the victims out late at night in the club scene of Saint Denis (Partying) before disappearing and eventually being found murdered. This is in fact what Houle was doing with her friends at the Old Munich. So is there a profile here of a perpetrator who was stalking victims in bars?

Eventually, we shall see  – as more cases are added on – Prior again becomes part of the picture, but at this early stage of investigation the SQ lost valuable time by focusing on the wrong cases.

One final thought.

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Saint Calixte is quite a distance from Montreal. It is the farthest away any of these victims were dumped.  

I can’t quite understand what would have brought the perpetrators from downtown Montreal all the way north to Saint Calixte. Though I do note that Saint-Anne-des-Plaines is along the way, home to the infamous Archambault prison (at the time, a maximum security facility)

It’s a puzzle.

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Lise Choquette – April 22, 1975

Lise Choquette

Less than three weeks after Sharon Prior is found the body of Lise Choquette (30 years of age, 5’1″, 141 lbs) is discovered by Alexandre Aube, an employee with Corrival in Laval. Aube was working construction on the then new 440 autoroute when he found her naked body  near the construction site of the Viaduc Vimont at approximately 11:00 am on Tuesday, April 22, 1975.  Choquette was found lying in the mud approximately 275 feet behind Quebec Ciment, a company at 101 Chemin Haut-St. Francois, in Laval.

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The investigators on the scene were M. Lafond and Andre Lebrun of the Laval police, assisted by Sgt Det Fred Funaro and SD Jean Guy Sauve. Choquette was beaten and strangled, and found only with a tie around her neck ( grey tie with a black circles made by “Caporicci”). The tie was “very tight” around her neck.  There was a small amount of blood around her nose.  Her clothing was found about 200 feet away from the body. She had no identification or jewelry, though police know that Choquette wore a ring. The body had not been disposed at the location for a very long time.

Choquette

Choquette lived at 2247 rue Lariviere,  about a block away from the headquarters of the Surete du Quebec on rue Parthenais. 

Choquette’s residence was about a 10 minute drive from where Denise Bazinet lived, at 4252 rue Brebeuf. Bazinet’s residence is a 10 minute walk from where Lison Blais lived and died, at 4685 avenue Christophe Colomb.

Choquette lived in the apartment building to the left, 2247 Lariviere

Choquette lived in the apartment building to the left, 2247 Lariviere

 

Choquette was found near the construction site of the Viaduc Vimont in Laval. The location is interesting because it places Choquette directly between where Chantal Tremblay was last seen (the Henri Bourassa metro station), and where Tremblay lived / remains were discovered in Terrebonne (for more Tremblay information, click here)

Medicale Legale

choquette

The body was identified by Choquette’s mother, Emelide Choquette who lived at 6668 44e in Montreal. The case was lead by Sergent Detective Alfred Funaro of the Laval Police. The chief coroner was Maurice C Laniel, assistent by Andre Brosseau (pathologiste). 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a sworn statement to Andre Gauthier, a Surete du Quebec stenographer,  on November 6, 1975 (on behalf of the coroner’s office), Funaro declared that he had interrogated several persons, but without results, and that the investigation was ongoing. Choquette suffered a “violent death”, but the police needed to continue their work, and report back in future.

For the moment the case was une “Enquete sine die”, a “postponed investigation”.

Autopsy

The actual autopsy report determines the cause of death more specifically: “strangulation and connected contusions” about her head. So Choquette was strangled and beaten about the head.  There were no signs of alcohol in her system.

The autopsy was performed by Andre Brosseau at the demande of Roch Heroux at the Parthenais medical laboratory. There was no evidence of sperm in the vagina area.

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Louis Camirand (preview)

Camirand is found
I’m going to post this quote in full from Allo Police because I find it so pathetic and funny:

Murder or Suicide?

“That is the question that the Surete du Quebec’s “Crimes Contre La Personne” of Montreal are asking after the discovery at 10:20 am on the morning of Friday the 25th of March of a frozen body of a young woman”

Really??!! That is the question the Surete du Quebec was asking?

Camirand article French April 3 1977

Camirand was found butt-naked in the snow, her clothing next to her body, with a bootlace around her neck. And there was speculation of suicide??
FYI: That’s Roch Gaudreault, head of the investigation in the center of the picture frame. He would go on (not) to solve the murders of Manon Dube and Theresa Allore.
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Norma O’Brien, Debbie Fisher and the “Chateauguay Killer” (Part 1)

IMG_0447Norma O’Brien and Debbie Fisher were two young girls who went missing in the town of Chateauguay, a community off the island of Montreal known as “The South Shore”. The incidents happened one year apart in 1974 and 1975. In each case the girls were missing for a very short period – approximately 24 hours – before their bodies were found. This is a case where the assailant was actually caught and convicted, but as we will see the outcome was less than satisfactory, and has led to many questions to this very day.

