This is an interview done in fellowship with friends, John and Sally, two former police detectives from the UK who host the podcast, True Crime Investigators. Here we talk about Who Killed Theresa, what motivates us, and true crime podcasting in general. You can also listen on other podcasting platforms which can be found here: http://linktr.ee/johnallore
PREVIOUS PODCAST: “You don’t have a name in your head?” – Teresa Martin #6 / WKT5
NEXT PODCAST: Why Murders Are Unsolved – Teresa Martin #8 / WKT5
In the initial episodes of this podcast of the 1969 unsolved murder of 14-year-old Teresa Martin, many of you wrote to me or commented that the prime suspect in the case must be a one-time Satan’s Choice biker member named Michael French, and that the tattoo inscription found on her stomach, “F.L. FRENCHY I LOVE YOU” must be a reference to French, either inscribed by him as some sort of sick joke, or possibly implicating him, as a way to throw authorities off the trail of the real killer. Montreal writer Kristian Gravenor guessed this on the Facebook page for this podcast. A listener with some affiliation with Montreal’s West End Gang also guessed this. I also considered it early on before deciding that it seemed too obvious.
From this press release, which must be from 1970 – probably just after February 1970 when the Surete du Quebec took over the case – we can now see that the inscription carved on Teresa Martin read, or the SQ wanted the public to believe read, “F.L. FRENCHY I LOVE YOU”. The notice summarizes that Martin was a young student, that she was found dead on the 13th of September, 1969, near a tavern on Henri Bourassa Blvd. in Montreal North, and that any cooperation on the part of the public would be considered an act of civic duty aiding the justice system.
What I can tell you now is that Mike French as a suspect is one of the theories that current cold case investigators with the Surete du Quebec maintain as a possible explanation for Martin’s bizarre and puzzling murder. Specifically I was told that the one time head of the cold case unit, Marc Lepine developed this theory in his early work in criminal profiling. According to Lepine, the F. stood for French, the L. stood for a second biker named Lennon, and they were both members of Satan’s Choice, with “no attachment to Montreal North”. Apparently Lepine came to this conclusion in 2007, given the date I think it needs to be taken with a grain of salt. From what I know of Lepine – and I know a fair bit, he made his bones on the Guy Croteau case, he’s currently in charge of major crimes with the SQ – in 2007 he had just barely completed his profiler training with the FBI, coming up with Teresa Martin’s offender would have been one of his first profiles. My thoughts were, I hope he’s got more information to go on than simply the word, “French”. My confidence didn’t increase when I was told that Lepine also believed that Martin’s murderer must have “cared for her” because “she wasn’t dumped but gently put down to be found.” Lepine must have forgotten about the knocks to the back of her head.
And anyway, when did Mike French ever care about anyone but himself? The one other murder that we’ve covered where he is a suspect is the abduction and brutal killing of 16-year-old Sharron Prior. Prior was found raped, beaten, possibly gagged, and held and tortured for several days… then strangled – then dumped – in a field in Longueuil, April 1, 1975. Prior disappeared after leaving her Congregation street home on her way to a Pointe Saint Charles pizza joint. At the time bikers – presumably Satan’s Choice – had a club one block north of her home on Sebastopol.
The best source for what we know of Mike French comes from Kristian Gravenor’s website about Montreal sub-culture, Coolopolis. Allegedly French grew up a the Weredale House, a home for “troubled boys” located in Westmount. At an early age French joined the Satan’s Choice biker club from Saint-Henri, which is just across the Lachine Canal from Pointe Saint Charles. Satan’s Choice was one of the clubs targeted by Montreal community outreach officer, John Dalzell in the late 1960s in establishing his federation of motorcycle gang’s Le MUC (for more on Le MUC read here).
In the early 1970s, French was possibly living for a period in Beaconsfield, at 67 Portland Place, possibly with a relative named Thalon French. And we know this because they were listed as defendants in a property dispute in the Quebec provincial courts in February 1974. The Portland Place apartment was right along the Lakeshore, not far from the Maples and Edgewater, clubs French was known to frequent. My sister Theresa also went to those places on weekends – well, everyone did – so it is quite possible that she encountered Mike French on some occasions. Though I wouldn’t read too much into this. Yes, French was known to be an erratic, violent man, but there are many people who encountered him in the day and observed that he was often inclined to simply sit at a bar, drink his beer then leave a place with little notice.
Except when he wasn’t. In 1977 Michael French was charged along with five others in an incident involving “injuring with intent to maim or mutilate.” John O’Donnell described to the court how a peaceful evening out in Montreal with a group of friends turned into a nightmare of violence:
“It only took about 15 seconds… one of them stabbed my two friends in the stomach… then somebody hit me in the face with a heavy object like a beer stein. I was knocked on the ground , had one tooth broken and another knocked out…”Nigel Gibson, “Knifings took ’15 seconds,’ court told”, The Gazette, January, 29, 1977
French’s long-time partner in crime Bobby Chou was singled out as the guy who did the stabbing. Rounding out this crew were Brian Powers, Kevin O’Brien, and Tom and Ed O’Neill. O’Donnell required 12 stitches to close the gash to his face ( Kristian Gravenor goes into great, great detail about Chou and this incident over at his website, Coolopolis). The fight occurred at the old Moustache Club on Closse street across from the Montreal Forum.
For a time French had also been living at 5870 Sherbrooke West, in an apartment in NDG, and we know this because on November 11, 1970, it’s reported French was charged with armed robbery over an argument about the purchase of some hash. 1970 is closer to our target, 1969 and Teresa Martin, and what’s also interesting here is that NDG is inching closer to Pointe Saint Charles, the neighborhood where Sharron Prior lived. Then in 1982 there is a simple obit in the Montreal paper informing us that Michael French died on November 12th. He had several brothers and sisters, Patrick, Geraldine, Peter, Paul, Frances, Wendy living in Montreal, Calgary and Port Coquitlam, BC – and apparently a wife named Madonna.
How and why did French die? The rumor goes like this. French was murdered because he boasted once too often about raping and killing Sharron Prior in the spring of 1975. According to Gravenor, police suspected West End Gang hitman Jackie McLaughlin killed French, chopped him into pieces, and deposited the remains across the Saint Lawrence river in Kahnawake as “a sort of community service.” Other versions say he was killed for raping the daughter of a cop, or possibly a Mafia boss.
What grabbed my attention most in all this was Mike French being a member of Satan’s Choice, and a gang rape that took place in 1968 by 12 to 23 Satan’s Choice members. On October 24, 1968 a 15-year-old girl was taken by Satan’s Choice gang leader, Richard “Bernie” Guindon to a clubhouse at 22 Willow Street in Ottawa. She first had voluntary sex with Guindon. Then after being beaten she was forced to have sex with the rest of the members.
“… [ he ]took her to “an old shack” where a guy called “Wheeler” said, “Splash!” When she refused the group aberration, she was beaten, stripped and forced to undergo “intercourse” with all the males there, about 23.”“Woman tells court girl’s account of indecent acts”, The Ottawa Citizen, May 1, 1969
There are several things of interest her for our purposes; a clubhouse that is an old shack, the use of the word, “Splash”, but further still, there was a young woman involved in tormenting the 15-year-old victim. A 19-year-old female member of the Ottawa chapter named Lorraine Cotty participated in the assault, kicking her in the face with steel-tipped cowboy boots. Initially the 19-year-old as also charged with rape, but the sentence was reduced to assault causing bodily harm when she agreed to testify against the men.
Cotty described how she travelled to the clubhouse from Toronto with Bernie Guindon, who was her husband. Once there, Guindon’s plan was to prostitute his wife for club members. On the witness stand Cotty was asked to describe the role woman play in Satan’s Choice:
“They have no status, they’re pigs. They are treated just like pigs. We have no say, nothing to say about anything. You’re just there. If you’re ordered to do something? You do it. “
Cotty went on to describe how she was forced by Guindon, “to hit her more than once. I hit her with my fists and with my boots…. Then they forced her to do just about everything.”
Other witnesses testified how they saw the 15-year-old girl at the clubhouse sweeping up the living room, a club member describing her as, “our new Splasher”. The horrific scene only came to light when the brave girl finally decided to tell a neighbor of her ordeal the day after her assault.
