Who Were These Men / The Yorkshire Ripper – WKT4 #18

The Yorkshire Ripper

This is a crossover podcast episode. You can listen to the second half with Chantelle over at her podcast Lady Justice:


Agence France-Presse – Jack l’eventeur – 10 fevrier 1978

“LONDON (AFP) – A woman may be the mysterious assassin who, like Jack the Ripper, killed and maimed seven people, including six prostitutes, in twenty-seven months in Yorkshire. Local newspapers reported on Thursday that psychiatrists asked to paint a psychological portrait of the killer believe he may be female. The experts formulate two hypotheses on this subject:

Either it is a homosexual struck by a psychopathy which causes him to attack the prostitutes because of their relations with the men.

Or it is a heterosexual woman, suffering from intermittent schizophrenic insanity that results in outbursts of unleashed violence.

Either way, whether the murderer is a man or a woman, psychiatrists judge that we are dealing with an individual of above average intelligence, outside of their times of crisis.”

Wilma McCann
Rebecca Boutilier
Peter Sutcliffe

The 13 known murder victims

Ripper who stalks ‘good-time girls’

First Ripper story in Sherbrooke’s La Tribune newspaper ten weeks after Theresa Allore’s body is found on April 13th, 1979

The Take Back The Night marches

1982 Montreal Take Back The Night march

Montreal 1987 Take Back The Night march
10th anniversary march with emphasis on the 14 mass murder victims at Ecole Polytachnique

By 2016 the marches evolved into The Night Is Not Enough

Resting Place

The following appeared in The Sherbrooke Record on Thursday, November 26, 2020 as part of the Lennoxville & District Women’s Centre’s series, 12 Days Of Action To End Violence Against Women:

On a recent trip to the Eastern Townships I stayed at the Paysanne motel in Lennoxville. Today the Paysanne looks like an accessory you’d buy for your Lionel train diorama. There’s a woodcut map of Quebec in the foyer that appears to have hung there for the last forty years. That’s actually the last time I set foot in the place, that November when my sister, Theresa Allore went missing. The following spring, after the snow melted, she was found murdered in a ditch.

On this visit I took a trip to the St. Michel cemetery, the “French” cemetery, as a friend referred to it, resting across the Saint Francois River from downtown Sherbrooke. It is winter, but mild. Wet snow falls on the markers. Walking through the torn up asphalt laneways I have to sidestep many icy puddles. St. Michel provides a tranquil coda for the violence that took place in the late 1970s and early ’80s in the region. There you’ll find the last resting place of Manon Dube and Louise Camirand, both now correctly
identified as Sherbrooke unsolved murders by the Surete du Quebec. Angels and crosses adorn their markers. In death they lie kitty-corner from each other a few feet across a gravel road from two identical triangular plots. Jacques Turcotte is there. The 22-year-old was found on the Lennoxville golf course after the spring thaw in 1979. Jacques was last seen at the Bishop’s Pub that winter, and the QPF quickly determined he probably froze to death, though few believe it was the snow that killed Jacques Turcotte. A few markers down from Turcotte is the plot of the Couture family. Their daughter, Nicole’s name is marked, though there is no date of death. Nicole is still living, though in the winter of 1981 she was brutally attacked by Luc Gregoire in a downtown Sherbrooke parking lot. Luc Gregoire – now deceased – is suspected of the murders of Manon Dube and Louise Camirand. In 1993 he was finally arrested for the Calgary murder of Lailanie Silva. And the Gregoires are in this cemetery too, his parents
not far from the Couture family plot.

All of these people laid out within short proximity of each other, like pages from a Spoon River Anthology, the Edgar Lee Masters poems that weave a tapestry of lives and losses in a small town community.

Switch to a different cemetery. We are now in southern Ontario. It is summer, sunny and humid. I am at the foot of my sister’s grave though the inscription on the marker clearly instructs me not to be here:

“Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.”

It is Saturday morning, and a group of seniors are busy pruning and sprucing up the adjacent garden. The garden is beautiful, and quite out of place in what is otherwise a fairly bland spot with an overlook of the Trans-Canada Highway. An old woman approaches. She tells me they come every weekend, she takes special care to always attend to Theresa’s gravestone. She tells me she knew my mother, they went to grade school together. Does my mother know she does this, I ask. No, it’s a service, she replies.

A quick text to a friend whose daughter was also sexually assaulted and murdered in Sherbrooke in 2002. “Pierre, why isn’t Julie buried at the St. Michel Cemetery?”. A text back, “She is buried in the English cemetery, because it has more trees and is near the river.” This response is remarkably similar to my mother’s answer when asked why Theresa is buried next to the 401, “Because it’s high on a hill, she can look at things.”


The Tale of Mr. Morton – WKT4 / #16

The Tale of Mr. Morton

In the book Wish You Were Here, Patricia Pearson and I raise the question whether Luc Gregoire – the offender with a violent criminal history in Sherbrooke who went on to murder in Calgary – was possibly forced out of the Eastern Townships area. Did someone or some party decide that Gregoire was just too big a problem for Sherbrooke and push him out of town, leaving him to become someone else’s problem?

Gargoyle from Saint John Customs House

At a book event in the Eastern Townships in September I started the evening by reading a story from the Sherbrooke Record warning parents and children to be vigilant in the wake of a series of indecent exposure incidents that occurred in the Lennoxville area in the fall of 1978.

Lennoxville Crossroads / Bill Morton

That September 26, 1978 article from  The Sherbrooke Record became a  sort of precursor to everything bad that transpired in the area the following winter.

What I didn’t say was that the piece was written by Bill Morton, who at the time penned a weekly talk-of-the-town sort of column for The Record titled Crossroads. Morton claimed to be an ordained minister ( though in newsprint he’s only ever referred to as “Mr. Morton”). During the day he studied theology at Bishop’s University. At night he worked at an institution for the “mentally disabled” near Dixville, Quebec, about 20 kilometers directly south of Compton.

A summary of Bill Morton’s work – 1978-79

On October 4th Bill’s “Parting Thought” was “The worst crook is the one who betrays our trust”

On October 12th he writes, “Note.. I can see no good reason to abolish our police force to hire what would probably be poorer quality protection. However, some people might be afraid of what a police force dedicated to this town, might dig up “.

In December he managed a brief address of Theresa’s case, “In the fall Champlain student Theresa Allore disappeared. Her parents still pray for her return, although police admit they’re totally stymned. (sic)”

Commenting on the annual town council open meeting in January 1979, Bill writes that “Alderman Robert Calder reported on the achievements of both the police and the fire department ; all agreed that both departments were doing a fine job.”

In late February Bill pens a column railing against the perils of drugs and prostitution, praising the work of public safety, “through no fault of the police”. He is widely criticized for it, with one letter to the editor accusing him of being a “crackpot”.

By March Bill is skipping columns.

In April, he celebrates the first anniversary of his Crossroads column ending with this ominous proverb: “A malicious man disguises himself with his lips, but in his heart he harbors deceit.” It is his final Crossroads column.

The Event – April 27, 1979

On Friday, April 27th, 1979 “Reverend” Morton attacked his supervisor at the Dixville home for the handicapped. According to the victim’s daughter who related the story to me years later, Morton entered the kitchen of the facility clutching a rolling pin behind his back.


When the victim asked what he was doing with the rolling pin, Bill replied he was going to bang apart some frozen orange juice in the freezer. When the woman turned to leave, Morton grabbed her by the arm and said “I have to do this”. He then beat her about the head with the rolling pin and began to strangle her until she was unconscious.

The daughter recounted how The Record wrote an article about the incident, “but failed to identify Bill because they felt sympathetic to him.”