Because the incidents occurred during new moon or full moon cycles, the press dubbed the perpetrator,  Le Maniaque Pleine Lune or Full Moon Killer.

I don’t care a whole lot about moon theory and criminal behavior. It was very de rigueur in the early 1970s.  Many believed The Zodiac – or “Sam” as he liked to be called – who was active in the late 60s early 70s, to be a moon phase killer. Later on in the 1970s David Berkowitz – or the “Son of Sam”  – reputedly killed 5 of his 8 victims during a full moon.  It wasn’t just a matter of people getting up to all sorts of mischief under a full moon’s influence, common lore said that if you did the profile right you could  predict when a murderer might kill again. We see this cliche play out in dozens of films. There must be at least one Dirty Harry movie where Callahan is in a race against time before the moon starts waxing full.

The Quebec press was crazy for moon murders in the 1970s. Here’s an insert from Allo Police, June 1978:

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It basically says the following: Lison Blais was murdered June 4th in Montreal. Soon after a taxi driver in Rimouski was killed. A man who disappeared the previous September was found attached to a cinder block in the Ottawa river. In an apparent crime of passion, a secretary died in Montreal. Some guy at a restaurant was shot in the head. A prisoner was stabbed 120 times. A biker was beaten to death in Trois Rivieres. What do these seven murders have in common? The previous weekend was a full moon!

All of this is very poetic, but not very true. Debbie Fisher did indeed disappear during a Full Moon, June 23, 1975. However, Norma O’Brien disappeared July 9, 1974 – a large moon, but waning with about 80% visibility.

Police displaying their superior evidence handling technique.

Police displaying their superior evidence handling technique.

 

 

 

Connecting two points on a map isn’t correlation or causation, it’s just dots.

Norma O’Brien

IMG_043812-year-old Norma O’Brien went missing on Tuesday evening, July 9, 1974. She left her home at 94 Rue Lucerne in the evening to play water polo at the Seignory Park Pool on Saint Francis Boulevard. When she arrived she discovered the pool was closed for repairs. She decided to walk home. It was about 8:30 pm. She was reported missing that evening. The family insisted that Norma was not a runaway.

Chateauguay Park Pool 1974

Chateauguay Park Pool 1974

The following day around 3:45 pm her naked body was discovered in a field close to the pool, about 1,500 feet from the road, by Charles Baranowsky, the manager at the Seignory pool. On seeing the body Baranowsky put his hands to his head and cried, “Non, non, non!”.

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At the crime scene were Chateauguay Police Chief Roger Gagnon and detectives Ferdinand Yelle, Agent Picard, Michel Lajoie and Jean-Jacques Gauthier. Also present were Surete du Quebec inspectors from Montreal, Claude Chabot, Daniel Duchesne, Yvon Fauchon, and Gaston Rioux.  O’Brien was found on her back. She had been beaten. She was raped. The cause of death was asphyxiation, most likely caused by her hair brush which was shoved down her throat. Police used scythes to search the area where the body was found but no evidence was recovered that would lead to a suspect. The case went cold.

Debbie Fisher

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Less than a year later – Jean Baptiste Day weekend 1975 – 14-year-old Debbie Fisher is coming home from her Uncle’s house at 6 rue Saint Luc. It is about 6:30 pm on Monday, June 23, 1975. She is on a red bicycle with a banana seat. Her home at 167 rue Viau is about 10 minutes away.  She never makes it home.

IMG_0424Given the location of disappearance – about 10 minutes from where Norma O’Brien was found – police immediately put a helicopter in the air hoping to find Fisher quickly, possibly in the same field off Boule Saint Francis. Fisher is found the day after her disappearance, Tuesday, June 24th by three neighbors of the Fishers who decide to search the surrounding wooded area for the young girl.  Fisher is discovered in an abandoned car in the woods off rue Brisebois.  Police on the scene are Pierre Laroue, Corporal Cyr, and as with the O’Brien case, inspectors from the SQ in Montreal (Yvon Fauchon, Normand Vien, Daniel Duchesne, Gaston Rioux, Louis De Fransisco).  Fisher is found naked, but not sexually assaulted. She died from being beaten on the head with a rock.