On May 25, 1969, five members of the Ottawa Satan’s Choice motorcycle club, including Guindon were found guilty of indecent assault on the 15-year-old girl (they had initially been charged with the more severe offense of rape). The judge handed down the maximum sentence of five years, and commented that he would have imposed the lash if such a penalty were permitted.
Richard “Bernie” Guindon was no so-and-so biker stooge. He founded Satan’s Choice in Toronto in 1965. If you check any biker or Wikipedia page you will find little about Bernie’s orchestrated gang rape of a 15-year-old girl, it’s explained away as a police frame-up operation, and anyway, Bernie thought she was 18. There are paragraphs devoted to the biker code, and wars with rival gangs. According to biker author Mick Lowe, “To be around Bernie Guindon was to feel utterly and irrepressibly alive, living for the moment and yet moving towards some grand and glorious future.” Is that how that raped and beaten 15-year-old girl felt? Irrepressibly alive? Canadian film director, Donald Shebib further glorified Guindon in his 1965 biker documentary, Satan’s Choice. Today Bernie’s still out there, living the dream, probably holed-up in some cottage in Muskoka or Sainte Agathe.
Lorraine Cotty’s account of the gang rape raises the possibility that girls and women may have participated, or at least witnessed the ritualistic tattooing of Teresa Martin and her asphyxiation. Whether that participation was willing or unwilling is a matter of further speculation, but it raises the prospect that the girl, Johanne H who was interrogated by Quebec Coroner Laurin Lapointe and Crown prosecutor Roch Heroux may have known much more than she revealed in that interrogation. What Cotty describes is more graphic version of what Johanne H alludes to in her testimony. Where the term “splash” is used vaguely by Johanne H, we are given the full extent of its meaning by Cotty – a “splasher” is a sex slave.
Cotty’s participation in all of this is unclear. At one moment we are told she was a gang member, then by her account she was forced into prostitution and the beating of the 15-year-old. There is an account from May 1970 where an 18-year-old girl, who is identified as a member of Satan’s Choice, participated in the “ritual beating” of another gang member. While 19-year-old Bobby Anderson endured three hours of “whipping, beating and torture”, the girl laughed and cheered on his two tormentors. One of these gang members is identified as 21-year-old Yvon Robert of 6422 rue Beaucourt in Montreal North. Curiously Yvon Robert’s residence was nestled right between boulevards Leger and Henri Bourassa; a 3 minute drive from the tavern where Teresa Martin was found, and a 4 minute drive from Teresa Martin’s home.
All of this inevitably leads to questions about Teresa Martin’s possible socialization and involvement with the biker world. Despite everything we are told to the contrary that she was a good Catholic school girl with no biker gang associations, doubts always linger in the mind. And I would suggest to you that a lot of this bias lies in some of the myths we have been told about gang and biker culture. One such myth is that gangs keep to their own. The circle of violence is committed within their own sub-culture. Civilians don’t get hurt. To which me and everyone in Montreal’s Hochelaga-Maisonneuve neighborhood would scream, “Tell that to 11-year-old biker bomb victim, Daniel Desrochers.”
Death of Christiane Malo
In August 1968, three Popeyes motorcycle gang members, crowbars in hand, stood outside the Kimberly and Ontario metro exit, waiting for a female victim – any female victim – to rob. The three struck 16-year-old CEGEB student, Christiane Malo repeatedly about the head. They ran off with Malo’s umbrella, her perfume and 43 cents from her purse. Christiane Malo died two days later in a Montreal hospital. On October 15th, 1969 – a month after Teresa Martin’s murder – 16-year-old Michel Perrault was sentenced to life in prison. The judge commented:
“the police needn’t be reticent in their handling of these motorcyclists who have ganged up together into criminal bands. They needn’t wait until exhibits disappear or witnesses are threatened before moving to stop them.”Youth to trial in purse-snatch death of girl”, The Gazette, April 11, 1969
As early as 1969, Judge Jacques Anetil could see what was coming, and like Chrstiane Malo, I believe Teresa Martin was chosen at random by her biker attackers.
Language has everything to do with this story. In the Coroner testimony from the Martin case, at one point one of the girls says they hung out at a restaurant that served “french fries”. Except if you’re French, it’s pretty obvious that’s not what she said. In French she said a place that served patates frites. But no one in English would know what I meant if I said fried potatoes, so I took some liberties and called them french fries ( I could have used, chips, but that might have been more confusing).
So too with “splash”. The word “splash” is used much more in the testimony. I changed some language to “rape” or “fuck” so people would know what I was talking about. I had a hard time tracking down its meaning. I went to several French friends in Quebec and none of them had heard the term before. We all guessed it might have a sexual inference – it doesn’t take much of an imagination to draw that conclusion – but as to its origin and specific meaning we came up empty. The story of the Ottawa gang rape gets us closer to the meaning, splasher as sex slave, but there may be something more precise here. Lorraine Cotty also testified how before the gang rape a bitches brew concoction of wine and beer was poured over the young victim, so I would suggest that “splashing” was a sort of biker gang rape ritual, with any assault beginning with a full body dousing of alcohol.
Finally, a social awareness piece from 1967 in the Windsor Star spells out what “splasher” meant in biker culture. In 1967 a woman writer named Nanci Lugsdin interviewed women and girls affiliated with the Windsor, Ontario chapter of the Satan’s Choice motorcycle club. This is a biker-wife named Rebel’s account of how women functioned in the biker world:
“Club members call married women “old ladies.” and the term also applies to girls who are going steady. If “old ladies” want, they can wear the club colors with the words, “Property of Satan’s Choice” and their boyfriend’s name on it. This means “private property, hands off,” to the other club members.
Some of the girls, however, don’t go with any one member of the club, and they are called “Mommas” or “splashers.” A splasher wears just the words “Property of the Satan’s Choice” on her jacket.
But you’re ignorant if you do,” said an “old lady,” explaining that this meant you were the club prostitute.”“‘You’re really free, the wind in your hair'”, Nancy Lugsdin, The Windsor Star, August 12, 1967, page 5B
Rebel goes on to say that when the boys threw parties where there was drinking involved – like the one that allegedly took place at the MUC clubhouse – they usually left their “old ladies” behind because they didn’t want anyone messing with their property, “Usually just splashers go to parties.” Rebel also states that the public’s perception of bikers through movies is “pretty phony“:
“All that rape and murder business, I’ve never heard of stuff like that.”
I Love You French – I know it’s important to you
Did Michael French murder Teresa Martin? That’s hard to justify if the only thing we have to go on is an inscription on the body using the word, “French”. And as the SQ profiler, Marc Lepine suggested, what would French have been doing in Montreal North, he was a West End thug, usually operating in NDG, Pointe Saint Charles, and the Lachine area. Still, a biker goes where the action is, and the week of Martin’s murder, Montreal North saw some action.
On Wednesday, September 10, 1969 there was a language riot in the neighboring community of Saint Leonard. This is from the morning edition of The Montreal Gazette:
“Last night – for the first time since 1949 – the Riot Act was read as militant French unilingualists went on a wild window-smashing rampage along Jean Talon St. in suburban St. leonard.”“St. Leonard: Riot Act Read”, Derek Hill, The Gazette, September 11, 1969
As would be the case with the Murray Hill riot which would take place later the following month, in Saint Leonard the protests began as a focused demonstration then quickly spiraled out of control into shop looting and the burning of businesses and vehicles. Police made 50 arrests. A detachment of 500 Surete du Quebec officers were called in to assist the local Saint Leonard force. The Gazette’s Hal Winter described the scene:
“At a corner, one of these young men grabbed a passer-by and asked him “Parlez-vous francais?”
“Mais oui…” replied the shocked passerby. “Then” said his questioner, in an angry outburst of Italian, “This is for you.”
With that he punched him in the mouth.”
Bad blood simmered for days, the situation did not settle down until after the weekend. And I would note that you would have needed to travel through Saint Leonard in order to get to Les Galeries d’Anjou, the mall where Teresa Martin went to see a movie the night she died. So what might a Satan’s Choice member like Mike French be doing in Montreal North at that time? The same thing as any biker, going to the scene of some chaos to see how to exploit and profit from it. Further, Johanne H described parties with the Montreal North bikers where splashers participated and splashing took place. The only biker group we know who used the term spashers – whether in Ottawa or Windsor… or Montreal – were the Satan’s Choice members, and Mike French was a member of Satan’s Choice.