“What happened to my mother was brushed aside with a shrug… Oh, she’ll get over it…”

Prior to the attack Bill had actually discussed my sister, Theresa’s case with the supervisor. Theresa had only recently been found in a ditch in Compton on April 13th, 1979. Bill’s remark was that “she had probably deserved it”, which surprised the woman as she was under the belief he was a minister.

I tracked down the Sherbrooke Record article and it is a sight to behold. It’s authored by Jim Duff, a long time reporter for The Record and then The Montreal Gazette, who is currently a municipal councillor for Heights East,  Town of Hudson, Quebec.

Bill Morton article

Far from being an account of a brutal attack on an unsuspecting victim, it is a cry-for-help plea for the perpetrator , and a complete defense of the offending Bill Morton, all of it protecting his identity and never disclosing his name. Duff begins the piece – a very lengthy column titled: “Care for the carers: It’s about time” – as follows:

“A friend and former colleague of mine who works at a local home for the handicapped went berserk last week and attacked his supervisor.”

Duff goes on to say how Morton was charged with murder and taken to the psychiatric wing of the Sherbrooke hospital to determine if he was mentally capable of standing trial.

A friend of Morton’s summarized the situation to The Record this way:

“———– just had a break ­ down, ” said Vera Simons, a close friend of the couple, asking that we keep names out of it. “Their friends all know about it anyway and it ’s no business of anybody else’s. There should be more concern for people in a stressful kind of job. We can get together as a group of friends but we wish there was some kind of structure, some kind of leader”

The personnel director of the Dixville home, Tom Robinson elaborated:

“ What sets a guy off suddenly? This isn’t an easy job for somebody who is sensitive and gets involved with the kids. His wife’s pregnant and I understand he’s building a new house. He works nights to put himself through Bishops; I believe he’s interested in theology. He was taking on an awful lot.”

Concerning the victim, Robinson had this to say:

“We feel very strongly for him. but between him and his supervisor, his damages are the more serious. Her cuts and bruises will heal in a month or two. But what he did will keep coming back for years. ”

Duff continues:

“While the supervisor collects workman’s compensation for suffering a job-induced injury, there is no such provision in ——– *s case,”

As stated, Morton was assessed as to his mental ability to stand trial. But no trial appears to have ever taken place. There is never any mention of Bill Morton in the Township papers again. Morton simply disappears.

And you might say, so what’s the problem with that? Different times. We weren’t sensitive to victims back then. The guy had a bad spell. He was under stress, he tipped. His friends helped him. Good that they kept things quiet. Good they kept his name out of the papers.

Well that was the end of Sherbrooke’s problem, but it wasn’t the end of Bill Morton. He moved on to another province, New Brunswick.

In November 2015 Morton – by then an actual, ordained minister at Christ Church in St. Stephen, New Brunswick – assaulted a woman in his parish with whom he had been having a four year extra-marital affair. Threatened with the termination of their relationship, Morton showed up at her home and cut her breasts and abdomen with the box cutter, ranting he would “skin her alive”  Then came a second assault in December 2015 when Morton attacked her again and tried to slit her throat.

Similar to the 1979 Sherbrooke incident, Morton was ordered to undergo a 30-day psychiatric assessment. He later pleaded not guilty in Saint John provincial court to two counts of assault with a weapon, but later changed his plea to guilty. He was handed two 15-month conditional sentences, essentially a soft house arrest that stipulated he attend a rehabilitation program and counseling, abstain from alcohol, and report to a parole supervisor. Cynthia Mae Moore eventually sued Morton, the Anglican Church of Canada, the Anglican Diocese of Fredericton and the Anglican Parish of St. Stephen.

Bill Morton’s “damage was more serious”. He should have been confronted by the people of the Eastern Townships at the moment the problem presented itself so that one more woman wouldn’t have to suffer abuse, intimidation and violence.

The “Provincial Lunatic Asylum” at St. John, New Brunswick


In her new book, Patricia Pearson partners with the brother of a 1978 murder victim to investigate the crime


Patricia Pearson’s latest book is Wish You Were Here: A Murdered Girl, A Brother’s Quest and the Hunt for a Serial Killer.

In the new book Wish You Were Here: A Murdered Girl, A Brother’s Quest and the Hunt for a Serial Killer, Canadian journalist and author Patricia Pearson and her former boyfriend, John Allore, partner to investigate the mysterious slaying of John’s sister Theresa in Quebec in 1978. The book is an examination of institutional police callousness, indifference toward sexual-assault victims and the huge popularity of the true-crime genre.

Your research led you to a particular understanding of Quebec in the 1970s: “The clear and unsurprising prospect that there were multiple sex offenders roaming the unlit roads of the Townships, taking advantage of police indifference.” Why were police so indifferent?

That was a big question we were trying to figure out. John, when he was doing his master’s degree in criminal-justice administration, discovered that the origins of policing had come out of property protection in England. [The police] didn’t have any institutional tradition of human rights protection. They also came out of a tradition where women’s sexuality and women’s vulnerability was completely, shockingly misunderstood.

We’re still struggling with how we police crimes of sexual violence. What do you think have been the most productive changes since the 1970s?

Probably the most significant changes would be the influx of women into policing and the changes in criminal law so that rape can be understood to be not just penetration with a male organ. That was the heart of the problem with Luc Gregoire [a rapist and murderer who Pearson and Allore believe may have been responsible for Theresa’s death. He died in prison in 2015]. He was able to get away with such violence because it was not technically a physical rape. Instead, he was accused of indecent assault. So you have a constant underestimation of the dangerousness of these men. And then there was the cultural change around allowing recalcitrant offenders to just be moved jurisdiction to jurisdiction, sort of like Catholic priests.

Do you think Gregoire was responsible for the death of Theresa and other women?

I think so. It’s important to be able to separate in one’s mind the commonality of sexual violence versus the rarity of sexual murder. That’s the point the criminal psychologist I was consulting kept trying to drill into my head – the statistical probability that there was more than one sexual murderer operating in Quebec in that time frame was so low. Working with the probabilities, I feel comfortable saying it was him.

One of the recurring themes is the police forces’ lack of transparency, even with the families of the victims.

What’s hard for people to understand sometimes is that it’s not just the injury of the murders themselves, it’s the injury of the institutional indifference to those murders for the families. John has been motivated over the last 40 years to the point of obsession in large part because he wants acknowledgement of his parents’ humiliation and pain. Almost more so than he wants to solve the case. In his mind, his enemy is the SQ [Surete du Quebec]. Families of murder victims tend to get injured doubly, by police indifference, by institutional ass-covering, sometimes by media exploitation, also by people’s tendency to want to feel like it couldn’t happen to them or their kids, so they “other” it. You know, he shouldn’t have taken drugs, she shouldn’t have been hitchhiking.

You examine the huge popularity of the true-crime genre and the gulf between the fans and the actual experience of the victims’ families. Why are people so obsessed with true crime? Do people understand what the real-life repercussions are?

It’s very clear to me that people don’t understand the reality of crime, the messiness and indignity of the violence. Somehow there’s a parlour-game aspect to true-crime consumption. It’s almost like how soldiers are valourized but people don’t understand what they saw on the battlefield. The really abiding mystery is why the overwhelming consumers of true crime are also the victims – that’s women. It’s really a striking disproportionality of women who are interested in violent men from the point of view of reading about their tales. I’d love to see someone do a PhD on the psychology of women consuming true crime.

What about the other families you talked to, whose loved ones were victims? Was there a common thread in what they told you?

Yes, it was this sense that they were othered. They found themselves in a position where they had a victimized family member, and instead of getting sympathy, they got people backing away and saying it must have been the fault of the victim. Also, all of these families had a similar reaction from the SQ. Almost all have had evidence thrown out and had to deal with indifference and paper-shuffling.

What are the takeaways for the reader?

