Hundreds of Unsolved Quebec Murders

I want to clarify something from the Sherbrooke Record article:

“While he is one of eight families pushing for a public inquiry into unsolved crimes, Allore said that there are easily 30 cold cases from the 70s and 80s in Quebec alone.”


That number is more like 150 unsolved cold cases from the 70s and 80s for the Surete du Quebec alone (we’re not counting Longeueil, Laval, SPVM or any of the other municipalities). Let me explain:

For the 30 year period from 1976-2005 the Surete du Quebec had a total of 1,245 homicides, with a homicide clearance rate of about 80%. (all of this is from StatsCan: click here) That equates to approximately 250 unsolved homicides for the thirty year period. Two-thirds of that is 165, so let’s say 165 cold cases for the Surete du Quebec from the 70s and 80s.

If you factor in all other decades and all other jurisdictions, you’re probably looking at a number well over 1,000. The Surete du Quebec currently has 31 cold-cases posted on their website, nowhere near the proper representation of unsolved murders.

I didn’t express myself very well when explaining this to Matthew McCully. I was making a connection at Laguardia, and so I was a little bit frazzled. Here is where the number 30 came from:

It is true that there are currently 8 families petitioning Quebec’s Minister of Public Security, Martin Coiteux for an inquiry into the mishandling of cold-cases in Quebec. I said we probably needed more like 30 families represented before the Minister started to hear our demande, and that that was probably the maximum number of families we would ever be able to find (though I think the number of mismanaged cases falls more in line with the total number of cases = they mismanaged all of them).

Here’s why I only think we can find 30 cold-cases:

It is extremely hard to track down these investigations:

  1. First, you have to find the historical crime.
  2. You need to establish that the crime remains unsolved.
  3. For items one and two above, don’t even bother going to the police: they won’t tell you anything.
  4. Once you establish that there is in fact a cold-case, you need to find the families. This can be particularly challenging. In most cases the parents of the victim are now dead. Your best bet is if the victim had a brother, you have at least a good shot of tracking them down because they shared the same last name. If it’s a sibling sister? They get married, so they no longer share the same name. If the victim was an only-child? Forget it: everyone has died = case closed = it will never be solved.
  5. Even if you get beyond all the obstacles presented in item 4, the family has to be willing to participate. In many cases families have moved on. They would just as soon forget about the whole thing than take on the Quebec justice establishment.

Given all these factors, this is why I said it was realistic that we would only be  able to find about a maximum of 30 names  to join in a petition to Minister of Public Security, Martin Coiteux.



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