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Chateauguay Crime Map

 

With the immediate discovery of the body police catch a lucky break. A man driving a 1970s Buick remembers almost hitting a kid driving a yellow Moped (motocyclette) near the woods where Fisher was discovered on Monday, June 23rd, 1975

Arrest of the “Chateauguay Killer”

IMG_0446Police arrest an 18-year-old man who we will refer to as, MX. At the time of the murders he was 16 and then 17. On July 15th he confessed to the murder of Debbie Fisher. He was tried as a minor, convicted and found guilty on March 21st, 1977. Because he was a minor, a publication ban was put in place barring anyone from printing his name.

IMG_0469Although 40 years have past and I feel somewhat protected down here in the States, I really do not wish to test the zeal of the Canadian criminal courts, hence the name, MX. However, anyone who would like to know his identity need only go to Coolopolis’s post on the Chateauguay Killer, and read the comments. I’m not necessarily saying he’s named there, I’m saying there’s some good information from folks who had first hand experience at that time.

And if you read the comments you will also find a lot of misinformation and rumors that have persisted these past 40 years. Some of that I would like to clear up right now:

  • MX was not the Mayor’s son. The Mayor was Joseph Laberge. MX’s father’s name was Jean Claude. I don’t know how this became an urban myth but it’s not without precedent. In Theresa Allore’s case one of the first whisperings was, “the Mayor’s son did it”, perhaps coming from the fear that power can operate above the law.
  • The yellow Moped was only a factor in the Fisher case, not the O’Brien case. MX had a 1975 model Moped. In ’74 he was still riding a bike.  Where Fisher lived some distance from MX, O’Brien and MX were practically neighbors. MX lived at 249 rue Mountain, about a 10 minute walk, or 4 minute bike ride from 94 Place Lacerne.
  • I am not MX. Just because I know a lot, that doesn’t make me the murderer. I feel sorry for the French guy over on the Coolopolis thread who offered a lot of information. Immediately readers started accusing him of being MX.  The French guy knew the best information because French papers like Allo Police had the best information. Don’t knock a guy for doing his research.
  • And concerning research: MX didn’t rape Fisher, but that was certainly his intention. How do I know? Because I have a copy of his confession. How do I have that you ask? Here’s a tip: When you make public records request you mainly get the information you are requesting. But occasionally additional stuff gets dropped in the file. Someone from the Surete du Quebec accidentally dropped the confession in with some other documents. It’s like a little Easter Egg. Here’s what his confession tells us:
car where Debbie Fisher was found

car where Debbie Fisher was found

MX was coming home from work on his Moped. It was about 6:30 pm. He sees Fisher around rue Saint Luc riding her red bike with the banana seat. She is carrying a bag with a container of milk in it. He passes her. He says “hi”, she says “hi”. He then rides ahead, stashes his Moped in the bushes, sits down on the curb and pretends to cry. When she sees him crying she stops. He says, “Come here a minute”. She does. He grabs her and begins groping her. He tosses the milk in the field. He hits her on the head with a rock. Then he hides her bike in the bushes by a tree. She is unconscious. He takes his pants off. He tries to have sex with her but, for reasons I won’t go into, he can’t. Finally he hits her on the head with all his strength with the rock. He stashes the body in an abandoned car. He rides away on his Moped, almost hitting the 1970 Buick.

 At the time he was dating a young woman named Murielle. He had never seen Fisher before. He claimed to have never had sex before, and this is why he attacked Fisher (We know this to be a lie, he raped O’Brien).

  • Finally, Did MX have access to Montreal? This is an unanswered question that has frequently come up in relation to the Sharon Prior murder, particularly due to the similarities between the O’Brien and Prior crime scenes (the level of violence). In fact, an early article on the Prior case references the question, albeit indirectly:

Police are considering the possibility of a link between the Prior slaying and the slaying of Norma O’Brien in Chateauguay last summer.

How possible could it have been that MX road his little Moped into Montreal? As improbable as it may seem, the answer is, he did it repeatedly, and into Lachine no less, which is very near Pointe Saint-Charles, where Sharron Prior disappeared.

Do I think MX murdered Sharron Prior? No. But I will save my reasons for Part 2.