For people who have read the book, it’s stirred up a lot of anger and rage, particularly for women. But I don’t want to leave them with this sputtering sense of anger about the system. We have to go into a dialogue with institutions about how they need to go beyond their first impulse of institutional self-protection. How are we supposed to move beyond this constant frustration of marginalized groups – with sex workers, with Indigenous women – if we can’t get the institutions to stop the impulse to cover their own ass and start listening?


Le meurtre non élucidé de Theresa Allore : Une filière fermée froidement

Trois semaines après la disparition de Theresa Allore, le chef de police de Lennoxville, Léo Hamel, était arrivé à lier l’affaire à celle du meurtre de Louise Camirand, survenu un an plus tôt. Puis un article a été publié dans le Journal de Montréal, qui a rapidement tué l’enquête dans l’œuf.

(Note : Cette publication a été rédigée à partir de l’information contenue dans le livre Wish You Were Here. Elle est protégée par le droit d’auteur chez Penguin Random House et par les conditions de ce website.)

  • Traduction par Micheline Lampron.

Léo Hamel a presque bien compris. Debout sur l’accotement d’un chemin près de Austin, au Québec, flanqué d’un chien policier du nom de Rex fouillant les broussailles, Hamel était convaincu que les réponses à la disparition de Theresa Allore, 19 ans se trouvaient là, dans les boisés des Cantons-de-l’Est où, 18 mois plus tôt, Louise Camirand, âgée de 20 ans, avait été découverte dans la neige, dénudée et étranglée à l’aide d’un lacet de botte. On était à la fin de novembre. Hamel, vêtu d’un coupe-vent léger, savait qu’il y avait encore du temps pour retrouver le corps de Theresa, avant que la neige s’intensifie et diffère toute possibilité de la retrouver – ou de résoudre l’affaire – avant le printemps.

C’était aussi pour Hamel une bonne occasion d’obtenir un peu de publicité. Il était accompagné d’un journaliste de Photo Police, un imprimé apparenté à Allo Police, le tabloïd québécois consacré aux affaires criminelles (« true crime »). Le journaliste avait hâte que Hamel lui explique ce qu’il faisait à Austin, à 55 kilomètres, soit environ une heure de route, du lieu où Theresa avait été vue pour la dernière fois à Lennoxville.

Le raisonnement de Hamel était solide. Theresa entretenait de bonnes relations avec ses amis et sa famille. Elle n’avait pas de problèmes financiers. Après qu’elle a disparu, les 1000 dollars qui se trouvaient dans son compte de banque sont restés intacts. Une fugue aurait sûrement vidé son compte de banque. Ce qui inquiétait le plus Hamel était l’habitude de Theresa de faire du stop. Elle en avait d’ailleurs fait la fin de semaine précédant sa disparition, pour aller rendre visite à des amis de Montréal.

Photo Police, 2 décembre 1978

Hamel a alors exposé ce qu’il a appelé « l’hypothèse la plus vraisemblable » : Theresa a accepté de monter dans la voiture de quelqu’un, une personne sans scrupules, un maniaque sexuel, et cette personne l’a attaquée, tuée et laissée sans vie dans les bois environnant Lennoxville. En fait, c’est exactement ce qui est arrivé à Camirand, a souligné l’homme. Prise en stop à Sherbrooke, elle a été « violée, tuée et abandonnée dans un dépotoir à proximité d’Austin ».

Fait encore plus troublant : le 4 novembre 1978, soit le lendemain de la disparition de Theresa, à moins de 500 mètres du dépotoir situé près d’Austin, des chasseurs avaient trouvé des vêtements correspondant à la description de ceux que Theresa portait lorsqu’elle a été vue la dernière fois (une blouse et des pantalons). C’est pour cette raison que Hamel avait roulé 55 kilomètres jusqu’au chemin Giguère bordant le lac Memphrémagog. Il avait décortiqué cela par lui-même, en deux semaines à peine depuis que Theresa avait été portée disparue, le 10 novembre 1978.

Photo Police, 2 décembre 1978

Hamel a dit au journaliste du Photo Police, François Dowd, comment il en était venu à demander l’aide de la police provinciale, la Sûreté du Québec, laquelle avait de grandes ressources pour mener une enquête aussi complexe. Hamel, âgé de 45 ans, faisait carrière dans les forces de l’ordre. Il avait été chef du service de police des petites municipalités de Omerville et Sawyerville. Il avait à peine neuf mois de service dans le corps de police de Lennoxville, composé de neuf hommes, et n’avait jamais travaillé sur le cas d’une personne disparue. La Sûreté du Québec a rejeté la demande de Hamel, en disant que jusque-là l’affaire était considérée comme une « simple disparition », puisqu’il n’y avait pas de corps.

Ils avaient peut-être raison, après tout. La Sûreté du Québec, c’était elle l’expert, comptant une escouade entière consacrée à des crimes majeurs, comme les meurtres. Hamel était juste le chef de police d’une petite ville, récemment nommé à ce poste.

Néanmoins, la neige s’installerait bientôt…

François Dowd publia son article dans l’édition du samedi 2 décembre 1978 du Photo Police. Avant Noël, le Journal de Montréal sortit un tout autre texte.

Journal de Montreal – UNE HISTOIRE DE DROGUE

En grand titre et lettres majuscules, on pouvait lire : DISPARITION MYSTÉRIEUSE : UNE HISTOIRE DE DROGUE? Même une personne ne parlant que l’anglais peut en déchiffrer la signification. Mais la traduction précise peut être épineuse. Cela peut être interprété ainsi : “Disparition mystérieuse, l’histoire d’une toxicomane?” Mais ça peut aussi signifier : “Disparition mystérieuse, une affaire de drogue?”

L’article commence ainsi : « Le chef de police de Lennoxville, M. Léo Hamel, se demande si la disparition de la jeune fille de 19 ans, Theresa Allore, ne pourrait pas être liée à la drogue ». Il se poursuit avec l’affirmation suivante : « Hamel a redoublé d’efforts dans cette enquête, et cela l’a mené à chercher de façon plus particulière dans l’univers de la drogue, très présent dans la région de Sherbrooke ».

Léo Hamel a toujours nié avoir parlé au Journal de Montréal. Les effets néfastes de la parution d’un tel article sont évidents pour tout le monde. Dans une lettre destinée à mon père pendant le congé de Noël 1978, Robert Beullac le détective privé embauché par ce dernier pour enquêter de façon indépendante – fait directement référence à l’article paru en le qualifiant de « inventé de toutes pièces ».

Lettre de Robert Beullac

Peu importe l’intention derrière l’article, les conséquences – prévisibles – ne se sont pas fait attendre. Hormis une brève revue annuelle des affaires criminelles dans la région (qui mentionnait bien sûr le cas de Theresa), puis un article rédigé en français et paru en février 1979, le journal anglophone Sherbrooke Record et le journal francophone La Tribune n’ont jamais plus fait mention de la disparition de Theresa, jusqu’à la découverte de son corps en avril 1979, après la fonte des neiges. 

Une histoire de drogue

J’ai réfléchi longuement à la signification de cet article du Journal de Montréal intitulé HISTOIRE DE DROGUE. C’est la seule fois que le journal a couvert l’affaire pendant les cinq mois et demi où Theresa était portée disparue. Aucun éditorial en novembre 1978 qui aurait informé les lecteurs de l’existence de l’affaire. Aucun suivi après cette seule publication du 20 décembre 1978. Conséquence : les lecteurs auront compris que s’il s’agissait d’une affaire de drogue, c’était quelque chose de personnel à régler en famille, rien qui demandait une participation de la communauté. Si c’était bien le message à faire passer, quelle en était l’intention?