Viewed in this light, “French I Love You” could be interpreted as a puzzling riddle with multiple meanings. It could be a reference to the victim, who was fluent in both French and English. It could be referring directly to the murderer, Michael French, or a murderer who wished to frame Michael French. It may have a broader, ironic meaning and be commenting on the cultural environment at that time, the frustrations and anger that were boiling over in late 1969.
IRONY: BOOGALOO BOYS. WHY DID HE SAY I LOVE YOU IF HE KILLED HER? BIKERS KISS. MILITARY JACKET. SQ BIKER JERSEY
My personal belief is that “French I Love You” was a warning. Teresa Martin was chosen at random, plucked off the streets as an innocent, and killed by bikers; the tattoo, “F.L. Frenchie I Love You” left as a bleak warning to other young women in the neighborhood – who were not so innocent and served as gang prostitutes and drug runners – of what happens to girls who talk too much. And this would apply whether or not Mike French was the murderer. Different biker, same outcome, with the possibility that others, including gang girls, participated in the event.
I freely admit there are problems with this theory. Chiefly, how does Teresa Martin get from the point where she is last seen – a bus stop in a secluded, you might even call it rural at that time, part of Gouin boulevard to the tavern parking lot on Henri Bourassa? Someone didn’t follow her off the bus, it’s not that kind of murder. So a vehicle followed her and the bus from the Anjou mall to the bus stop? That seems improbable. Maybe the bus driver who said he saw her got it wrong. There’s a lot that is wrong with this case. Martin was found without identification. In the spring of 1970 detectives showed up at the Martin’s door with Teresa’s wallet. We don’t know where the wallet was found. Did someone find it on Henri Bourassa between Taverne Vieux Cypres and the MUC hangout in Anjou, or in a field along Gouin Boulevard, then turn it in to police? Knowing that would be helpful. Just as knowing where my sister’s wallet was found eventually led to, not some random college campus killing, but a sexual predator known at that time to the local police.
In 2017 a made a FOIA request to the Montreal police for any correspondence concerning Michael French. I’ve forgotten why I was interested in French at that time, but I suspect it had to do with the Sharron Prior case. The SPVM had the audacity to respond that they didn’t have any information concerning Michael French, such are the abuses of ‘freedom of information’.
A final thought. In that coroner interrogation of Johanne H, her questioners try to get her to name names. “You don’t have a name in your head?” she is asked. And she responds, “Maybe I had one”. Earlier in her testimony she stated, “I know this is important to you”, and the coroner asks, “What is important?”. Johanne H responds, “I love you French”. She doesn’t say Frenchie, she says French.
Is it possible police missed that Johanne H secretly named Teresa Martin’s murderer?
PREVIOUS PODCAST: Qu’est-ce que tu entends par Splashs? – Teresa Martin #5 / WKT5
I visited the Surete du Quebec’s cold case website this week. They now have over 230 unsolved homicides posted, of the 700 cases for which they are responsible. That’s impressive, but the same 10 stale-dated “solved” cases hasn’t changed much since 2014, when they stared the unit. This has really become something of a Vietnam memorial of ineptitude. All those names, very little to show for it. I have a theory about cold case squads. You’ll notice they always come about after decades of neglect, it’s almost like they’ve got to wait 30 years until the last active investigator is out the door and collecting his pension:
“Hey guys, can we start da cold case unit now?”
“No wait, Jean-Guy’s still working parking enforcement. Remember? He got demoted.”
“Ok, the coast is clear, everyone’s out the door, we can start da cold case now!”
This is part six of the podcast investigating the 1969 murder of 14-year-old Theresa Martin, found asphyxiated in a Montreal North tavern parking lot. Last time we heard an interrogation that took place in May 1970 of two young women by the Montreal coroner and a Crown prosecutor. The circumstances around that interrogation are unique and should be explored.
In February 1970 – five months after the murder of Teresa Martin – the Surete du Quebec took over the investigation from the Montreal North police (reasons to be discussed later). In the spring of 1970 the mother of one of the girls, Huguette D, overheard a conversation between her daughter and one of her friends, Johanne H in which Johanne H stated that she knew who killed Teresa Martin. The mother of Huguette D then narced on her daughter and went to the police, resulting in the May 21 interrogation. These interviews were conducted by Laurin Lapointe and Roch Heroux, but they were under the authority of the Surete du Quebec homicide investigator, Sergent Marcel Ste-Marie. Before going any further we should know more about these men – and they were all men – who interrogated two teenage girls for well over an hour.
Coroner Laurin Lapointe
The role of the coroner is a political appointment in Quebec. Laurin Lapointe was made corner in 1965 by then Justice Minister, Claude Wagner, and resigned in a letter to Justice Minister Jerome Choquette in 1973. In his eight years with the Montreal coroner’s office, Lapointe handled inquests into many FLQ bombing deaths, and the Blue Bird fire, an infamous nightclub arson case that resulted in the deaths of 37 patrons.
The coroner’s influence, their inquests, their interviews were essential tools to police investigation. Determining the cause of death – whether accidental, from natural causes or unnatural – was key information that could help investigators build a murder case. In 1969, the coroner’s warrant was the most powerful warrant in Canada, giving police the power to hold a suspect for extended periods. Unlike a criminal trial where a witness can refuse to testify, in the coroner’s proceedings a witness such as Huguette D or Johanne H would have had no choice but to submit to interrogation by Lapointe and Crown prosecutor Heroux :
“He has no choice, if the Crown prosecutor or myself insist… If he doesn’t testify he can be held in contempt of court.”Laurin Lapointe, “Coroner an essential link for police”, The Gazette, February 15, 1972
When five Murray Hill bus employees were brought to testify into the shooting death of Surete du Quebec undercover officer Robert Dumas after the October 1969 Murray Hill riot, it was before Laurin Lapointe’s court they appeared, after undergoing Montreal police interrogation. Lapointe later determined “no blame” could be found in the matter, even though Dumas was most likely killed by off duty police working as Murray Hill security guards. It was Coroner Lapointe who found Devil’s Disciples, Claude “Tattoo” Carrier, 18, Paul “Paulo” Prince, 19, and Andre “Benneville” Bureau, 20 criminally responsible for stabbing to death 58 times Pierre Boucher in a North End park, May 21, 1969 – one year to the date of the Huguette D and Johanne H interrogation.
Crown Prosecutor Roch Heroux
At the time of his death in 2002, Roch Heroux’s name barely registered in the Quebec newspapers, yet he was one of the most influential figures in Quebec justice in the 60s, 70s and 80s. After Laurin Lapointe’s retirement in 1973, Heroux succeeded him and presided for nearly twenty years. His name appears in the medical-legal records of many of the cases we have covered including Johanne Dorion, Francine Da Siva and Sharon Prior. Most notably he cleared police of any wrong doing in the 1978 shooting death of Marc Patenaude by six Montreal SWAT team officers.
Roch Heroux famously abandoned his duties as coroner in 1994 after he publicly expressed his frustrations of the diminished power and responsibilities of the Quebec coroner’s office. Speaking to La Presse about the work of coroners, Heroux stated, “I wouldn’t say our work is completely useless.” He resigned shortly thereafter, leaving his cases in limbo, including the controversial inquest into the death of Canadian champion swimmer and Olympic gold medalist, Victor Davis. After an altercation in a Montreal nightclub, Davis was run down by bar patron Glen Crossley. The 25-year-old swimmer later died of a brain hemorrhage. Crossley served four months in prison for manslaughter. In 2016 Crossley did it again, killing a patron after an altercation in another Montreal bar. That’s Montreal.
Don’t get me wrong, for 17 years Roch Heroux had established a well earned reputation as a tough and tenacious coroner. It’s not the man, but the office and the politics where I have issues.
Surete du Quebec Sergent Marcel Ste-Marie
What we know most about Marcel Ste-Marie is that he would later become a key figure in the October Crisis – the 1970 kidnapping of Quebec minister of Labor Pierre Laporte, and British trade minister James Cross by the terrorist group, Front de libération du Québec / FLQ which would lead to the death of Laporte.
