In 2012, homicides made up less than 1 percent of Canada’s violent crimes. Canadian Police Services reported 543 homicides in 2012, translating to a homicide rate of about 1.55 per 100,000 people. Despite these statistics, however, there are currently 3,400 unsolved murders in Canada, dating back to 1961. Each year, one in four murders go unsolved.
While some of these cases might have faded from news reports, they still haunt the families and the communities where they happened. If you have information about any of the following cases, contact Canadian Crime Stoppers.
10Barbara Jean Maclean And Melissa Rehorek
On February 25, 1977, Barbara Jean Maclean was at Highlander bar for a night out with her friends and boyfriend. As the evening progressed, she and her boyfriend got into an argument, and the bar kicked him out. Barbara Jean followed him out into the parking lot, where the couple got into another fight.
Around 2:30 AM, witnesses reported seeing her boyfriend speed off in his green Volvo, leaving Barbara Jean alone in the parking lot. Her friends later told police that she’d planned to hitchhike to a party. She never arrived.
The following day, a man walking his dog found her body. She’d been strangled. Police believed she was killed at another location and then moved to the gravel road. On further investigation, police thought that her death was connected to another homicide, that of Melissa Ann Rehorek.
Melissa was found murdered on September 16, the previous year. She was last seen leaving the YMCA, where she worked as a room attendant, planning to hitchhike out of the city to enjoy her two days off. She made it safely to McMahon Stadium in Calgary, but she was later found strangled, dumped on a gravel road. All her personal belongings, including a wallet with cash in it, were left at the scene, indicating that robbery was not a motive.
A person of interest was sex offender Gary McAstocker. He committed suicide when he found out that police wanted to question him regarding the homicide of another girl, 14-year-old Tina McPhee.
9Rhona Margaret Duncan
North Vancouver, British Columbia
Rhona Margaret Duncan, her boyfriend Shawn Mapoles, her friend Marion Bogues, and Marion’s boyfriend Owen Perry attended a house party on the evening of July 16, 1976. The group left the house party together but parted ways around 2:45 AM near Marion’s home. Marion’s home was about five blocks from Rhona’s, leaving Rhona to walk the remaining distance alone.
At around 3:00 AM, a neighbor of Duncan’s reported being woken up to the loud voices of a man and a woman. He went to investigate outside but saw nothing. He shouted, “What’s going on out here?” and the voices stopped.
The following morning, Rhona’s body was discovered behind a different neighbor’s garage. She was partially dressed and had been sexually assaulted and strangled.
Investigators interviewed family, friends, and acquaintances and compiled a list of suspects. They also administered polygraph tests and obtained DNA to compare to their list of suspects. All the high-level suspects were eliminated. The remaining original suspects are now either dead or untraceable.
8Kerrie Ann Brown
The case of 15-year-old Kerrie Ann Brown has the unfortunate distinction of being Thompson’s oldest unsolved homicide.
On October 16, 1986, Kerry Ann attended a house party with a group of friends. She left it with one friend, who forgot something inside and went back inside to retrieve it, leaving Kerrie alone outside to wait. When the friend came back outside, Kerrie was gone.
Witnesses reported seeing Kerrie Ann getting into a van around 10:45 PM. Two days later, her body was discovered in the woods. She’d been sexually assaulted, severely beaten, and bludgeoned repeatedly on her face and head. A large bloodstained stick was found at the scene.
DNA samples determined that at least two different men were involved. An arrest was made shortly afterward, but there was no actual physical evidence against the suspect, so he was discharged.
Manitoba’s cold case squad is actively investigating this case. DNA continues to be collected from possible suspects, polygraphs are still being administered, and evidence is being reexamined.
7Kelly Jane Evelyn Cook
Kelly Jane Evelyn Cook, 15, provided babysitting services in her community of Standard, Alberta. On the morning of April 22, 1981, she received a call asking if she was available to babysit that evening. The caller gave his name as Bill Christiansen and said he would pick her up. As usual, Kelly promised her parents to call once she arrived at her babysitting job.
At 8:30 PM, the man arrived in what witnesses would later describe as a full-size North American car. Kelly was seen driving away from her residence with this man. She never called her parents.
On June 28, her body was found in the Chin Lake reservoir outside of Lethbridge, which is approximately 130 kilometers (80 mi) from Standard. She was fully clothed, her body tied to cinder blocks and tossed into the water.