Dans ces années-là, les bureaux d’Allo et Photo Police se trouvaient juste en face du siège social de la Sûreté du Québec, rue Parthenais à Montréal. On rapporte que s’il arrivait que l’un des journaux s’écarte des propos de la SQ en publiant un article, un officier n’avait qu’à traverser la rue pour lui signifier de « faire mieux la prochaine fois !»

En 1978, les bureaux du Journal de Montréal étaient situés à la limite nord de la ville, près d’Ahuntsic, soit à environ 30 minutes de route du siège social de la Sûreté, un peu plus loin donc que ceux du Allo Police. Pour faire ce trajet, il fallait VRAIMENT vouloir que le journal “faire mieux“.

Allons droit au but. Le Journal de Montréal n’avait aucune raison de publier l’article HISTOIRE DE DROGUE.Quelqu’un a inventé cette histoire pour jeter le discrédit sur la personne disparue. Ma supposition est qu’il s’agit de la Sûreté du Québec. À cette époque, le Journal de Montréal était un tabloïd semblable à Allo Police (ça l’est encore, d’ailleurs). Contrairement à ce que son nom annonce, il était majoritairement lu par des gens de l’extérieur de l’île de Montréal. Une publication comme celle-là dans un imprimé aussi important avait le pouvoir d’influencer les choses. Cela pouvait tuer une enquête, et c’est exactement ce qui est arrivé.

On se demande quand même pour quelle raison une enquête sur une jeune fille portée disparue a été l’objet d’une tentative de traficotage. Qu’est-ce que cela rapportait à l’un des services de police les plus puissants en Amérique du Nord?

Je vais proposer une théorie, mais je souligne qu’il ne s’agit que d’une théorie. Si quelqu’un a d’autres idées, si quelqu’un connaît la vérité sur le sujet, je lui suggérerais de présenter ces idées.

Qu’il ait donné cette entrevue ou non, si Léo Hamel avait raison? (Si vous trouvez que l’affirmation présumée de Hamel est dure, sachez que le même article rapporte que ma mère aurait dit « croire que sa fille était enterrée dans un endroit inconnu ».). Si c’était bien lié à la drogue? Si c’était bien une histoire de drogue, sans toutefois qu’elle implique salement la victime comme l’article le laissait entendre? 

Pour comprendre de quoi il en retourne, il faut savoir ce que Léo voulait dire quand il m’a confié plus tard que les Cantons-de-l’Est étaient un « bar ouvert » à l’époque des faits. Les démarcations entre policiers et voleurs, forces de l’ordre et mauvais garnements étaient floues. La drogue circulait partout : cannabis, hash, acide et cocaïne. À Lennoxville, les groupes de trafiquants locaux ne revendaient pas seulement au Collège Champlain et à l’Université Bishop, mais aussi à l’école secondaire Alexander Galt. Si vous ne le croyez pas, c’est que vous êtes naïf.

Les membres de gangs de bas niveau s’occupaient des opérations de rue, mais tout le monde y trouvait son compte. Les policiers prenaient potentiellement un pourcentage et détournaient le regard quant aux autres activités criminelles des trafiquants qui n’étaient pas trop flagrantes, au début…

Où il y a de la drogue, souvent il y a de la prostitution. Que se passe-t-il si un petit criminel s’enflamme un peu trop pour une des filles? S’il la bat? S’il la tue? Qu’en est-il d’une fille comme Carole Fecteau, âgée de 18 ans, qui se tenait avec des revendeurs de drogue de la région de Sherbrooke? Elle a fini par subir un viol collectif, être abattue puis abandonnée dans les bois de East Hereford, près de la frontière américaine en 1978. Personne n’a sourcillé une fois l’affaire « refroidie » et considérée comme un cas non résolu. Carole Fecteau n’était qu’un dommage collatéral, le prix à payer pour faire des affaires dans le domaine de la drogue.

Et par « affaires », il faut entendre affaires pour tous. La police n’a jamais enquêté en profondeur sur la mort de Carole Fecteau, parce qu’elle ne pouvait pas le faire. Parce qu’au moment où ils arrêteraient les trafiquants responsables, ceux-ci pointeraient le doigt peut-être vers eux et diraient qu’ils prennent un pourcentage sur l’argent de la drogue. Ça ressemble à ce qui est arrivé dans l’affaire Fernand Laplante. La police savait qu’il n’avait pas tué les associés de Fecteau – l’informateur Raymond Grimard et sa petite amie Manon Bergeron. Ça n’avait pas d’importance. La police et le milieu criminel avaient besoin d’un bouc-émissaire, de quelqu’un qui ne serait pas cru s’il essayait de bousiller le système en place. Ils ont choisi un larbin en la personne de Fernand Laplante, et ont contraint son complice, Johnny Charland – lui-même membre du gang de motards, Les Gitans – à témoigner contre lui. Les propos de l’avocat de Laplante, Jean-Pierre Rancourt, « c’est Jean Charland et un autre gars qui ont tué Grimard et Bergeron, pas Laplante ».

Si on pousse un peu plus loin, supposons un gars qui perd complètement le nord et devient un franc-tireur, qui n’obéit plus aux ordres. Il n’assassine plus ses comparses, membres de gang; il cueille maintenant d’innocentes femmes ou jeunes filles dans la rue, de simples gens de la communauté. Bien que ces actes aillent trop loin, ils sont également considérés comme des dommages collatéraux. C’est aussi le prix à payer pour brasser des affaires. On ne prend pas le risque d’enquêter sur la possibilité que Theresa Allore et Louise Camirand aient été la cible d’un tueur en série si celui-ci potentiellement fait partie de son organisation. Si on inculpe ce gars de meurtre, il pointera le doigt sur ses partenaires de drogue et sur le service de police, et révélera qu’ils font tous partie de la même grosse opération visant à faire de l’argent, opération qui a terriblement mal tourné.

La petite Miami

Si vous croyez que je suis en train de dépeindre une théorie du complot tirée par les cheveux, laissez-moi vous donner un exemple frappant issu du milieu où je vis. Ici, en Caroline du Nord, il y a un comté qui fait partie des plus pauvres comtés de l’État. Je ne donnerai pas de noms ni ne citerai d’endroits, car je ne veux pas attirer l’attention. Mais ça se passe ici.

Cet endroit est connu comme « la petite Miami » parce que la cocaïne qui est vendue est pure et bon marché. Pour faire le commerce de la drogue, il faut la protection des forces de l’ordre. Comme le rédacteur en chef d’un journal local l’a mentionné : “Ce sont de grosses affaires qui sont brassées; le milieu peut se débarrasser des gens comme bon lui semble.”

Le shérif de ce comté a occupé son poste pendant quatre mandats consécutifs au cours des années 80 et 90. Il a été dit que ce dernier recevait 300 $ en « revenus de protection » pour chaque once de cocaïne vendue. En 1986, son fils – député de comté – a abattu quelqu’un de la place lors d’un contrôle de routine. Il a été complètement blanchi. Aujourd’hui, ce député est le directeur d’un important organisme d’application de la loi de l’État. Son père s’est retiré en 1993 après avoir travaillé durant plus de 40 ans dans des services de police de l’État. Le shérif qui l’a remplacé n’était guère meilleur. La corruption est systémique et institutionnalisée. Ce shérif a reçu une peine d’emprisonnement de six ans dans une institution fédérale, entre autres choses pour enlèvement, blanchiment d’argent, de même que pour avoir incendié des maisons lors de descentes de police pour saisie de drogue. Un avocat de la défense du secteur – qui était terrifié a résumé ainsi les choses :

« Il pensait que le problème c’était le shérif, que celui-ci avait des trafiquants de drogue dans son personnel. Mais ce n’était que la pointe de l’iceberg, et je parle vraiment d’iceberg ».