Ste-Marie oversaw the arrest of Laporte’s kidnappers, the members of the Chénier Cell – Francis Simard, Bernard Lortie, and Paul and Jacques Rose – who were found in December 1970 hiding at a farm house in Saint Luc. Ste-Marie supervised the search of the farm house premises, and headed the investigation into Laporte’s death. He was the last witness to testify for the Crown when it closed its case in December 1972 in the Laporte Kidnapping trial. Paul Rose’s defense attorneys later accused Ste-Marie of fabricating Rose’s statement, claiming it had actually been written by a fellow police officer. In 1978 after many of the FLQ kidnappers were granted leniency by the Quebec government, Marcel Ste-Marie flew to Paris to escort Jacques and Louise Cossette-Trudel – two former members of the Liberation cell responsible for the Cross kidnapping – back to Dorval airport thus ending their eight-year Canadian exile. In the 1980s Ste-Marie retired quietly from law enforcement and was working as a security advisor for the Desjardins insurance firm.
It’s unlikely the two girls were the only witnesses interrogated by the coroner and the police. But these are the only statements we have, so that’s all we have to inform us of the direction of the investigation into the death of Teresa Martin. Was Sergent Ste-Marie in the interrogation room, but chose not to say anything? Did he observe the proceedings through the two-way glass? Or did he simply read stenographer Andre Gauthier’s notes when the report was later placed on his desk? We don’t know (Note that Gauthier was also the stenographer for a brief corner’s interrogation in the Sharon Prior murder investigation).
What were the true motivations of investigators in hauling in two teenaged girls – who had been ratted out by one of their parents – then having one of them admit to being repeatedly gang-raped? The window into 14-year-old Johanne D’s existence in Montreal North is chilling. In exchange for probably a dipped soft-serve and the occasional ride on the back of a chopper, she was forced to act as an indentured servant to these boys and men, to clean up after them and to have sex with them at their will. A listener remarked, ‘didn’t the police care that a sexual assault had occurred?‘, and one could argue, no, that those were the harden optics of that era. But I would go further and suggest that the police, the coroner, and Crown prosecutor did not appear even that interested in the matter of Teresa Martin’s murder let alone the allegation of sexual exploitation of minors.
Last week I was granted an interview with the Surete du Quebec to question them on the Teresa Martin case. When I asked why the Surete du Quebec assumed control of the investigation in February, 1970 – a mere five months after Martin was found asphyxiated – I was told that they knew the reason but could not tell me, and that it had nothing to do with the Montreal Nord police’s investigative capacities. I pressed and suggested that the logical agency t take control would have been Montreal’s Metropolitan police force, the MUC (now known as the SPVM). This tactic was met with silence so I pressed further, that the real reason was La MUC. That the Montreal Police had created the biker club, it was funded by the Quebec government, and now that they had a crisis on their hands and the possibility that a murder had been committed by MUC members at the MUC cabane on the premises of the property given to La MUC by British Petroleum and the town of Anjou, that they needed distance, a buffer between the case and the investigation force to quell any suspicions and questions. From this I was told, “No, no, no” a little too emphatically.
In the interrogation of Huguette D and Johanne H, La MUC is mentioned over fifty times. If you consider the world the two girls describe, it mainly unfolds at their schools and at the restaurant, Varietes, in the Charlesroi / Lamoureux area – not far from where Teresa Martin lived and was found. It is mainly the coroner who leads the discussion to the location of La MUQ. It is the coroner who comes back repeatedly to the Cabane at 9000 Henri Bourassa east. We are never taken to to the bus stop on Gouin blvd. where Teresa Martin was last seen. The girls are never asked about the Taverne Vieux Cypres where her body was found. So is the line of questioning about determining who killed Teresa Martin, or is it really about damage control, who knew what and when about La MUC? I would suggest to you that it’s a bit of both.
Unlike 1969, La MUQ is never mentioned in the press in 1970 or thereafter. There are no interviews with John Dazell. There are no photo ops with Quebec tourism ministers on motorbikes. When Dazell retired in the 1990s he talked about his exploits back in the day working with dangerous bikers, but he never mentioned his founding of La MUQ.
As it is to this day, in 1970 the coroner’s office was located in the same building as the Surete du Quebec, working on the sixth floor and the basement morgue at 1701 Parthenais, too close a proximity to a police force it was supposed to hold at arms length (there was an article in this week’s La Presse cataloguing the 60 year association between the SQ and Quebec politics, a relationship writer Denis Lessard deemed too close). Also recall that we have spoken before about Quebec’s president of the John Howard Society, Jean-Claude Bernheim. When I asked Jean-Claude in 2019 if it would be possible for a coroner to lie in the interest of the police his response was immediate, “fully”.
So I would argue that when all the investigative leads in the Martin case started leading back to La MUQ – back to a Frankenstein monster Quebec justice authorities had spawned – they needed to execute a plan of damage control. They placed the case under the authority of the Surete du Quebec, they tried to assess the level of damage, their possible risk and exposure, and they nervously waited for the public to get distracted again, as they always do.
They didn’t have to wait long. The October Crisis was the perfect moment, an opportunity to turn people’s focus toward a common goal of seeking justice. And the SQ’s Sergent Marcel Ste-Marie wasn’t the only one who later became caught up in matters of the October Crisis. It was Coroner Laurin Lapointe who made the official determination that Pierre Laporte had been strangled to death by a thin chain – probably his own that had held a religious medal such as a crucifix. After the trials, Lapointe quietly retired due to “declining health” and Roch Heroux assumed his responsibilities as Montreal’s new coroner.
The Confines of Memory
In July 1970 Margaret Coleman and her traveling companion, Margaret Jones took a Greyhound bus from New York City to Montreal. The two California college students planned to spend the summer on a cross-country vacation. They briefly visited Man and his World, site of the 1967 World’s fair. Carrying little more than sleeping rolls, Coleman and Jones were last seen at a traffic circle in Saint Hubert, about 10 miles East of Montreal. Their bodies were found by a farmer the morning of July 9, 1970 on the side of the road near Saint Jean sur Richelieu. They had either jumped or been pushed from a speeding car. Margaret Coleman died of skull fractures. Margaret Jones was seriously injured, and rushed unconscious to Notre Dame hospital suffering from a severe concussion and loss of memory.
Margaret Jones recovered from her injuries and returned to California. The matter was soon forgotten. Margaret Coleman’s death has never been solved. Much more could have been done by authorities, but Quebec police quickly lost interest in the fall of 1970s with the emergence of The October Crisis, and police focused all their energies on hunting the responsible parties. The matter of a young women found dead along a country road was soon forgotten. Given the urgency of the crisis, some of this was warranted, but it soon became the modus operandi of Quebec law enforcement. As a colleague and former Ontario police officer put it to me, “… the SQ is obsessed with bikers and financial crimes and the city cops obsessed with nothing.”
In the Fall of 1970, Surete du Quebec officers traveled to Los Angeles to meet with Margaret Jones and assist her in developing a composite sketch of her friend, Margaret Coleman’s possible killer. One might think this demonstrated some diligence, but the SQ’s journey had more to do with their ongoing obsessions. The Saint Hubert traffic circle where they were last seen was less than a mile from the house in Saint Hubert where Chenier cell members held Pierre Laporte. The county road where their bodies were found was close to a tunnel where Paul and Jacques Rose were eventually found hiding. If Jones’ information helped to build the case against the Rose brothers, the trip to Los Angeles was a worthy investment, otherwise it held little purpose for the investigators. To this day, the Surete du Quebec have not posted Margaret Coleman’s case on their unsolved website.
Where Are They Now?
There was Zipper and Gazou, Crazy Horse and Chopper and Ti-Me. So what became of these bikers and alleged aggressors… possibly murderers? Listeners have found some of them on social media, older and grizzled, still a passion for bikes. Marcel “Mars” Servant married a topless dancer and had a child. In 1974 he was convicted of armed robbery. Later he kidnapped his daughter and was on the run for 3 1/2 years before the law caught up with him hiding out in Hare Krishna communities in the United States and Western Canada. In 1984 he was given a year in prison and three years probation. Paul-Emile Simard, also known as Shifter, died in a house fire in Rockland in 2014. The El Rebel, Jean-Guy Cossette became a semi-professional motorbike racer, working the Quebec circuit. Yves Palardy was shot to death in the East-End of Montreal in 1976. Devils Disciples member, Richard Vaillancourt appeared to have been burnt out of his home and was living in his garage for 10 weeks in 1982, though it’s a common name.