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Sharron Prior and the “Chateauguay Killer” (Part 2)

I grew up on the island of Montreal in a neighborhood very similar to Chateauguay. New suburbs right on the frontier of development. Mixed neighborhoods, French and English. Pierrefonds was bound by Riviere du Prairies to the north and to the west, and highways to the east and to the south. We would venture out on our bikes and explore areas like Roxboro and Dollard Des Ormeaux. The worst thing I ever saw was a dead dog. In something right out of a Stephen King novel a bunch of us heard there was a dead dog next to the rail tracks down in Roxboro. One Saturday we all set out on foot on those tracks. I remember it took forever and eventually we saw it, resting far down an embankment. Its eye was oozing yellow puss. The whole thing left me feeling sad and empty.

We would hear rumors of kids getting kidnapped or killed, but it was all school yard talk. I never heard of a Chateauguay killer. Though I knew Chateauguay and Laval and Longueuil were to the south and north and east, I had never been there. I would occasionally take the train into downtown, but I never left the island of Montreal unless it was on a vacation with my parents. I suppose my parents knew about these things because they read the newspapers. My dad probably knew about Sharon Prior because he worked in Lachine. I didn’t read papers. The only books I took out of the library were about UFOs, Bigfoot or the Loch Ness monster.

Sharron Prior

 

Sharon Prior

Sharron Prior

 

 

The murder of 16-year-old Sharron Prior happened after the July 9th, 1974 murder of 12-year-old Norma O’Brien, and a little before the June 23, 1975 murder of 14-year-old Debbie Fisher. In an erie twist of fate, Sharron Prior had been following the O’Brien case in the newspapers (If you’re reading this cold, you may want to go back to Part 1 of this piece which is all about O’Brien and Fisher).

IMG_3290

445 Congregation today

 

Sharron disappeared on Saturday evening, March 29th, 1975. She had been at her home at 445 Congregation street in Pointe Saint Charles with friends and family when she decided to go out to meet friends (including her boyfriend) at a local pizza parlor. She left her house around 7:30 pm. She leaves behind her bus pass and money, and declines the offer of a friend to accompany her. Her destination is 5 blocks away, Marina’s Pizza at 2050 Wellington street at the corner of Avenue Ash. She never made it to her destination.

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2050 Wellington street, the site of Marina’s pizza

 

During the initial phase of the disappearance the case falls under the jurisdiction of the Montreal Police, the MUC (Montreal Urban Community). When the body is found off the island of Montreal in Longueuil, the case quickly transfers to the Longueuil police. To the best of my knowledge, Quebec’s provincial police, the Surete du Quebec are never involved.

Discovery of Sharron Prior

Prior crime scene

Prior crime scene

Prior’s body was found just three days later, April 1st, 1975. Prior was found in a field at Chemin du Lac and Guimond blvd. in Longueuil by Jacques Bertrand, a beekeeper. Bertrand, who kept bees on the property, had been told to go check the lock on the gate, someone had observed that it was open.

The first investigators to process the scene were Jean Brais and Guy Alarie, wtih Constable J Leo Gagnon providing a crime scene map. Other investigators to work the case were Pierre Lambert, Louis Lasurre, Raymond Trotier, Pierre Robidas and Pierre Robidoux. The Longueuil police who would continue investigations into the next century were Renault Lacomb, Pierre Robidoux and Jacques Dutrisac. 

Prior had been badly beaten. She had choke marks on her neck. She had choked on her blood. Her nose was broken. The assailant had crushed her chest with his knee. 

Prior was dressed in her suede coat, sweater, shoes and socks. Her pants were about 6 feet away from the body. Her underwear was hanging from a tree. A branch was clutched in her hand. There was blood and branches in her hair. A man’s shirt was found at the scene, detectives concluded that this was used to bind her. A receipt was found at the scene with Sharon’s name on it. A tire mark was observed along with a footprint of a man thought to have weighed about 200 lbs. It was concluded that the loose items were thrown from the window of a vehicle.

The autopsy was performed by Jean Hould. Longueuil police Renault Lacomb and Jacques Dutrisac were both present at the autopsy. Among other things the autopsy concluded:

  1. Sharron Prior had been raped.
  2. the blows to her head were most likely caused by a pointed instrument, maybe a ring.
  3. The partially chewed tape found in her hair meant that Prior was most likely gagged.
  4. Sharon most likely died Tuesday afternoon which would mean she was held captive from Saturday evening through Tuesday morning.

Aftermath

Early on Investigators focused on Frank Daly (aka Gerry Moore) as a suspect. Daly managed Marina’s Pizza.  Persons interviewed in relation to Daly were Ronnie McQuire, Richard Cassive, Maie Anne and Dolores Boucher, the owners of Marina’s Nick and Marina Chionidis, Claude Laporte, John Beaubien, Audry Payne, Anne Benoit, Caroline Smith and Harold Regan. 