Ce que je n’ai pas encore dit est que le comté en question est aux prises avec une épidémie de disparitions et de meurtres de femmes. Parmi les dossiers qui traînent, on retrouve ceux de douzaines de femmes autochtones et de femmes marginalisées portées disparues ou assassinées dans le comté depuis 1998 (depuis beaucoup plus longtemps, en réalité, mais qui en fait le décompte? Certainement pas la police). Au fil des ans, les fonctionnaires – de ceux de la Caroline du Nord à ceux du cabinet du gouverneur – ont été accusés d’ignorer la crise. Rien ne change. Comme l’a expliqué le rédacteur en chef du journal, la drogue est un business lucratif et la vie des gens est sans valeur.

C’est pas mon problème

Luc Grégoire, Québécois condamné pour meurtre

Je crois qu’un délinquant sexuel québécois du nom de Luc Grégoire – maintenant décédé – est responsable d’une série de meurtres dans les Cantons-de-l’Est de 1977 à 1978 : Louise Camirand, à proximité d’Austin; Hélène Monast, à Chambly; Denise Bazinet, à Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu; Manon Dubé, près de North Hatley et Theresa Allore, à Compton. Par après, en 1993, Grégoire a été inculpé pour le meurtre brutal de la jeune Lailanie Silva, de 22 ans, à Calgary, et soupçonné d’être l’auteur de plusieurs autres assassinats dans la ville. Un criminologue qui a établi le profil de Grégoire m’a dit qu’il est statistiquement improbable que Grégoire n’ait pas commis ces meurtres.

Alors, comment Grégoire a pu filer entre les mailles du système judiciaire du Québec?

Je me doute que, initialement, il a dû passer inaperçu. Ils ne semblent pas l’avoir soupçonné pour les meurtres de Chambly et Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. Ces villes se situent à mi-chemin entre Sherbrooke et Montréal. Dans le cas de Manon Dubé, ils n’ont même jamais admis qu’il s’agissait d’un meurtre. Lorsque Léo Hamel a surgi dans un champ en bordure de route dans la région de Magog, à la recherche de ma sœur, soit dans le même secteur où Louise Camirand avait été abandonnée, ç’aurait dû éveiller des craintes.

Je soupçonne que Luc Grégoire était l’un de ces criminels de bas niveau à la fin des années 1970, pris dans les filets du trafic de drogue des Cantons-de-l’Est (son dossier criminel de l’époque pointe dans cette direction). Il pourrait même avoir assassiné Carole Fecteau et peut-être participé aux meurtres de l’informateur Raymond Grimard et de sa petite amie Manon Bergeron. Si la bande de Grimard – et c’était vraiment un gang, impliqué à fond dans le commerce de la drogue au centre-ville de Sherbrooke, dans le couloir Wellington et King – donnait des pourcentages à la police, alors Grégoire pouvait représenter un danger pour toute l’organisation, surtout s’il devenait incontrôlable et commençait à tuer des membres innocents de la communauté qui venaient de rentrer à la maison après l’école ou qui sortaient pour acheter un litre de lait.

On soupçonne même que Luc Grégoire était apparenté à Luc et Normand Grégoire, deux enquêteurs de la Sûreté du Québec, dont l’un a collaboré à l’analyse de la scène de crime de ma sœur Theresa. Personne ne voudrait prendre le risque d’une telle révélation.

L’enquêteur de la Sûreté du Québec Luc Grégoire

Quand le chef de la police de Lennoxville Léo Hamel a commencé à s’approcher de trop près de la vérité, son entourage ne lui posait pas de questions trop spécifiques; on ne voulait pas connaître les détails. Le seul fait qu’il se passât des choses dans la région de Sherbrooke qui risquaient de compromettre les opérations policières justifiait qu’un article de journal soit placé pour juguler tout « tremblement » à propos d’un tueur en série. Quelque chose qui allait mettre le chef de police de la place dans l’embarras et jeter le discrédit sur la jeune disparue.

Une fois ce problème réglé, il fallait encore déterminer quoi faire avec Grégoire. Par chance, en 1979, il était dans les forces armées, et envoyé en Allemagne. Mais en 1980, il était revenu à Sherbrooke et il avait violé une fille dans un garage souterrain du centre-ville. Alors quoi? Face à une situation encore potentiellement explosive, on prend l’affaire en main. Quand Luc sort de prison, on lui donne un billet aller simple pour l’Alberta et on lui dit de ne jamais plus remettre les pieds dans les Cantons-de-l’Est. Pour autant que nous le sachions, il n’est jamais revenu.

Comment m’avez-vous retrouvé?

Quelle était la menace potentielle de Luc Grégoire pour la Sûreté du Québec? Assez grand pour que lorsque j’ai commencé à « fouiner » au début des années 2000 et qu’au milieu de la décennie, j’avais commencé à me concentrer sur Grégoire en tant que suspect potentiel, je crois qu’ils ont pris des mesures pour annuler la situation.

En 2002, la Sûreté du Québec créait sa première division en analyse du comportement mettant l’accent sur la résolution des crimes non élucidés. Elle a envoyé les agents Marc Lépine et Éric Latour à Quantico, en Virginie, pour étudier le profilage auprès du FBI. Latour est devenu le chef de la division, et Lépine a été nommé comme premier profileur géographique de la SQ. Rares sont ceux qui manqueront l’ironie selon laquelle l’un des défis que Patricia Pearson et moi avons toujours affrontés avec la SQ était de leur faire comprendre que la technique de profilage géographique mise au point par Kim Rossmo existait réellement.

Au fil des ans, j’ai travaillé avec Lépine et Latour, chacun d’eux ayant été à un moment donné l’agent de liaison attitré au dossier de ma sœur. Au début, ils étaient très coopératifs. Latour a été particulièrement actif dans la poursuite de la « piste Luc Grégoire » comme suspect. Il s’est rendu à Calgary et a rencontré les enquêteurs, a fait passer le polygraphe à Grégoire, a fait placer un informateur dans sa cellule, etc. Mais en peu de temps, le dynamique Latour a été remplacé par un vieux routier, qui s’était fait la main avec le Projet Carcajou, le détachement spécial créé pour intervenir dans la guerre des motards au Québec. Immédiatement, la circulation d’informations sur Grégoire a cessé. En fait, le nouveau type m’a dit qu’ils ne considéraient plus Grégoire comme un suspect. Ce pur-et-dur m’a un jour donné un bon conseil, que j’estime aujourd’hui plutôt troublant. Il m’a dit : « M. Allore, à titre d’agent de la SQ, je vous conseille de laisser tomber l’affaire. Mais comme parent, si j’étais à votre place? Je ferais exactement la même chose que vous ».

L’une des dernières choses qu’Éric Latour m’a dites a été qu’il avait voulu utiliser une photo de Grégoire avec une série d’autres photos de délinquants, pour voir si des victimes survivantes de l’époque pourraient l’identifier comme leur agresseur. Mais, zut!, Latour n’arrivait pas à mettre la main sur une photo de Grégoire datant de ces années-là. En 2008, j’ai gobé cette raison, mais en 2020 je la considère comme un tas de conneries. Moi, citoyen des États-Unis, j’ai demandé à la police de Calgary – la semaine dernière seulement – une photo d’identité récente de Grégoire. En l’espace de 48 heures, j’ai obtenu une réponse! Est-ce que je voulais celle datant de 1993 ou celles prises lors de son arrestation à Saanich et à Edmonton?

Au cours des années, je me suis rendu à plusieurs reprises sur le chemin Giguère (maintenant nommé chemin Duval), où le corps de Louise Camirand a été retrouvé, où Léo Hamel s’est tenu avec le chien Rex, dans l’espoir de trouver un indice, un lien, n’importe quoi. Chaque fois que je demande à la Sûreté du Québec de collaborer, c’est un refus. Je suppose que c’est parce qu’ils ne veulent pas accorder de crédit à une théorie voulant que les meurtres de Camirand et de ma sœur soient liés. Nous avons récupéré plusieurs morceaux de linge féminins et des bijoux dans cette forêt. La Sûreté du Québec refuse de les analyser, refuse même d’en regarder des photos.