Coco Langevin, Gaetan Renaud, Raymond Borosco, Jean-Guy’s brother, the other El Rebel, Mick Cossette? We don’t know. Was Teresa Martin tattooed and asphyxiated at the MUQ cabane in the shadow of the British Petroleum refinery, or perhaps back at Sylvie’s apartment where the boys occasionally stayed along Charlesroi? We don’t know. But someone knows.
I asked the Surete du Quebec about tracking down some of these people and questioning them, but before we get to that, I asked them, what are some of the tools a cold case investigator uses for clearing unsolved murders. This is a summary of the response:
- They review the case files.
- If there is case evidence, they resubmit the samples for laboratory testing.
- If someone calls the cold case hotline ( 1-800-659-4264) they follow up on the call, or any emailed information.
I suggested that – given so much evidence in these cases has been destroyed by the police – that this didn’t leave much to do. How do the 25 cold case investigators occupy their time? The math doesn’t work. We returned to an old question, one I had asked many years ago in the matter of my sister’s murder, shouldn’t investigators go out to the public, knock on doors, and re-interview some of the witnesses. At the time that I originally asked this question over a decade ago I was met with the surprisingly incredulous response, “Surely you don’t expect us to go door to door?!”.
Yes. Yes I do. And I put the same question to the Surete du Quebec last week in the matter of Teresa Martin. In fact, I asked the question three times; Shouldn’t the police go back and question these people, the ones still alive? Someone may have had a change of heart, a change of life circumstances. Where once they were silent, they may be ready to talk now. They’re not going to voluntarily call you up on your 800 number, you have to go to them.
‘Well that would take too much effort. We don’t have the time, we aren’t resources for that.’
Then what is your purpose? Did Johanne H have a name in her head? Would she speak that name now? Shouldn’t the Surete du Quebec be talking to Johanne H, and her then boyfriend, the former Hells Rebel, Richard “Pepilo” Sears?
May 21, 1970 interrogation of two witnesses by Coroner Laurin Lapointe and Crown Attorney Roch Heroux into the murder of Theresa Martin:
- Johanne H
- Huguette D
NEXT PODCAST: Engrenages -You don’t have a name in your head? – Teresa Martin #6 / WKT5
PREVIOUS PODCAST: Le Sadique Meurtrier -Teresa Martin / WKT5 #3
Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed; everything else is public relations. – George Orwell
In April 1969 Montreal Police launched La MUQ or Association of United Motorcyclists of Quebec / La Fédération des Motocyclistes unis du Québec, “formed with the full backing of government and police officials.” La MUQ’s figurehead was constable John Dalzell, a youthful cop who worked with bikers in one of Quebec’s earliest community policing programs. La MUQ was formed as a means of controlling the all-out war that had broken out between rival motorcycle gangs. Within six months, 10 clubs comprising 700 riders – the majority from the Montreal area – were brought under the umbrella of La MUQ to bring peace to the streets, or in Dalzell’s words to attain, “better club relations through sports.”
Dalzell worked for the Montreal Police’s “Youth Section’s Prevention Sub-Section”, which tells you, right out of the gate police vastly underestimated the sweeping criminal potential of bikers. Montreal Police brokered a deal with the town of Anjou and British Petroleum Limited (BP Oil) who in 1969 agreed to designate a portion of their east-end refinery campus for a biker club house and racing area, with a track for the bikers. Located at 9000 East Henri Bourassa, the biker area was vast, accommodating a “scrambling” zone, cross-country terrain and a wooded section for trail blazing.” In short, large enough where the bikers could conduct their business away from the prying eyes of the community and law enforcement.
It gets better. The Quebec provincial government awarded La MUQ a $3,600 grant to “get the association on the road“, essentially giving the bikers seed money to plant the early rooting of Quebec’s biker problem. Though well intentioned, these efforts demonstrated a complete lack of understanding of biker culture, especially the example of the Hells Angels, who were not yet established in Quebec, but nevertheless would have had a profound influence on clubs like the Death Riders, Dead Men, Cave Men, Outsiders, Les Gorilles, Playboys, Arch Angels, Phantoms and the Popeyes. As former Bandido Ed Winterhalder put it, the outlaw culture of the Hells was, “100 percent in the opposite direction that mainstream society was going in”, right down to the biker’s kiss. Contrast this with the Montreal Police’s Youth Section’s goal of achieving, “better understanding of the motorcyclists by the public.”
The inaugural event of the newly formed partnership between police and Quebec bikers was a motorcycle rally. On May 24th, 1969 police prepared for 300 MUQ members for a Saturday morning, 80-mile bike run. When 30 cyclists showed up, policed blamed the funeral of a slain biker that was held on the same morning. No doubt this was the murder of Pierre Boucher, a Popeyes MC member stabbed 58 times in a north-end park by three rivals in the Devil’s Disciples. What should have been an ominous red flag was blithely ignored by government officials who carried on with their tin-pan parade. The poor turnout didn’t stop Provincial Minister of Tourism, Fish and Game Gabriel Loubier from posing with some bikers on the seat of a jacked-up Norton gushing, “I used to ride a bike myself.”
None of this phased the Montreal Police Department. On the six-month anniversary of the founding of La MUQ they praised the program and efforts of John Dalzell. In October 1969 – about a month into the Teresa Martin murder investigation – Dalzell and 15 MUQ members met with government officials to give a progress report, or rather they intercepted Minister Loubier’s chauffeur-driven Cadillac in downtown Montreal and the squad of bikers – led by Dalzell, riding his police issued unmarked motorcycle, dressed in jeans and a brown leather jacket – escorted the tourism minister to the meeting. No one batted-an-eye at these ham-fisted stunts.
Surrounded by Loubier, Dalzell, Police Director Jean-Paul Gilbert and other Quebec officials, a scruffy looking Anthony “Tony” Gervais proceeded to give an account of how the bikers had spent $3,600 of the public’s money ( we have no record of this inventory). In his next breath Gervais asked for an expansion of the MUQ program, now requesting $15,400 for, “a winter sports program, the upkeep of the land that Ville d’Anjou and British Petroleum Canada Limited had loaned them, and the establishment of a monthly journal.” Clearly the bikers had learned very early that the key to success was to go legit. One wonders what went through the heads of the stoney-faced gentlemen in suites and ties as they sat through this spectacle. Did any of them sense the dangerous precedent, the uncomfortable alliance that was being established between the police, biker, and the Quebec government? What terrible blemish was slouching towards Ville d’Anjou?
Any early warning signs were quickly swept away by John Dalzell who explained that a “few bad apples were responsible for the bad motorcycle gang image“. He then went on to explain how the City of Montreal was now prepared to lend the bikers some prime real estate in the Plateau region to further expand their operations. “This will be our headquarters”, the young constable explained – now including himself among the membership of the group he was sworn to protect the public from – “we’re supposed to get it next week.” Dalzell ended his sermon stating the scheme to unite clubs had come a long way, “and a lot of people not directly involved think so too.” What exactly did that mean?
In November 1969, La MUQ held their first general meeting – oddly at Montreal’s Botanical Gardens – no doubt to ratify articles of incorporation and adopt the minutes of biker business (was there a quarum? Did they follow Robert’s Rules?). Again, Montreal Police Director Jean-Paul Gilbert was on hand, this time to hand out a vast array of trophies that would make the NHL awards look inadequate.
Murder, Incorporated was the brand created in the early days of the Italian-American Mafia, emphasizing how the mob had adapted the principles of American business culture. Like Murder, Inc. the Quebec bikers were learning at the hands of Quebec government agencies how to organize and pass as legitimate community members.
Not all MUQ members were hard-core bikers. Some were law-abiding motorcycle clubs trying to bridge a gap between their perceived culture and their desire to rebel under the rules of society. But the Popeyes and their most notorious member, Yves “Apache” Trudeau were also members of MUQ. They would have been cunning enough to seized the opportunity to exploit their new relationships with the police and the Quebec government. When initially approached by Dalzell to join the newly established MUQ the response from the Popeyes was said to have been “enthusiastic”.
John Dalzell was no rube. He had worked for years as an undercover narcotics agent, long-haired and bearded, infiltrating the Popeyes biker gang heroin operations. So it is surprising to find him in a 1997 Gazette piece commemorating his retirement – he ended his career as the SPVM’s director of public relations – wistfully remembering how he once gave a motorcycle ride to who the Gazette rather casually referred to as “one of Canada’s most infamous serial bombers”. “I’ll always remember the face of Yves Trudeau”, stated Dalzell. One would hope so. Trudeau was a serial killer in the employment of the Popeyes, then later with the Hells Angels, responsible for the murders of over 43 men and women.