Witnesses described the man as 30–45 years old in 1981, making him about 63–78 today. He was around 178 centimeters (5’10″) in height with a medium to heavy build and dark hair. There is currently a $120,000 reward being offered to anyone with information.
6Lisa Marie Young
Nanaimo, British Columbia
June 30, 2014, marked the 12th anniversary of the disappearance of Lisa Marie Young. On Canada Day weekend, 2002, the 21-year-old was getting ready at about 11:00 PM for a night out with friends. Her father expressed concern that it was late to go out. It would be the last time he would see his daughter.
Lisa Marie went to Club 241 located on Skinner Street, in Nanaimo. She was seen leaving the club at around 2:30 AM. She met a man in the parking lot offering to drive her and her two male friends wherever they wanted to go. The man was described as being in his twenties and driving a late-model red Jaguar.
They all attended a house party, left, and decided to go to another one. At the second party, Lisa Marie became hungry and asked to go to a sandwich shop. The driver of the red Jaguar said he would take her, and her two male friends decided to stay behind.
At around 4:30 AM, Lisa Marie contacted a friend. The man had not taken her to a sandwich shop, she said. They’d driven to someone’s house, and she was waiting in the car for him. She was worried about the driver and about the situation she now found herself in. She was never heard from or seen again.
Police were able to locate the driver of the car, interview him, and have forensics go over the vehicle. While he remains a person of interest, police have no evidence against him. His grandmother, a prominent member of the community, owned the vehicle. After she learned about the investigation, she sold the Jaguar and threatened the police with a lawsuit if they kept bothering her grandson.
Police continue to actively investigate this case. The family continues with their own investigation. They’ve organized searches, candlelight vigils, and a run in Lisa’s honor to keep her case and name alive.
5Kimberly Ann McAndrew
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Kimberly Ann McAndrew was a 19-year-old Dalhouse University undergrad working a summer job at the local Canadian Tire. On August 12, 1989, the store was quiet, so her supervisor told her to leave early. Kimberly left at approximately 4:20 PM. She lived about 15 minutes from the store in an apartment that she shared with her two sisters. One of her sisters and a friend were supposed to pick her up at 5:00 PM, not knowing that she had left early.
Witnesses reported seeing Kimberly at the Gardenia Flower Shop at the Penhorn mall. A cashier sold her a balloon and a rose. This was the last confirmed sighting of Kimberly.
Police still receive and investigate tips, conduct and interview suspects, and administer polygraph tests. There have been several reports of sightings of Kimberly but nothing certain. She has not contacted her family in all these years, and a body has never been found. Police suspect foul play. Kimberly was due to have her braces off in a few days and was looking forward to it, so it’s unlikely that she ran away.
Serial killer Michael Wayne McGrayla, who was convicted of seven homicides but confessed to 11 or more, said her name seemed familiar, but he was not sure if she was one of his victims. She may have been—he was in the Halifax area at the time of her disappearance.
Another serial killer, Andrew Paul Johnson—guilty of kidnapping, attempted kidnapping, and trying to lure children to his car—is currently the prime suspect, but police don’t have enough to charge him. At the time of Kimberly’s disappearance, he was also in the Halifax area. When he was arrested, he had a 20-year-old disabled woman in the trunk of his car along with a fake police badge, handcuffs, a meat cleaver, packing tape, a mask and KY Jelly. His name has been linked not only to Kimberly’s disappearance but to several others in the Halifax area.
4Kathryn Mary Herbert
Matsqui, British Columbia
On September 24, 1975, 11-year-old Kathryn Mary Hebert failed to come home from a friend’s house after school. Her mother, Shari Greer, began calling everyone she knew in the area. People said that Mary had left her friend and walked toward home. The last time anyone saw her was 9:15 PM.
Two months later, her body was found on the nearby Matsqui First Nation reservation. She’d been killed by repeated blows to the head. She had a busted skull and a broken jaw. The autopsy was not able to determine if she’d been sexually assaulted prior to her death.
Witnesses reported seeing a man near her home in an older white American-made vehicle. This man has never come forward nor has he been identified.
An anonymous donor has put up a $10,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of Kathryn’s murderer.
3Jane And Cathryn Johnson
Turner Valley, Alberta
Turner Valley firefighters responded to a call on the evening of September 3, 1996. After putting out the blaze, they found the bodies of 36-year-old Jane and her eight-year-old daughter Cathryn inside. An autopsy revealed that both had died before the fire. Jane had been stabbed to death, while the cause of death for Cathryn has never been revealed by investigators. Jane was five months pregnant at the time of her murder.
