Eric Volmers, Calgary Herald / Oct 09, 2020
John Allore realizes his story has an irresistible hook for journalists: A grieving brother, unconvinced of the official story about his sister’s mysterious death, spends decades obsessively searching for the truth.
Allore understands it’s a dramatic angle. But, in an interview with Postmedia from his home in North Carolina, he makes it quite clear that he has grown weary of it. It’s old news and he thinks it’s time to move on and dig deeper into the findings presented in thebook he wrote with former National Post columnist Patricia Pearson about his older sister Theresa Allore’s death. This story and its ramifications, he says, go far beyond one little brother’s grief.
“I appreciate sympathy but we consider this a serious piece of investigative journalism or writing,” says Allore, co-writer of Wish You Were Here: A Murdered Girl, A Brother’s Quest and the Hunt for a Serial Killer. “So far, the response has been ‘A grieving brother’s search for the truth’ and this sort of thing. I’m way past that. In terms of … closure or whatever you want to call it, I made amends with my sister’s death. It’s been 43 years. What I’m talking about is the failure of a justice system that spans across the country. I’d love to discuss that.”
Allore and Pearson’s investigation certainly reveals some startling missteps and shoddy investigative work by several agencies throughout the country. But the biggest bombshell in the book is that they believe they uncovered the brutal crimes of a previously unknown serial killer named Luc Yolande Gregoire. Gregoire died in prison in 2015 after being convicted of only one murder: the 1993 sex slaying of Calgary convenience store worker Lailanie Silva.
But after consulting criminologists, cold-case detectives and witnesses and poring over Corrections Canada and parole board reports, the pair were able to trace Gregoire’s movements from Quebec’s Eastern Townships into Alberta and find compelling evidence that seems to link him to several murders. Allore believes he killed at least five women in Quebec, including his sister. In Calgary, he believes Gregoire killed not only Silva but also Rebecca Boutilier, 20, in early 1993 and Tracey Maunder, 26, in 1992. Both murders have never officially been solved.
“Those are the two that Calgary Police also feel strongly point toward Gregoire,” says Allore, who will join Pearson for an online book launch Oct. 15 organized by Owl’s Nest Books. “But there were many from that era, from 1991 to 1993, known as the Calgary prostitute murders, and I think he is (possibly responsible) for at least another four.”
Allore and Pearson officially began their investigation in 2001. That was when Allore, who had recently moved to North Carolina, contacted Pearson regarding writing about his sister’s death in Quebec. In 1978, Theresa Allore was 19 and studying at Champlain College in Quebec’s Eastern Townships. Her brother was 14 and living with his family in Saint John, N.B. In November, Theresa went missing. In April, her body was found a kilometre from Compton, Que., where she was living in an off-campus residence. She was found in her bra and panties and there was no trace of drugs in her system, but police shrugged it off as a drug overdose and refused to investigate further.
John Allore and Pearson had dated in New Brunswick when they were teenagers so she was already familiar with the case. They had gone their separate ways, but by 2001 Pearson had become a renowned journalist and true-crime author. The two collaborated on a National Post series about Theresa’s death. The path to Gregoire began when they consulted criminologist Kim Rossmo. He is a former Vancouver police officer who pioneered a technique called geo-profiling, which maps the local pathways of serial offenders. He was asked to look at a series of unsolved killings, including Theresa’s, in Quebec’s Eastern Township. Rossmo said he believed the deaths were linked. Later, the pair consulted another criminologist, Simon Fraser University’s Eric Beauregard, who had profiled dozens of incarcerated, violent, sexual offenders who had been active in Quebec during that time. They asked him if he knew of anyone whose profile would fit.
“He said ‘Yeah, there’s this one guy I think you should look at and his name is Luc Gregoire,’ ” Allore says. “We realized he had committed this murder in Calgary. So we began to focus on that.”
Allore and Pearson traced Gregoire’s movements to Edmonton, where he was incarcerated for armed robbery, and later to Calgary, where he worked as a roofer. After the murder of Silva, an internal inquiry was conducted by Corrections Canada that tracked Gregoire’s movements in and out of the parole system throughout the 1980s and early 1990s until his arrest for Silva’s murder. Her family later sued the federal government for negligence when it was discovered Gregoire should have been in prison for violating parole when he abducted and murdered the 22-year-old woman.
Two years ago, Pearson went to Calgary to further the investigation, where she received new information from Gregoire’s former landlady who had been a crucial witness in the Silva case. Allore and Pearson would eventually consult with Calgary cold-case detective Ken Carriere about that murder, but also about suspicions of Gregoire’s involvement in other Calgary killings between 1991 and 1993. For Pearson, the Calgary side of the investigation is a “slam dunk.”
“There is no question in my mind that he killed at least three women in Calgary,” she says, adding she is confident the Calgary cases will now be revisited by police.
For Allore, that would certainly be a victory. But he hopes the conversation goes deeper.
“Calgary Police, the RCMP, the Surete du Quebec, the Montreal Police Force, Corrections Canada, parole and all the way up to the justice ministers of Quebec and the minister of public safety and security in Quebec — all of these agencies are what we’re talking about,” he says. “There’s something fundamentally wrong when they say ‘One of the problems we had was that all of Gregoire’s early parole decisions were in French and we don’t speak French.’ I mean, this was the 1990s. I might accept a little of that in the ’70s, but I don’t accept this in the 1990s.”
Allore eventually sent a note to Gregoire in prison, who responded with a vague handwritten letter in which he stated he had nothing to do with Theresa’s death. But it’s a claim Allore doesn’t believe. While he dislikes the word closure, he says he is now confident he knows who was responsible for his sister’s death back in 1978.
“I asked the question to Eric Beauregard, who is an expert on sexual murder and who is an expert on Luc Gregoire because he profiled him. I put the question to him and his response was this: ‘It is statistically improbable that Luc Gregoire did not commit these murders.’ ”
Wish You Were Here: A Murdered Girl, A Brother’s Quest and the Hunt for a Serial Killer. John Allore and Patricia Pearson will hold a virtual book launch organized by Owl’s Nest Books on Oct. 15 and 7 p.m. Visit owlsnestbooks.com