Many would have you believe the Popeyes were misunderstood, their true purpose was to act as vigilantes protecting the under-represented and the innocent. When Johnny Hallyday toured Quebec in March of 1969, the Popeyes acted as a security detail for the famed French singer. As one MUQ supporter proclaimed the concerts “didn’t have anywhere near the same outcome” as what eventually unfolded at Altamont in December 1969 when Meredith Hunter was stabbed to death by the Hells Angels. Never mind that twenty-three kilos of heroin had been smuggled into Canada in one of Hallyday’s guitar amplifiers. When taxi drivers rioted in October 1969 about the English Murray Hill’s monopoly over Montreal’s Dorval airport, the Popeyes were there again to provide protection and an escort. Never mind that the police had gone on strike and the Popeyes seized the perfect opportunity for destruction and looting.
In the 1997 Gazette article, the early efforts of the Montreal Police through La MUQ were depicted as nothing but a success, important pioneering work of police community outreach. In Dalzell’s words:
“I got together the two heads of the Popeyes and the Devil’s Disciples. I sat them down and I said, “You guys keep on fighting, and we’re going to put you out of business.”John Dalzell, The Gazette, July 18, 1997
Commendable efforts, but the exact opposite happened. Bikers kept fighting and it could be argued the police put them in business.
In establishing La MUQ the Quebec government and the Montreal Police offered gangs like the Popeyes a road to legitimacy. You can draw a line from April 1969 all the way to August 1995 when shrapnel from a biker bomb killed 11-year Daniel Desrochers in the streets of Hochelaga-Maisonneuve. By then the biker war was in full bloom, and the Hells Angels were in complete control of the province of Quebec.
John Dalzell knew the destructive potential of gangs like the Popeyes and riders like Trudeau, yet he always held a romantic opinion of biker culture, maintaining that the warlike image of Quebec biker gangs was created by what he called, “a few bad apples in the barrel.”
“Perhaps in the future we will be able to organize sports competitions among the clubs and bring them back to their original purpose, the enjoyment of motorcycling.”John Dalzell, The Gazette, July 10, 1968
The MUQ experiment slowly petered out, going quietly into the night after three years. You never hear of La MUQ anymore, most likely because by the end of the 70s many Quebec biker gangs like the Popeyes patched over into the Hells Angels, and Quebec Police finally saw the true criminal potential of a very organized outlaw biker operation. Today La Fédération Motocycliste du Québec (now known as FMQ, the progression of MUQ) is truly a legitimate organization of amateur motorcycle enthusiasts with over 3,000 members, riding for the pleasure of the open roads of Quebec and beyond. In a way, part of John Dalzell’s earnest wish came true.
Some of you may now ask, what does La MUQ have to do with the Teresa Martin murder investigation? I am not the one making the connection between the Martin murder and a forgotten motorcycle club. It was the Quebec police in the spring of 1970 who made that connection. For more information, listen to the the next podcast episode on the Teresa Martin case.
“Ten young women have been strangled in Quebec in the last three years – Is there one or several killers?”
PREVIOUS PODCAST: F.L. FRENCHY I LOVE YOU – Teresa Martin / WKT5 #2
NEXT PODCAST: La MUQ – Teresa Martin / WKT5 #4
Forget about everything you know that came after. For now, it’s February 1970, and this is the tag line presented at the beginning of that month in Allo Police:
“Are there truly in the streets of Montreal and its region, one of these monster murderers, or one of these sexual maniacs we know and have seen in the pages of books and in movies who violate their victims, their prey of choice being young girls at the flower of their youth?
The following are eight young girls, murdered by strangulation with the murderer still being sought:
- Celine Gagnon, age 22, December 28, 1966 in Quebec.
- Norma Vaillancourt, age 21, July 23, 1968 in Montreal.
- Claudia Beauvais, age 22, July 8, 1969 in Verdun.
- Teresa Martin, age 14, September 13, 1969 in Montreal.
- Shirley Audette, age 20, October 3, 1969 in Montreal.
- Marielle Archambault, age 20, November 26, 1969 in Montreal.
- Linda Silverman, age 15, January 4, 1970 in Piedmont.
- Jean Way, age 24, January 17, 1970 in Montreal.
Of the eight cases of young woman strangled, four do not appear connected, but the other four appear to be of the same origin. From this was born the theory of the existence of several stranglers for the first cases, and the possibility of one true maniac-strangler of the kind the city of Boston knew a few years ago for the other four.”
Allo Police then provides profiles of the eight cases, beginning with the four cases they believe are not connected. A summary:
She lived in a basement apartment with several friends at 53 rue des Epinettes in the Limoilou quarter of Quebec City. She worked as a secretary at at a hospital in the city. She was attacked on her way home from worked around 5;15 pm, the evening of December 28, 1966 . When she screamed her assailant stabbed her in the face then proceeded to strangle and rape her. When police found the body, her clothing had been strewn about the crime scene. Robbery was not the motive as her purse was found nearby and the money was untouched. Her body appeared staged, as though it was placed carefully in the snow.
Claudia Beauvais was a 22-year-old First Nations woman from the Caughnawaga ( Kahnawake ) reserve on the south shore of Montreal. The paper describes her as having the “mental state of a 4 to 5-year-old-child”, she was interned at the Douglas Memorial Psychiatric Institute in Verdun since 1965. She received treatment, but was not confined to a room or ward, free to roam outside the institution and to visit her parents on weekends. On the evening of July 3, 1969, Claudia went to see a movie screened at the Douglas campus but did not return to her room. On July 8th her mutilated body was found hidden in some bushes. Allo Police states, “it was evident a veritable human monster was responsible as the butchery was indescribable.” Allo Police then goes on to describe the butchery – I will not describe it. Police did not suspect one of the other 2,000 patients at the Douglas Institute, the premises were searched and no blood or evidence was found within the residences. Suspicions were cast on a visitor, or possibly an out-patient.
What’s said ( or not said ) about Martin five months after her murder is informative. She appeared much older than her 14-years, but she lived with her parents, and had regular habits. She attended the convent, Regina Sancta / Regina Assumpta where she was a “brilliant student”. On the evening of her death she received permission to go to the movies at Galeries d’Anjou – again Allo Police stresses to see the film “Jeux pervers”. She took the number 41 bus home around 11 pm. Approximately four hours later her body was found in the parking lot of the Vieux Cypres taverne on Henri Bourassa approximately a mile from her home. She was seated against the wall of the taverne, in bare feet without shoes, and the autopsy revealed she had been asphyxiated. Her clothing was not disheveled. She probably died when her assailant placed his hand over her mouth to stop her from screaming. Allo Police states she was “definitely not raped” – and here we get some new information – and she was possibly killed for “some revenge”. Finally they point to the mysterious tattoo on her abdomen, “F.V. Frenchy I Love You”, and that this was made after her death. There were no traces of drugs or alcohol in her system, and police were still searching for her assassin.
15-year old Linda Silverman was found murdered January 4, 1970 in the Piedmont / Laurentian region north of Montreal. Silverman was from an affluent family – her father was the psychiatrist, Doctor Marvin Silverman – and lived in Ottawa. She was found dead in a snowbank. The body showed no sign of violence, no rape, except she had been strangled from the cord on her ski jacket. Linda had been with a friend, Kareen Eidinger spending the weekend skiing near Sainte-Agathe and Saint-Sauveur, just north of Saint Jerome.
The Silverman murder reminds me a little bit of the death of Suzanne Yelle, found July 14, 1984 on the side of the road in Mont-Tremblant. She had been out drinking the night before in the Saint Jovite area.
Allo Police next presents four cases that in their opinion are connected:
Norma Vaillancourt was found naked on the bed of her Davidson street apartment in Montreal on July 23, 1968. The 21-year-old student had been sexually assaulted, police suspected her assailant knew her as there had been no forced entry into the apartment. Her assailant removed the sheets and pillowcases from the apartment, and washed the dead victim’s body before leaving.
Audette was found 15 months later, October 3, 1969 strangled in a backyard near her Dorchester Blvd. apartment in Montreal. The 20-year-old was a former patient of the Douglas Memorial Psychiatric Institute in Verdun. Like Norma Vaillancourt, police initially believed Audette died by accident or suicide. Like Vailancourt, she had been raped and strangled. Audette had bite marks on her breasts. Her boyfriend, Kenneth Ehlert noted that prior to her murder, Audette had been nervous and unable to sleep. When in this state, it was Audette’s habit to sit outside of her apartment building.