While police won’t reveal much information, like where the fire started, they are convinced that whoever did this was known to Jane and was familiar with her routine. She was engaged at the time, and she spent most nights at her fiance’s, but she spent this evening at home because Cathryn was starting school the next day. The fire, according to investigators, was an attempt to destroy evidence and conceal the murder.
Two persons of interest emerged. The first was Jane’s ex-husband and Cathryn’s father, Sam Johnson, but he passed a polygraph and had an alibi. The second person of interest was the fiance, Henry Reichart. While Reichart has always maintained his innocence and police have no evidence against him, many believe he had something to do with the murders. His attorney advised him to submit a DNA sample but to refuse a polygraph.
2Susan Tice And Erin Gilmour
Susan Tice, a recently separated mother of four, moved from Calgary to Toronto to begin a new chapter in her life. She bought a house on Grace Street in Toronto’s Little Italy district and was by all accounts happy at starting over.
After not hearing from Susan for a while, her brother-in-law became worried and decided to check up on her in person. Upon seeing her mailbox overflowing, he became even more worried and entered the home. He found her body in the bedroom on the second floor. She had been sexually assaulted and viciously stabbed to death.
Most of the wounds were to her chest, in a manner that some investigators referred to as “overkill.” There was no sign of forced entry to her home. She had been dead a few days before being discovered.
Four months later, the body of 22-year-old Erin Gilmour was found in her Yorkville apartment a few kilometers from the Tice crime scene. Gilmour had been taking classes at fashion school and worked part-time at a Yorkville clothing boutique. She’d planned that evening, after her shift, to meet up with her boyfriend. He arrived at 9:20 PM, saw the door ajar, and then found Erin’s lifeless body bundled up under the duvet. She had been tied up and sexually assaulted, and—like Susan Tice—had vicious stab wounds mostly to her chest. The fatal stab wound went right through her heart.
Police always thought the two murders were committed by the same person. In 2000, a DNA test proved it—but the culprit remains unknown.
In what can only be called one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in the Canadian legal system, we have the case of nine-year-old Christine Jessop and the man arrested for her murder.
On October 3, 1984, Christine was dropped off by the school bus at 3:50 PM. Her parents were not at home—her father was working, and her mother was out doing errands. Christine brought in the mail, placed it and her backpack on the kitchen counter, and walked to the store to buy some bubble gum at the nearby convenience store. This would be the last time anyone saw her alive.
Police quickly settled on a suspect, 23-year-old Guy Paul Morin, who lived next door. Neighbors said he was strange. Police agreed, once they questioned him. He’d also never had a girlfriend, still lived at home with his parents, and did not have much of a social life.
A little over two months later, Christine’s body was found in a field near Sunderland, 50 kilometers (30 mi) from Queensville. The 145-centimeter (4’9″) girl had been sexually assaulted and stabbed multiple times. The killer had posed her body with her legs spread apart. She was naked but for her sweater, with her remaining clothes piled by her feet.
Police arrested Morin in April 1985. He had an alibi. His time card showed that he’d punched out work at 3:32 PM the day of Christine’s murder, and he was then seen at several locations, including a lottery ticket center, the grocery store, and a gas station. He arrived home at about 5:30 PM, and his parents and brother-in-law confirmed that he stayed there the rest of the day. As a result, Morin was acquitted at his trial in 1986.
However, the Crown appealed this verdict, blaming errors for the acquittal. This was double jeopardy, but a new trial began in 1992. Morin was found guilty and was sentenced to life imprisonment. Unlike other child sex offenders, he was not segregated but was kept with the general population. As a result, he was often beaten and raped.
By 1995, forensic technology had advanced, and Morin’s legal team tested his DNA against evidence from the crime scene. The tests proved with certainty that Morin was not the man who’d sexually assaulted and killed Christine Jessop. He was innocent.
On January 23, 1995, Morin was formally acquitted of all charges and was released from prison. An inquiry revealed that Christine’s parents had lied about when they’d arrived home to help build a case against Morin. The police were aware the parents had lied, the prosecution had withheld exculpatory evidence from the defense, and lab technicians had contaminated samples. Morin received compensation of $1.5 million.
Christine Jessop’s murderer remains at large. Police are no longer actively investigating. The case will only be reopened if they receive new information.