Police also interviewed the co-owners of the Longueuil property, Jacques Bertrand and Roger Augry, as well as Raymond Amont who owned adjacent property.  Police interviewed Prior’s boyfriend John McAleer, as well as friends Bryan Victor Morneau, Margaret Neil, Laury Derick and Debbie Cote.

Other initial police suspects included Daniel De Courval, Gerard Jubinville, Laurie Kenneth and Normand Hunt.

Police agents interviewed included Andre Charette, Bertrand Audet, Jacques St Mars (SPCUM), Agent Faucher of SCU St. Hyacinthe, and Sgt Detective Tetrault of Laval.

Other Factors

Sharron Prior and the Chateauguay Killer

We’re going to now circle back to my original trajectory, Sharron Prior and any link to the Chateauguay Killer.

As you can see, there are some similarities between the cases of Sharron Prior and Norma O’Brien. To summarize:

  1. They died roughly 9 months apart, and in a fairly close vicinity. Prior on the Island of Montreal / Longueuil; both regions about a 30 minute drive from  O’brien / Chateauguay.
  2. Both were adolescent girls: O’Brien 12, Prior 16.
  3. Both were raped, savagely beaten, and choked to death in a brutal manner.
  4. As late as 2010 some were still probing a connection between O’Brien and Prior (rather sloppily I might add).

So the question comes up, did the Chateauguay Killer (who we’ve dubbed MX), ever have cause to be in the vicinity of Sharron Prior?

The answer is yes.  According to his confession, in June of 1975, MX was working at Record Tools, Ltd. an 5110 Fairway Ave. in Lachine, Quebec.  His confession reads, 

“The 23 of June 1975… I took my motorbike to go to Lachine, Record Tools, Ltd. in 5110 Fairway Ave, where I work.”

Before anyone gets too excited with this piece of information, there are several obstacles in considering MX as a serious suspect in the Sharron Prior murder:

  1. 5110 Fairway avenue is still a twenty minute drive to Pointe Saint Charles.
  2. That drive would have been made in the winter in late March 1975. You can see from the photos there is still snow on the ground.
  3. The drive would have been made on a Moped. I think everyone would agree that the assailant in the Prior case wasn’t driving a Moped. 
  4. The level of violence inflicted on Norma O’Brien is very formidable for a then 16-year-old, but MX doesn’t quite fit the Prior profile. Simply put: he is too young, too skinny, and he doesn’t wear the  jewelry that could cause the damage borne out by the Prior autopsy (remember the reference to the ring).

Here’s MX from the waist down (in the middle):

IMG_0463

Contrasted with his beefy companions, MX doesn’t have any rings. 

So hopefully this lays to rest any further questions of a connection between the Chateauguay Killer and Sharron Prior.

There is however one troubling piece of information concerning MX and another unsolved murder that needs mentioning. Record Tools, LTD where MX worked is about a 10 minute drive from 890 Lindsay street, where the body of 12-year-old Tammy Leaky was found strangled in 1981.

So where was MX in 1981? Not sure. According to some sources he served very little time for the O’Brien / Fisher murders, and in a minimum security facility. Lot’s of access to day-passes. It’s very conceivable he was let out by 1981.

I’m sure some of you may think, surely after all this time the police would have looked into this? I wouldn’t be too confident. Remember what I said in an earlier post about too much accountability leading to lapses in responsibility. There was already a crowded field in these cases with the Surete du Quebec, Chateauguay, Montreal and Longueuil police all having some involvement. Also remember the lesson of the Quebec Police Commission’s inquiry into Ursula Schulze: no one pursued the victim because everyone assumed someone else was taking care of it.

 

And where is the Chateauguay Killer today? He lives and works in the Montreal area.

—————————-

Postscript: The night before Sharon Prior disappeared, March 28th, 1975, was a full moon.

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So the head of the SQ’s Cold Case unit called me today.

wallet3
The head of the Surete du Quebec’s Cold Case unit called me today. Twice. He then sent me two emails urging me to contact him. I haven’t received an email from the SQ in 10 years. Always a call, nothing documented.

As it turns out, I know the guy. He was one of the first investigators assigned to me 13-years-ago, but he left and studied in the States to become one of the SQ’s first behavioral profilers. Now he’s in charge of the entire unit.

I no longer have an intermediary to go through. Going forward I can go directly to the head of cold cases.

And they’re expanding the cases on their website. First with Theresa’s, then they’re going to add all the other ones.