Less than two months later, November 26, 1969, 20-year-old Marielle Archambault was found dead on the couch of her apartment on Ontario avenue in Montreal. Again, police believed she had died of natural causes or had committed suicide. Again, the autopsy indicated Archambault had been raped and strangled. Again, there were bite marks on her breasts. Archambault worked at a jewelry store in Place Ville Marie. On the day of her murder she was observed in the jewelry store with a sauve young man who she introduced as “Bill”. The two left together from the jewelry store at the end of Archambault’s shift.
24-year-old Jean Way, shared an apartment with a friend on Lincoln street in Montreal. Both young women worked at the Royal Victoria hospital. On January 16, 1970 her boyfriend, Brian Caulfield found Way strangled on her bed. She had been sexually assaulted, but there were no signs of mutilation. Authorities believed her assailant was interrupted when earlier in the evening her boyfriend showed up for a planned date. No one answered when he knocked at the door.
By the time of the Jean Way murder, the city descended into a state of mayhem pondering the possibility of “The Montreal Strangler”. Then quite suddenly, the strangulation murders stopped. What we know now – and most of you have already guessed – is that the finally three murders – Audette, Archambault and Way – were the work of the serial killer, Wayne Boden who by February had fled Montreal and would commit one final murder in Calgary – the strangulation of high school teacher, Elizabeth Anne Porteous – before his apprehension. Allo Police tried to assure their readership that the Montreal Strangler did not exist, but “The Murderous Sadist truly existed”.
Celine Gagnon, age 22, December 28, 1966 in Quebec City : In 1972 a young man from Sept-Iles walked into a police station and declared himself the murderer of Celine Gagnon. Because he was a juvenile offender at the time of the murder, a judge sentenced him to 23 months in prison. The Gagnon family took a civil action to court demanding reimbursements totaling $21,072.14 to cover funeral expenses for their daughter. The courts denied restitution.
Norma Vaillancourt, age 21, July 23, 1968 in Montreal: Because of the similar m.o. – found naked in her apartment – Wayne Boden was initially believed to have murdered Norma Vaillancourt. In 1994, Raymond Sauve was convicted in the death of Vaillancourt and sentenced to ten years in prison.
Claudia Beauvais, age 22, July 8, 1969 in Verdun: Beauvais was from the Kahnawake native reserve. Because she was First Nations Beavais’ case generated little media attention. Initially a 34-year-old taxi driver from Toronto was held for questioning when he was seen lurking near the wooded area where Beauvais was found. Later a 35-year-old Montrealer became a suspect. By mid-July, police gave a statement, “The condition of the victim’s body leads us to believe we are dealing with a mentally-deranged person who may strike again.” In 1973 attention turned to an offender named William “Bill” Market (also known as Bill Mason and Bill Reid), suspected of killing three women since 1969. Market went to trial for the 1973 stabbing death of Christine Harding in her St. Antoine street apartment. Harding had been a patient at the Douglas Memorial Psychiatric Institute in Verdun. Market was originally from Verdun, and suspected of the death of Beauvais. He was set to stand trial for her murder, but the Crown ultimately withdrew the charge. Claudia Beauvais murder remains unsolved.
Teresa Martin, age 14, September 13, 1069 in Montreal: for an update on this case please listen to future podcasts.
Shirley Audette, age 20, October 3, 1969 in Montreal: Wayne Boden confessed to the murders of Shirley Audette, Marielle Archambault, and Jean Way, and was sentenced to three life terms.
Marielle Archambault, age 20, November 26, 1969 in Montreal: Wayne Boden confessed to the murders of Shirley Audette, Marielle Archambault, and Jean Way, and was sentenced to three life terms.
Jean Way, age 24, January 17, 1970 in Montreal: Wayne Boden confessed to the murders of Shirley Audette, Marielle Archambault, and Jean Way, and was sentenced to three life terms.
Linda Silverman, age 15, January 4, 1970 in Piedmont: Silverman came from a very prominent Ottawa family. Accordingly, her murder received front page coverage in he Canadian media. By the summer of 1970, the Quebec department of Justice was offering a $5,000 reward for information on the case. Near the one-year anniversary of her death, a coroner’s inquest was ordered. Despite a medical expert testifying that Silverman was effectively hanged, police were now operating on a theory that the 15-year-old girl may have died accidentally. By January 12, 1971 the inquest was shuttered with the head lawyer stating, “The inquest will reopen only when I feel a new piece of testimony will shed light on the case.” The inquest was never reopened. Linda Silverman’s death remains unsolved.
When Wayne Boden was finally arrested in 1971, Quebec police immediately took credit for Calgary’s efforts. Montreal police homicide cop, Guy Gaudreau stated the strangulation murders were, “one of the toughest cases we’ve ever had to solve.” The lack of humility and perspective is ear-ringing. Boden was only collared for the Montreal murders when an observant Calgary journalist tipped Montreal police that the slaying of Elizabeth Anne Porteous looked a lot like Montreal’s “vampire killer”. Montreal police spent hundreds of hours searching for the man named “Bill” who they believed was the killer. They even produced a mysterious photo of their alleged suspect who ultimately turned out to be one of the victim’s fathers. Once in custody, Boden immediately and freely admitted to the murders of the three Montreal women. Montreal police’s ‘toughest case to solve’ was essentially handed to them on a silver platter.
For more information, listen to the podcast.
When the time is right, I’ll tell you what happened to Dorion and Tremblay. Not now. I need a break from the 1970s.
PREVIOUS PODCAST: Pattern Recognition – Teresa Martin / WKT5 #1
NEXT PODCAST: Le Sadique Meurtrier -Teresa Martin / WKT5 #3
Teresa Martin was meant to be found like that – displayed against the wall of that tavern on a Saturday morning, for families to see the ambulance and the squad cars as they drove on their way to hockey practice or garden centres, so it would be the topic of conversation all that weekend, and into Monday morning for the local boys and girls going to school. That’s certain.
Teresa Martin: What the public knew / What the public has forgotten
On Monday morning, September 15, 1969, The Montreal Gazette reported that 14-year-old Theresa Martin was found unconscious on a sidewalk by a passing bystander in Montreal North. The bystander tried to question her, but found her unresponsive. Rushed by ambulance to the Sacre Coeur hospital, she was pronounced dead on arrival. According to further reporting by The Gazette, the autopsy confirmed she was not “sexually molested but her body was mutilated by her assailant.” Carved on her abdomen with a knife or needle was a tattoo reading, “F.V. French I Love You.” The cause of death was determined to be “suffocation”. According to The Gazette, she had a bruised lip and had been “struck twice behind the head with a blunt instrument.” At the time police were still looking for Theresa Martin’s “shoes, earrings, and scarf which had been removed from her body.” On the one year anniversary of her death, The Gazette ran a recap story of the Martin murder but this time the “crude inscription” was noted as reading, “F.L. Frenchy I Love You.”
The French language newspaper, La Presse also ran a story on September 15, 1969, but with more details of the murder. Andre Beauvais reported that Theresa Martin lived at 6380 rue Levis in Montreal North, about a 1/2 from where she was found. Martin was 14-years-old (in some versions she is 13 or 15), and she was found by the bystander around 3:30 in the morning in a “seated position” against the wall of the Vieux Cypres taverne at 6715 boulevard Henri-Bourassa. She was without shoes and had marks of violence on her face. This reporter stated that the tattoo read, “Frenchy, I love you”, accompanied by the initials, “F.V.”. In addition to the missing shoes, earrings and glasses, Martin didn’t have any identification papers in her possession ( wallet. purse, etc…). The article suggests the tattoo was made simultaneously with her murder.
According to La Presse, Martin left her home on Friday evening, September 12 to go to the movies with friends. She was last seen around midnight. The police spent the weekend interviewing several of Martin’s friends and her parents. Her mother and father told the police to their knowledge Theresa didn’t frequent the company of bikers, who might engage in tattoo rituals. Montreal North Police Sergant Gilbert Dorion stated, “This was a young girl from a good family… She was an adolescent who was very physically developed for her age.” The paper suggested that maybe “F.V.” were the initials of the “sexual maniac” that attacked her.