Button and comb



Où sont-ils maintenant? Où sont ces agents pionniers promis à un brillant avenir dans le profilage et les enquêtes criminelles au Québec? Marc Lépine a été retiré de l’unité des affaires non résolues. Il est maintenant responsable du Service des enquêtes sur les crimes contre la personne de la Sûreté du Québec. Éric Latour s’est promené d’un poste à l’autre à la SQ dans de petits villages « perdus » : un an à Joliette (population de 19 000, mieux connue parce qu’une prison pour femmes s’y trouve); cinq mois à Saint-Lin dans les Laurentides (population de 17 000), son parcours professionnel à l’opposé de celui du chef de police Hamel dans sa petite ville à l’époque.

Quand j’ai interviewé Latour en 2019 pour le livre Wish You Were Here – après dix ans de perte de contact – sa première question était: « Comment avez-vous obtenu mon numéro de téléphone? ». Lorsque je lui ai demandé de vérifier une information au sujet du dossier de ma soeur en lien avec Luc Grégoire, sa réponse a été très familière. Ça ressemblait beaucoup à ce que Roch Gaudreault – le premier agent de la Sûreté du Québec à avoir enquêté sur le décès de ma sœur – a donné comme réponse à mon frère quand celui-ci a réexaminé le dossier dans les années 1990 : « Il se pourrait que je ne me souvienne de rien ».

Éric Latour et Marc Lépine

Quand on veut se débarrasser d’un « problème », on l’éloigne de l’action. Cela a toujours été la façon de la SQ de faire les choses.

Les crimes les plus difficiles à résoudre

Siège social de la Sûreté du Québec

Un reportage du journal québécois La Presse nous apprend l’existence de « dossiers rouges » à la Sûreté du Québec. Des accords habituellement passés en cachette avec les plus anciens membres du personnel, et des autre documents ultra confidentiels conservés dans une chambre forte, au dernier étage de l’autre quartier général de la SQ dans la ville de Québec, non loin de l’Assemblée nationale, la plus haute instance législative de la province. C’est ici que les « dépouilles » sont enterrées. Comme par hasard, il se trouve également une déchiqueteuse dans la petite toilette à proximité de la déchiqueteuse principale, à côté de la chambre forte situé à cet étage de la SQ.

Leo Hamel et Rex

Au dernier paragraphe de son article paru dans l’édition du 2 décembre 1978 du Photo Police, le journaliste François Dowd a fait une mise en garde sinistre à la SQ et à la population québécoise :

« Si la disparition de Theresa Allore se solde un jour par la découverte de son cadavre, on peut s’attendre à ce que la police ait alors beaucoup à faire pour mettre la main au collet du maniaque qui est responsable. De plus, il est connu que le meurtre de jeunes filles fait partie des crimes les plus difficiles à élucider, puisque les assassins sont souvent des gens qui ne se démarquent pas, ont un emploi régulier et n’ont pas été impliqués antérieurement dans une action en justice. Soulignons que la température est un facteur crucial dans cette affaire, car les prochaines averses de neige pourraient différer la découverte et, partant, la résolution. »

Léo Hamel a bien compris.


Cliquez sur ce lien pour commander le livre, Wish You Were Here


Theresa Allore – Case Closed Cold

Three weeks after she went missing, Lennoxville Police Chief Leo Hamel managed to connect the disappearance of Theresa Allore with the prior-year murder of Louise Camirand. Then came the Journal de Montréal article that quickly put an end to the investigation.

(Note: This post was written from information contained in the book, Wish You Were Here and is protected by copyright by Penguin Random House and the conditions of this website.)

Leo Hamel almost got it right. Standing at the shoulder of the road near Austin, Quebec, a police sniffer dog named Rex at his side combing the underbrush, Hamel was convinced that the answers to nineteen-year-old Theresa Allore’s disappearance lie here in the wooded interior of the Eastern Townships where eighteen months earlier the naked body of twenty-year-old Louise Camirand was found in the snow, strangled with a bootlace around her neck. It was late November. Hamel, dressed in a light windbreaker, knew there was still time to recover the body before the heavy snow arrived and delayed any chance of finding Theresa – and a chance at solving the case – until the spring.

It was also an opportunity for some publicity. Hamel was accompanied by a reporter from Photo Police, a sister paper of the the Quebec true crime tabloid, Allo Police. The reporter was anxious for Hamel to explain exactly why he was here in Austin, 55 kilometers, approximately an hour’s drive from the place where Theresa was last seen in Lennoxville.

Hamel’s logic was sound. Theresa enjoyed good relationships with friends and family. She was not under financial stress. After her disappearance, the $1,000 in her bank account remained untouched. A runaway would have surely emptied their bank account. What troubled Hamel the most was that Theresa had a habit of hitchhiking, she had done it the weekend prior to her disappearance to visit friends in Montreal.

Photo Police – December 2, 1978

Hamel then laid out what he called “the most plausible hypothesis”. Theresa accepted a ride from someone in an automobile. Someone “without scruples”, a “maniaque sexuel”, and this person attacked her, killed her, and dumped her body in the woods in the Lennoxville region. In fact, Hamel pointed out, that is exactly what had happened to Camirand. Picked up in Sherbrooke, she was “raped, murdered, and dumped in a junk heap near Austin.”

Even more troubling, some hunters had found clothing matching the description of those Theresa was last seen wearing (a woman’s shirt and some pants) the day after she went missing, November 4th, 1978, less than 500 meters from that junk heap near Austin. It was for this reason Hamel had traveled 55 kilometers to the area along chemin Giguère bordering Lake Memphremagog. He had pieced this together himself, all within a mere two weeks since Theresa was first reported missing on November 10, 1978.

Photo Police – December 2, 1978

Hamel told Photo Police reporter, Francois Dowd how he had appealed for assistance from the provincial police, the Surete du Quebec who were well resourced to handle such a complicated investigation. The 45-year old Hamel was a career law enforcement officer, having served as chief in the small Quebec towns of Omerville and Sawyerville. He had barely nine months under his belt with the nine-man Lennoxville force, and had never worked a missing person’s case. The Surete du Quebec turned down Hamel’s request saying there was no body, and therefore the case up to that point was only a “simple disappearance”.

Maybe they were right. The Surete du Quebec were the experts, with a full squad dedicated to major crimes such as murder. Hamel was just a newly appointed small town police chief.

Still, the snow was coming.

Francois Dowd published his article in Photo Police on Saturday, December 2, 1978. Few English speaking Quebecers would have read it, certainly not my father who was unilingual. I did not become aware of the article until 2017.

Before Christmas the Journal de Montréal printed a very different article:

Journal de Montreal – December 20, 1978 – Theresa Allore

The headline reads in all capital letters, “DISPARITION MYSTÉRIEUSE: UNE HISTOIRE DE DROGUE?”. Even a person only speaking English can decipher what that means, but specifically the translation can be tricky. It can be interpreted as, “MYSTERIOUS DISAPPEARANCE: A HISTORY OF A DRUG ADDICT?”. But it can also mean, “MYSTERIOUS DISAPPEARANCE: A DRUG STORY?”

The article begins, “The Lennoxville police chief, Mr. Leo Hamel wonders if the disappearance of 19-year old Theresa Allore might not be drug related.” and continues with the assertion that “Hamel has doubled his efforts in his investigation, and that has led him to search more particularly in the current world of drugs, which is very active in the Sherbrooke region.”