I though this was going to be a ploy to muzzle me. It wasn’t. He encouraged me to keep writing because he said my website is actually helping. He said if it were him he’d be doing the exact same thing. The best thing I could do was to continue doing what I’m doing.

He asked me what I thought so I gave him my pitch:

I’m not big on unifying theories like serial killers. And at first I wasn’t willing to connect Sherbrooke with Montreal. But Louise Camirand could be connected to Denise Bazinet because:

  1. They were both strangled with a ligature.
  2. They were both missing identification
  3. Richelieu (Bazinet) is not that far from Austin (Camirand)

At this point I was expecting him to tell me Bazinet had been solved years ago. He didn’t. He said, “I have a guy on that case”. Then he mentioned Bazinet had 11 siblings, which is correct, shows he knows what he’s talking about.  I continued:

And Bazinet went missing and lived on the island of Montreal. So this gives reason to investigate all the cases in Montreal and the surrounding areas of Laval and Longueuil. AND Bazinet lived down the street from Lison Blais, whose purse went missing, and may have been recovered at the Camirand site. So back to Camirand. Which also leads to Allore, because Allore’s clothing might have been dumped at that site as well.

“Makes sense”, he said.

It’s the first time I was allowed to openly discuss all these cases, not just Theresa. And we most definitely discussed that purse. He asked that we continue to talk about these crimes.

Some other things, but I want to consider them a bit before I divulge too much.  Overall some good outcomes. We’ll see. 

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Alice Pare / Cédrika Provencher: What’s Past is Prologue

 

Or – less eloquently – Quebec Police: You can’t fix Stupid.

We’re going to go back to some very old cases and see just how little the Quebec police have learned over the last 40 years. We’ll look at the 1971 murder of Alice Pare, then the 1972 murder of Ursula Schulze to shed some light on more recent cases. I am less interested in linking these murders to cases I’ve recently been discussing. I think they serve a greater point in demonstrating the lack of growth in Quebec criminal investigation in the past 40 years.

2015 was quite a year for law enforcement in the United States with questions of accountability and transparency in places like Baltimore and Chicago and Ferguson. There is no reason why this wave shouldn’t transfer itself north of the border to Quebec, not forgetting Fredy Villanueva who’s death trailblazed and foreshadowed  events of last year.

So let’s ride that wave.  First some background:

Alice  Pare

IMG_0317Pare was 14 when she disappeared walking home from a music lesson in Drummondville, Quebec on February 17, 1971. Around 5:30 pm that evening she left the Pavillion de Musique at 466 rue Saint Jean and crossed the street with the intention of using a phone booth to call her mother to pick her up, but she thought better of it and decided to walk the 1/2 mile home to her parents’ at 667 boulevard Mercure.

Pare was missing for 68 days. SQ investigators Aime Allard, M Saint Cyr, and M Bibeau were in charge of the “missing persons” investigation. But while the police were no doubt fumbling around looking for a runaway, the family got it right. Within two weeks of her disappearance her parents were convinced she had been abducted and that her body would be found in the snow.

They were right.

On the morning of April 26, 1971 Three workers (Andre Camirand, Yvon Lampron, Lucien Paquin)  from the farm of Alphege Leclerc on the 3e rang de Sainte-Clothilde de Horton, near Victoriaville, spotted a pair of white boots in a field about 60 feet from the gravel road. When they got closer they discovered the clothed body of Alice Pare lying under a tree.

Called to the scene were detectives Fernand Pepin, Andre Cerutti, Denis Via, Marcel Vigneault, Andre Menard of the Victoriaville Surete du Quebec, and Jacques Gaboury  detached from the SQ headquarters in Montreal. Also on the scene was Dr. Jean-Paul Valcourt of the SQ’s Montreal Laboratoire  Médecine Légale.

Left to right: Jacques Gaboury, Andre Menard , Marcel Vigneault, et Andre Cerutti,

Left to right: Jacques Gaboury, Andre Menard , Marcel Vigneault, et Andre Cerutti,

 

Alice Pare was found fully clothed in her school uniform, her white winter coat had been removed and was near the body. She had been strangled. There was no evidence of sexual assault. Missing was her musical instrument from the day she disappeared, a flute in a black case. The flute was recovered 3 days later next to route 20 between Sainte Clothilde and Saint Albert, about a 10 minute drive from where the body was found.

The case was eventually handed over to Normand Bergeron of SQ Victoriaville, but very little information came forward in the aftermath. Someone claimed they saw Pare getting into a vehicle, a 1970s two door Chevrolet the evening of her disappearance.