By the end of September, Michel Auger of La Presse reported that a reward was being offered for information that would assist in solving the murder of Theresa Martin. Police had six officers working the case. During the autopsy, Dr. Jean Hould surmised that someone might have held their hand over Martin’s mouth to prevent her from screaming, thereby asphyxiated her. In this iteration of the story the tattoo is said to have been inscribed, “Frenchie, I love you, F.V.” in “big letters across her belly”. Auger asks the question, “Is this a sinister maniac who wants to leave his signature on his crime, or a clever murderer who wants to send the police down the wrong path?” For the first time we are told that the sunglasses she was wearing that night were missing. Further, there were no indications of drugs or alcohol in her system, and police again insisted Martin did not associate herself with motorcycle gangs.
The French daily Montreal Matin spent most of their reporting focusing on the tattoo ( though they unfortunately publish the message as, “F.V. French I Love You!”, with an exclamation point within quotations). They suggest that the “F.V.” of the tattoo may be the initials of the inscriber, and that, “they may have been involved in the affair.” It’s also worth noting here that both Montreal Matin and La Presse state that doctor Jean-Paul Valcourt of the crime medical laboratory concluded that the tattoo had been carved at least two weeks prior to her death, as the scars were not fresh but had not yet healed. These reports later turned out to be false, the confusion caused by the manner of the tattoo – the cuts were not deep like a traditional tattoo and therefore did not require time to heal, meaning they were done fast and improvised.
Photo Police gives us yet another version of the tattoo inscription reporting it was. “”I love you french” avec les initiales V.L.” that was inscribed, and stating that police are pondering whether this is the mark of a sadistic individual, or from a band of bikers. The article says the marking is “very recent” and “may have been made after her death.” They also publish a photo of M. Cyr standing next to the tavern wall.
Up to this point, the reporting is what you’d expect. Inconsistent, missing some facts and detail, but that’s what you’d expect when the journalists are at the mercy of what the police are feeding them. Then the Journal De Montreal takes a vastly different tact and begins with a full-court-press approach of victim blaming. The byline in their September 15th article is, “Victime de la drogue?” The Journal De Montreal spends an entire paragraph on a drug theory which includes the damning statement, “A rumor persists that the young girl succumbed from a large ingestion of drugs”, a rumor which could only have been started, here, in the September 15th edition of the Journal de Montreal, as this was the first day of any reporting on the matter. They go on, “However the father did not make any statement that could link his daughter’s death to drugs.” What father could?
In the days that followed, the Journal De Montreal would not let up with their “drug theory”. They restate it in a September 16th piece, and then double-down on their malicious and false reporting:
“The thing that is certain, the young Montreal North resident was not murdered; the autopsy will prove that right away. Most likely, she was encouraged by her companions to take drugs and this resulted in her death.”Journal de Montreal, September 16, 1969, Page 4.
After the autopsy is performed and it is proven conclusively that there were no drugs or alcohol in Teresa Martin’s system does the Journal de Montreal clarify and apologize for their errors? No, they simply never report on the case again. If all of this sounds vaguely familiar, it is exactly what the JdM did in my sister Theresa’s case nearly a decade later. You can read all about that over at this post ( click the link).
On Sunday, September 21, 1969 The Quebec tabloid, Allo Police runs a full-page story on the Theresa Martin murder, and it is here we see more complete details on the case. Theresa leaves her parents’ home that Friday evening for a night at the movies, accompanied by “two young people”. When she fails to return home, her father reports her missing to the police. It is then her father who makes the identification early that morning at the Montreal morgue on rue Parthenais. Allo describes the words inscribed on her abdomen as, “F.V. Frenchie I love you”, and states it was impossible to determine if the cutting occurred before or after the murder. Occurring after the murder seems improbable as the bystander stated she was alive at the time he found her, and died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. Again we are told that Theresa Martin didn’t have any connections with bikers, and therefore these marks could not have been part of some initiation ritual, known to occur in the biker milieu or in the world of “beatniks”. Allo Police ends their story stating the drama that has unfolded in Montreal North is a “complete mystery”.
In October Allo Police runs a two-page feature on Teresa Martin – by this time she is referred to by the French spelling of the name – in which it is revealed that her father has hired a private investigator to assist in solving the crime. In this article we are told police now think she may have been suffocated by having a plastic bag pulled over her head, and that the blows to the back of her skull may have been caused when she was placed up against the wall in the parking lot of the Tavern Vieux Cypres. The bystander who discovered her was a M. Pierre Cyr, who resided in an apartment above the Taverne Vieux Cypres. She appeared to him to be asleep, but when he tried to speak to her she was unresponsive. The tattoo is described as, “F.V. Frenchy I love you”. This time Allo Police definitively states that the tattoo was made after the murder, which one can surmise means that M. Cyr was mistaken when he thought she was alive – though why an ambulance would have been called is anybody’s guess.
In this article we begin to get a little more detail about Teresa’s home life. We are told she was a very ordered girl, from a very regular family. Her mother was the headmistress / directrice of a private school. Teresa attended the private school, the “convent” College Regina Sancta / Regina Assumpta. Theresa is described as a “brilliant student”. We are also told that Theresa was fluently bilingual, a good girl, and was never seen in the realm of bikers. The article confirms there were no traces of alcohol or drugs in her system.
Her closest friend was a 12-year-old girl named Sylvie Perron whose father, Maurice had a country ranch called Bonanza on the island of Laval. Maurice considered Teresa like his own daughter, and the two girls would spend weekends at the ranch, camping and riding horses. Teresa and Sylvie were planning a summer trip to Florida. Sylvie described Teresa as very exceptional in her habits.
On the night of her disappearance, Teresa obtained special permission from her parents to travel to the Galeries d’Ajou mall with two friends. Allo Police states that the the film they chose to see was “Jeux Pervers”. At the end of the evening she got on bus 41 bound for the intersection of boulevards Leger and Lacordaire in the vicinity of her neighborhood. A bus driver later questioned stated that he saw her disembark from his bus later that evening at the corners of boulevards Gouin and Rolland, about a two block walk from her Leger apartment building. It is here that we lose her trail. There is no sighting of Teresa after she leaves the bus until M. Cyr discovers her under four hours later against the wall of the Taverne Vieux Cypres.
WHAT IS GOING ON HERE? For an analysis of the media reporting, please listen to the podcast.
NEXT PODCAST: F.L. FRENCHY I LOVE YOU – Teresa Martin / WKT5 #2
I pitch this story. Call it Story A / The Lid. And these guys say, are you sure it’s a book, because it sounds like a podcast? Well it could be, It could be a podcast… and a book. But I’ll tell you something, if you want a podcast, I have a story for a podcast. So I pitch Story B, call it The Device. I say, what’s cool about this idea is that it has elements of Story A. Chronologically it comes after Story A, but I would be telling Story B first. So these elements would foreshadow what would be coming in the book – This is the podcast I was 24 hours away from recording here this weekend, the story I was going to tell over 12 episodes, an entire season, practically a whole year with just one story. And the guy goes… are you sure that’s a podcast? Because that sounds like a really good book. I like that book better than the first book.
So – Story C. This is Who Killed Theresa.
Story C was research. It would probably end up as two paragraphs in Story A, The Lid. It also has elements that reflect, foreshadow, comment… And I am in no hurry to tell this story. I have a lot of information on this case, but I haven’t quite figured out how to land the plane. I haven’t completely worked out the staging. It has all the elements that you’re accustomed to hearing on WTK – set in Quebec, unsolved murder, criminal investigative failures. Quebec lives in this echo chamber of delusion. If you think the fake-news era in the States is bad, Quebec has been living in a version of this landscape ever since Champlain planted a fleur-de-lis on The Mountain. What strikes me about this case is how the narrative has changed over the last 50 years. There is now a very controlled version of this story, and most of the elements that would help solve the case have been dropped. I don’t buy the versions of this story peddled by the police and the press.
This is the 1969 unsolved murder of Teresa Martin.
The Airstream Trailer
An interview with author Patricia Pearson, her first book, When She Was Bad – How And Why Women Get Away With Murder was just re-released from Penguin Random House.
We discuss the the book, true crime, Karla Homolka, Bill James’ The Man From The Train, and the “Angel of Death”, nursing home caregiver and serial killer, Elizabeth Wettlaufer.