Leo Hamel always denied having ever spoken to the Journal de Montréal. The negative effects of such an article would have been immediately apparent to everyone. Robert Beaullac – the private investigator hired by my father to independently look into the disappearance – directly refers to the article in a letter to my father over the Christmas holiday of 1978 stating that Hamel called it, “pure fabrication”.

Whatever the intent of such an article, the results were predictable and immediate. Apart from a typical year-in-review summary of crime in the region (which of course would mention Theresa’s case), and one French article in February, the English Sherbrooke Record and the French La Tribune never mentioned Theresa’s disappearance again until her body turned up after the snow melted in April of 1979.

A Drug Story

I have long pondered the significance of the Journal de Montréal HISTOIRE DE DROGUE article. During the five and a half months when she was missing it is the only time the Journal de Montréal covered the case. There are no lead-up articles in November 1978 that would introduced readers to the affair. There is no follow-up after that one publication on December 20th, 1978. The result was immediate. Readers would have received the message that if the matter was drug related, it was then a personal matter, something to be resolved by the family, nothing that needed community involvement. If that was the message, what exactly was the intention?

Back in the day, the offices of Allo and Photo Police were located directly across the street from the Surete du Quebec’s Montreal headquarters on rue Parthenais. It is said that if the tabloids got out of line and ran a story that diverged from the SQ narrative they wanted published, an officer could simply walk across the street and tell them to get it right next time!.

In 1978 the offices of the Journal de Montréal were located in the north end of the city near Ahuntsic, about a thirty minute drive from the Surete HQ. A little further away than the Allo police offices. You would have really, really wanted that paper to “get it right“.

And let’s get to the point; the Journal de Montréal had no reason to publish the HISTOIRE DE DROGUE article. Someone planted that story to discredit the missing person, and my guess is that someone was the Surete du Quebec. The Journal in that era was a tabloid just like Allo Police ( it still is for that matter). Unlike the name suggests, it was widely read off the island of Montreal. A story like HISTOIRE DE DROGUE in a newspaper as powerful as the Journal de Montréal had the power to influence matters. In short, it had the ability to kill an investigation. And that’s exactly what it did.

Even so, why attempt to tamper in an investigation of a missing girl? Of what consequence could that be to one of the most powerful police agencies in North America?

I will offer a theory, but I stress that this is just a theory. If someone has other ideas, if someone knows the truth of the matter, I would suggest they bring those ideas forward.

Whether he gave the interview or not, what if Leo Hamel was right? (And if you think Hamel’s alleged assessment is harsh, in the same article my mother is “quoted” as saying she, “believes that her daughter is buried in an unknown place.”). But what if this was drug related? What is it was a drug story? But not in the smearing-the-victim manner the article implied.

In order to understand that, you need to consider what a former law enforcement officer meant when he told me the Eastern Townships were “wide open” in that era. Stated plainly, the lines were blurred between “cops and robbers”, law enforcement and “bad guys”. Drugs were prevalent. There was marijuana and hash, acid and cocaine. In Lennoxville, local drug gangs dealt not only at Champlain College and Bishop’s University, but at the local high school, Alexander Galt, and if you don’t believe that you are being blindly naive.

Low level gang members would handle the street operations, but everyone would have been making money off this system. Cops would potentially take a cut and then turn a blind eye to dealers’ other criminal activities that weren’t overly egregious. At first.

Where there’s drugs, there’s often prostitution. Now what if a low level criminal gets a little too heated around one of the girls. What if he beats her? What if he kills her? What of a girl like 18-year-old Carole Fecteau, who ran with local Sherbrooke drug dealers, and ended up gang-raped, shot and dumped in the woods in East Hereford near the United States border in the summer of 1978? No one even blinked when Fecteau’s murder went unsolved. Because Carole Fecteau was just collateral damage, a cost of doing business in the drug trade.

And by business, I mean big business for everyone. The police never thoroughly investigated the death of Carole Fecteau because they couldn’t. Because the moment they arrested the drug dealers responsible, those dealers would probably point a finger back at the police and say they were taking a cut of drug money. In fact, this is similar to what happened in the matter of Fernand Leplante. Police knew he didn’t murder drug associates of Fecteau – police informant Raymond Grimard and his girlfriend Manon Bergeron. It didn’t matter. Everyone needed a fall guy, the criminals and the police. Someone who wouldn’t be believed if he tried to break up the system they had put in place. So they chose a stooge, they picked Fernand Leplante, and coerced his accomplice, Johnny Charland – himself a member of the Gitans biker gang – to testify against him. In the words of Leplante’s attorney, Jean Pierre Rancourt, “It was Jean Charland and another guy who killed Grimard and Bergeron, not Laplante.”

Now take it one step further, what if you got a guy who loses all control and goes rogue. He’s no longer just killing fellow gang members, he’s now plucking innocent women and girls off the streets. Not fellow drug associates, now it’s regular members of the community. That’s going too far, but that too is collateral damage. It’s a cost of doing business. You don’t risk investigating the possibility that Theresa Allore and Louise Camirand were linked to a serial killer because the suspect is potentially someone who is part of your operation. He’s a guy that if you arrest him for murder, he will point the finger at his drug partners and law enforcement and confess that they were all in on an elaborate operation to make everyone money, and now that operation has gone terribly, tragically wrong.

Little Miami

If you think I’m painting a far fetched conspiracy theory, let me provide you a stark example from where I live. There’s a county here in North Carolina that is one of the poorest in the state. I won’t name people or places. I don’t want to attract the attention. We’re in my home now. This is where I live.

It’s known as Little Miami because the cocaine that traffics there is cheap and pure. In order to operate anywhere in the drug trade you need the involvement of law enforcement for protection. As the editor of a local paper put it, “It comes down to big business, and my people are expendable.”

The county sheriff there had been in office for four consecutive terms through the 1980s and ’90s. It was alleged he received $300 in protection money for every ounce of cocaine that was sold. In 1986 his county deputy son shot and killed a local in the back in a routine traffic stop. He was cleared of any wrong doing. Today that deputy is the director ot a major state law enforcement agency. The father retired in 1993 after serving over four decades in state police agencies. The next sheriff wasn’t any better. Because the corruption is systemic and institutionalized. That sheriff was sentenced to six years in a Federal prison for kidnapping, money laundering and the burning of houses during drug raids, among other things. A defense lawyer from the area – who was scared out of his wits – summed it up this way,

“… He thought the sheriff was the problem, that he had drug dealers on his payroll. But that was the tip of the iceberg, and I mean iceberg.”

What I’m leaving out from the story is that this county is in the throws of an epidemic of missing and murdered women. The neglected cases involve dozens of Native and other marginalized women who have gone missing or been murdered in the county since 1998 ( actually long prior to that, but who’s counting? Certainly not the police). Over the years North Carolina officials right up to the Governor’s Office have been accused of ignoring the crisis. Nothing ever changes. As the newspaper editor explained, drugs are big business and people are expendable.

Someone Else’s Problem

Quebec convicted murderer Luc Gregoire

I believe a Quebec sexual offender named Luc Gregoire – now deceased – is responsible for a series of murders in the Eastern Townships from 1977 to 1978; Louis Camirand near Austin, Helene Monast in Chambly, Denise Bazinet in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Manon Dube near North Hatley, and Theresa Allore in Compton. Gregoire would later be convicted of the brutal Calgary 1993 murder of 22-year old Lailanie Silva, and is suspected of several other murders in that city. As one criminologist who profiled Gregoire put it to me, it is statistically improbable that Gregoire didn’t commit these murders.

So how did someone like Gregoire slip through the cracks of the Quebec justice system?

I suspect initially he would have flown under the radar. Police likely didn’t suspect him in the Chambly and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu murders, those towns are halfway between Sherbrooke and Montreal. Publicly, they never admitted the death of Manon Dube was a murder at all. But when Leo Hamel showed up in a roadside field in the Magog region searching for my sister, in the same area where Louis Camirand had been dumped? That must have set off some alarm bells.