IMG_0344

Jump forward to October 28, 1975. Allo Police publishes an article that basically states that the police are fishing for information (“the police learned of certain persons who know the identity of the assassin”). By now the case has been moved to the SQ in Trois Rivieres (if you are counting that  is at least three jurisdictions touching the case) and is now under the command of Raymond Hebert. Hebert expresses the all too familiar SQ refrain that he felt certain that someone would come forward after all these years, but no one ever did. However he believes that things are moving rapidly now. He is certain it will be resolved.

To my knowledge, the case was never solved.

It is curious that the police waited so long to follow up on the case. Why 1975? Perhaps they were getting nervous. Just that Spring 16-year-old Sharon Prior was found brutally murdered in Longeueil. The crime scenes were not dissimilar. Did they sense they were on the brink of something out of control?

Other Factors

Alice Pare came from a very prominent legal family in Quebec.  Her grandfather Joseph Marier was a judge. Her uncle Marcel Marier was a Montreal municipal court judge.  Her other uncle Elphege Marier was a superiour court judge.  Her step-father Paul Chasse was a lawyer in Drummondville. With that kind of clout you’d think there might have been enough influence to bring the matter to justice. Perhaps it speaks to the disconnect between law enforcement and the court system, a dysfunction not uncommon in many places.

Now let’s jump to another case from that era. The murder or Ursula Shulze:

Ursula Schulz

19-year-old Ursula Schulz was abducted at a bus stop in broad daylight the morning of July 13, 1972 in Brossard, Quebec, which is on the South shore of Montreal very near Longueuil. The incident was witnessed by many people who watched a man force Schulze into the back seat of a car, pin her down and attack her, and then quickly drive away across the Champlain Bridge into Montreal (you can read the article here – many thanks to Dale for bringing this to my attention).

Incredibly, no police agency pursues the matter. Schulze’s body is found the next day. She had been strangled.

An inquiry is called. The following year the Quebec Police Commission, who had oversight of all police forces, issues its report. While praising the efforts of on-the-ground constables the report faulted the force director Marcel Renauld and his Assistant Director Paul-Emile Blain for “”learning nothing” from the incident and failing to instruct force members on how to handle major crimes.”. The report goes on to say, “…the “off-hand” manner of force superiors, coupled with the ignorance of force members on procedures and how to use regional communications system, severely hampered the investigation.”

Hold on. It gets better. In fact, I think I need to quote the whole thing:

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

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

… The QPP were informed of the kidnapping 18 hours after it occurred.

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

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

The girl’s father testified that when he visited police headquarters the day of the kidnapping, he was told by Director Renaud that the criminal investigation branch had no time to investigate the kidnapping because they were occupied “with more important matters.””

I know. What a fuck up, right?

Ready for the punchline? Despite the lack of communication. Despite the QPP not being informed. The QPP beat Renaud, Blain and the rest of the Brossard force to the crime scene.

So what was the outcome?

Well I can tell you that shortly thereafter there was a wave of consolidation of regional Quebec forces. Most, like Lennoxville and Coaticook, got swallowed up under the umbrella of the Surete du Quebec. Brossard was merged with the Longeueil police: You need only talk to the family of Sharon Prior to understand their special brand of dysfunction.

Quite seriously, lack of communication very clearly was the issue, especially in the initial phases of a missing persons investigation. One would have hoped the Quebec Police Commission would have made recommendations to address this failure.

So did they? Apparently not. As I am sure you are by now all aware this case (and that of Alice Pare) sounds very familiar.

Let’s jump forward to July 31st, 2007. 9-year-old Cédrika Provencher disappears one afternoon from her neighborhood in Trois Rivieres, and while the police merely declare that she is “missing”, the media believe she has been kidnapped. Despite reports that Cédrika was seen with a man searching for his lost dog, despite overwhelming evidence that she had been abducted, over a week later, on  August 8th, the Sûreté du Québec issued a wanted notice for Cédrika, suggesting that she had voluntarily run away.

36 years after Alice Pare, 35 years after Ursula Schulze. The Quebec police had learned absolutely nothing.

In fact one of the initial outcomes of the Provencher disappearance was a concerted effort by people like Senator Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu to call on the Surete du Quebec to create a special squad to deal with missing persons in the first 48-hours of disappearance so that communication errors like this didn’t happen again.

Wait a minute. Back up. Shouldn’t that have been an outcome of the Schulze inquiry?

——————-

Let’s look again at the Pare case.