I suspect that Luc Gregoire was one of those low level criminals in the late 1970s who was caught up in the Townships drug trade (his criminal record from the era points to this). He may have even murdered Carole Fecteau, and participated in the assassinations of police informant Raymond Grimard and his girlfriend Manon Bergeron. And if the Grimard gang – and it was a gang, heavily involved in the drug trade in the downtown Sherbrooke Wellington and King corridor – was providing kickbacks to the police, then Gregoire could spell danger for the entire outfit, particularly if he got out of hand and allegedly started murdering innocent members of the community who were just walking home from school, or out buying a liter of milk.

There are even suspicions Luc was related to Luc and Normand Gregoire, two career Surete du Quebec investigators, one of whom actually participated in the processing of the crime scene of Theresa Allore. You wouldn’t want to risk that kind of exposure.

Surete du Quebec investigator Luc Gregoire

So when Lennoxville police chef Leo Hamel started getting too close to the truth, you wouldn’t ask questions about specifics, you wouldn’t want to know the details. Just that something was going down in the Sherbrooke area to jeopardize police operations and you needed an article planted that would quash any tremors of a serial killer. Something that would embarrass the local police chief and discredit the missing girl.

So with that issue taken care of, you’ve still got the problem of what to do with Gregoire. Luckily, by 1979 he was with the armed forces, and shipped overseas to Germany. But by 1980 he was back in Sherbrooke and had now raped a girl in a downtown parking garage. So now what? This is a situation that is – again – on the brink of getting out of control. Again, you take the matter into your own hands. When Luc gets out of jail, you offer him a one way ticket to Alberta and tell him to never show his face in the Eastern Townships again, and as far as we know Luc Gregoire never did.

How Did You Find Me?

How big a threat potentially was Luc Gregoire to the Surete du Quebec? Big enough that when I began sniffing around in the early 2000s, and by mid-decade had begun to focus on Gregoire as a potential suspect, I believe they took steps to nullify the situation.

In 2002 the Surete du Quebec created their first behavior analysis division, with a focus on solving cold cases. They sent agents Marc Lépine and Éric Latour to Quantico, Virginia to study behavioral profiling with the FBI. Latour eventually became head of the division, and Lépine was anointed the SQ’s first geographic profiler. Few will miss the irony that one of the challenges Patricia Pearson and I always faced with the SQ was getting them to understand that the technique of geographic profiling pioneered by Kim Rossmo actually existed.

Over the years I have worked with both Lépine and Latour, both have at one time been my SQ liaisons for my sister’s case. Initially, both investigators were very cooperative. Latour was especially very active in pursuing Luc Gregoire as a suspect; he flew to Calgary and met with investigators, he had Gregoire polygraphed, he had an informant placed in his cell, etc…. But in short order the eager Latour was replaced with a seasoned veteran who had cut his teeth on Project Wolverine, the task force established to intervene in the Quebec biker war. Immediately the flow of Gregoire information stopped. In fact the new guy told me they no longer considered Gregoire a suspect. This hard-liner did once offer me a very good piece of advice, something that I now consider quite unsettling. He told me, “Mr. Allore as an SQ officer I advise you to leave this matter behind you. But as a parent, if it were me in your situation? I would be doing exactly the same thing.”

One of the last things Eric Latour told me was that he had wanted to use a photo of Gregoire along side a series of other photos of offenders to see if any surviving victims from the era might ID him as their attacker. But darn, Latour just couldn’t find a photo of Gregoire from that era. My 2008 self accepted this as a believable answer. My 2020 self says that was bullshit. I, as a civilian living in the United States, made a request to the Calgary police for an early mug shot of Gregoire just last week. With in 48 hours I had a response; did I want the one from 1993, or the ones from his 1985 arrests in Saanich and Edmonton?

Over the years I have made several visits to that site on chemin Giguère ( now chemin Duval) where Louise Camirand’s body was found, where Leo Hamel stood with Rex hoping to find a clue, a connection, something. Each time I invite the Surete du Quebec to participate, and each time they refuse, I suppose not wanting to lend credibility to a theory that the murders of Camirand and my sister are connected. Over those years we have recovered numerous personal items – pieces of women’s clothing, women’s jewelry a purse – from that forest. The Surete du Quebec refused to process the items, they refuse to even look at photographs of the items.

Woman’s comb and coat button recovered from chemin Giguère

Woman’s shirt recovered from chemin Giguère

Neckless recovered from chemin Giguère

And where are they now? Where are those pioneer agents with such a bright future in Quebec behavioral profiling and murder investigations? Marc Lépine was removed from the cold case unit. He now heads the service of investigations on crimes against persons for the SQ. Éric Latour has bounced around a series of SQ podunk outposts; a year in Joliet ( population 19,000, best known for housing a women’s prison), five months in St-Lin-Laurentides, population 17,000, his career trajectory the opposite of small town police chief Hamel’s back in the day.

When I interviewed Latour in 2019 for the book, Wish You Were Here – after ten years of losing contact – his first question was, “How did you get my number?” When I asked him to verify some information about my sister’s case and Luc Gregoire his response was very familiar. It was virtually the same response Roch Gaudreault – the original Surete du Quebec investigating officer into my sister’s death – gave to my brother when Andre reinvestigated matters in the 1990s, “I may not remember anything”.

If you want to get rid of a problem you toss it away from the action, that has always been the SQ way.

The Most Difficult Crimes To Solve

Surete du Quebec headquarters

From reporting in the Quebec daily, La Presse, we know of the existence of “red files” within the Surete du Quebec. Usually hush-hush termination agreements with the most senior members of staff, and other ultra-confidential documents stored in a vault at the top of the agency’s other main headquarters in Quebec City, within driving distance of the Assemblée nationale, the highest legislative body in the province of Quebec. This is where the bodies are buried. Conveniently there’s also a smaller shredder inside the small bathroom located next to an industrial shredder, next to the vault located on that floor at the SQ HQ.

In the final paragraph of Francois Dowd’s Photo Police article from December 2, 1978, the reporter sent an ominous warning to the SQ and the people of Quebec:

Leo Hamel and Rex

“If Theresa Allore’s disappearance one day results in the discovery of her corpse, it is to be expected that the police will then have a lot to do to drag him by the collar and shake hands with the maniac responsible. Moreover, it is a fact that the murders of young girls appear among the most difficult crimes to solve, since the assassins are often people who do not stick out, having a regular job, and not having been involved in any prior judicial process. It should be noted that the weather is a prime factor in this affair because the next snows could delay the discovery, and the solution.”

Leo Hamel got it right.


Click on this link to order the book, Wish You Were Here


Theresa Allore – Case Closed Cold / WKT4 #15

Three weeks after she went missing, Lennoxville Police Chief Leo Hamel managed to connect the disappearance of Theresa Allore with the prior-year murder of Louise Camirand. Then came the Journal de Montréal article that quickly put an end to the investigation:


Missing from the Village – The Justin Ling Interview – WKT4 #14

An interview with Justin Ling, author of Missing From The Village, a book about the 2010–2017 Toronto serial homicides.

Justin Ling

In 2013, the Toronto Police Service announced that the disappearances of three men–Skandaraj Navaratnam, Abdulbasir Faizi, and Majeed Kayhan–from Toronto’s gay village were, perhaps, linked. When the leads ran dry, the investigation was shut down, on paper classified as “open but suspended.” By 2015, investigative journalist Justin Ling had begun to retrace investigators’ steps, convinced there was evidence of a serial killer. Meanwhile, more men would go missing, and police would continue to deny that there was a threat to the community. On January 18, 2018, Bruce McArthur, a landscaper, would be arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder. In February 2019, he was sentenced to life in prison for the murders of eight men.