Look I am all for redundancy, everyone needs a back-up. But in my experience too much oversight means no one is accountable or responsible for anything. How many investigators does it take for the Quebec police to solve a murder? How many investigators  were called to the Pare crime scene? I counted at least seven. Here is a photo of the body recovery from the Pare site (I will spare you the more graphic photos, I have them. Very disturbing) .  it looks like a football scrum:

Pare

Pare

And here is a photo from the recovery site of Provencher’s remains:

cedrika

The SQ might think the public is impressed with this, but please believe, it doesn’t give me a warm-and-fuzzy. All I see is evidence being trampled and destroyed by a bunch of amateurs who don’t know a thing about criminal investigation.

———

Now this is the part where someone tries to tell me I just don’t get it. I don’t get police culture. I don’t understand Quebec police culture. I just don’t get it. They are working hard. Very hard. They’ve changed. Just trust us, we’ve changed.

Did you think I was sitting idle these past 13 years? I was biding my time, raising my children. Waiting. Just hoping the Quebec police would do something right – and we all knew they would fall back on old habits – before I spoke out again.

Oh I get it, man. I’ve been working with police forces for over a decade in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario. I got my Masters in Public Administration, with a focus on Justice Administration. I’ve read all the literature. I’ve worked with police here in Durham every day for the past 17-years. I know all about deployment, patrol, community policing, crime abatement… all of it. I help budget $50 million annually in police salaries, I get it.

And every police agency I talk to? They think the Quebec police are a laughing-stock. A complete joke. Remember that book, Criminal Investigative Failures?  For the last 2 months its been passed around the criminal investigative unit of the Durham police force. Know why?

  1. Because they actually think they could learn something from it.
  2. They can’t believe the incompetence of the Quebec police.

So I know police. Basically there are two types of police officers:

  1. Those that are dedicated and do their jobs.
  2. Those that ride the promotion gravy train, padding their pensions until retirement. Doing the least amount of work possible.

Quebec law enforcement has an overabundance of category 2. And with a powerful union that empowers and enables this behavior. We all know it. So let’s just say it.

———–

I want to return one final time to the Pare case. Remember when I said I wasn’t interested in linking these cases to the portfolio of cases I’ve been looking at (Allore, Camirand, Monast, etc…)?

Well maybe.

Alice Pare is definitely of interest to a case like Sharon Prior in terms of it’s proximity in time (1971 and 1975), and proximity in victim age (14 and 16). Ursula Schulze is also of interest to Prior in terms of the proximity in time (1972 and 1975), but also the proximity of location (Brossard which is adjacent to Longueuil). By the way, none of what I am disclosing is news to Yvonne Prior, the mother of Sharon Prior. She’s been tracking this for years in a paper file (which she’s shown me), she simply doesn’t have a website.

I’ve thought a lot about the Pare murder. Was this a test case by the perpetrator for things to follow? There are many similarities. 

  1. Found in wooded area: Allore, Prior, Camirand, Houle, Dorion, Dube
  2. Partially clothed (or clothing removed but close to body): Prior, Dube, Camirand, Bazinet
  3. Missing identification: Camirand, Monast, Hawkes, Blais, Allore, Basinet
  4. Identification tossed by roadside: Allore

So what is Pare’s identification? Her flute is her identification:

Flute and case, Alice Pare

Flute and case, Alice Pare

 

Think about it.  

I’ll give you an example. I have a daughter a little older than Alice Pare. She has a wallet because she has things to carry in it: Drivers license, debit card. The wallet has a little monkey on it. 

Now I also have a daughter a little younger than Alice Pare. She does not have a purse or wallet. What she does have is a saxophone and case which she carries with her every day to school. When I’m driving home if I want to distinguish her from all the other kids let out of school, I look for the sax case. It is her identification.

This is similar to Provencher and her bike. Provencher (9) is separated from her bike. The bike is found later leaning against a fire hydrant. Elizabeth Bodzy (14) and Claudette Poirier (15) are also separated from their bikes, which are found some distance from the site of disappearance or remains. And not forgetting the very practical fact that a bike is cumbersome, you don’t take it with you. It at least gives you some indication of where the victim was abducted.

Like other victims, perhaps the perpetrator separated Alice Pare from an easy means to identify her, he discarded the flute case several miles from where he disposed of the body. 

The more I think of this, I believe it has less to do with evading capture and more to do with depersonalizing the crime. Identification is symbolic and powerful.

Some things to ponder. More than the police ever offered.

 

 

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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.

———————————

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:

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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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