Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Audrey Gleave slaying - I would be looking very closely at this UNSUB

This suspect, still unapprehended, bears some startling resemblences to the UNSUB I predicted in my profile of the Audrey Gleave murder.  Note he also has an accent, indicating possible Caribbean origins.  A migrant worker in nearby Lynden?  If and when the police take this man into custody, I would highly advise that they act in a friendly manner.  Establish a rapport, as he is asocial and will warm to kindness.  And canvas the town for god's sake!  I have friends in Lynden who haven't even been approached by the police yet.  You want to know every male who was staying in the area around Christmas.  It's a small town - going door to door and asking pertinent questions is how you're going to catch Audrey's killer.  Be thorough!

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Audrey Gleave: Deadly Premonitions

Text in red indicates updates I have added since forming the original profile.

WHO: Audrey Gleave, 73-years-old.  Born to Latvian and Lithuanian immigrants in Hamilton, Ontario on February 6, 1937, this brilliant mind began life as Otte Wilma Doveika, changing her name to "Audrey" in her teens.  After graduating from highschool, Audrey worked as a clerk for Bell before enrolling in McMaster University's science program in 1964.  She earned her BA in 1966, continuing to pursue a master's degree in physics.  Beginning in 1967, Audrey spent two summers working at Chalk River's nuclear laboratories.  While attending university, the 27-year-old beauty met Allan Gleave, a younger man studying engineering.  The two hit it off, marrying in 1969, though Audrey remained a highly private woman who divulged little about her past to her new husband.  Allan knew she had been married twice before, but his bride refused to get into the details.  For reasons unknown, Audrey decided to discontinue her master's degree and career in nuclear physics, opting instead to become a teacher.  The couple eventually built an impressive home with 17 foot vaulted ceilings off Indian Trail in rural Lynden, between Brantford and Ancaster.  Audrey settled into her career as a teacher.  Sadly, the Gleaves split in 1974 when Allan fell for a younger woman in his karate class.  He left Audrey the house in the divorce settlement, and moved 400 KM away. 

The thrice divorced Audrey Gleave, described as "witty", "reclusive", "enigmatic" and "highly intelligent" continued to live there alone until her death: 37 years in total.  After retiring, she spent more and more time at home with her beloved German shepherds, occasionally having a friend around to talk or help maintain the home.  She regularly went for coffee on Wednesdays with former teachers from Westdale Secondary School, but for the most part, stayed at home on her computer, drinking in the information age with her trademark unquenchable thirst for knowledge.

Audrey had repeatedly expressed her concern to confidantes that she would be raped and murdered in her own home: a coincidence or premonition? 
WHAT:  Upon entering her garage from the outside (as was their custom), a 22-year-old student employed to do yardwork found Audrey Gleave lying prone beside her prized Camaro.  The 73-year-old was wearing a winter coat, but her pants had been ripped open.  She had been beaten and stabbed an excessive amount of times (overkill).  Though police will not go into specifics, Canadian crime reporter Jon Wells of The Hamilton Spectator has written of a:  "...'sexual component' (it had included a perverse act that went beyond a conventional assault; the killer had taken something from the victim as though making off with a souvenir.)"  I will discuss what I believe happened later in this profile.  For now let's stick to the facts.

WHERE: In the garage of her home on Indian Trail on the outskirts of Lynden, Ontario.  The house is fairly secluded as evidenced in the photograph below:

WHEN: Time of death has not yet been released to the public.  Audrey was last seen on Tuesday December 28, 2010. At 2:30 AM the following morning, a neighbour's dog was heard barking (though this was not uncommon). However she did not arrive for her regular coffee meeting that Wednesday.  Her body was discovered at 11 AM on Thursday.

HOW: Police have revealed little information pertaining to signs of forced entry at the Gleave home, in fact it is unknown whether the killer even entered the house at all.  Rumours have circulated saying that a purse was discovered untouched inside the living room.  Though we can not confidently ascertain how the UNSUB (unknown subject) confronted his victim, we know several key elements of his modus operandi:

- The victim was not bound, and almost certainly not drugged
- The victim was fully clothed save for rips in her pants
- The victim was beaten and subject to an unnecessary number of stab wounds

It is my conjecture that the most likely scenario, given this information, is that the UNSUB ambushed Audrey, beating her sensless, before either 1) Stabbing her to death THEN attempting a sexual attack; or 2) Attempting a sexual attack THEN stabbing her to death.
I am guessing by the police's constant emphasis of the unparalleled brutality of this crime, plus the fact that the victim was found with her pants ripped, that the attack involved some kind of mutilation to the genitals or buttocks (less likely: the extraction of an internal organ).  Anatomical parts may have been completely excised.  Multiple stab wounds, though horrific, are something homicide detectives would be accustomed to.  I doubt the souvenir taking they have referred to was as commonplace as panty theft - these "disorganized" kinds of killers don't typically take trophies, as they aren't in the habit of reliving the murders.  Proceeding with the idea that, at the very least, the majority of stab wounds were focused on the lower portion or genital region of the body, let us now examine "why?"

WHY:   During a sexual murder, anger is frequently coupled with frustrated lust.  I doubt this offender was psychologically capable of having regular consensual sex with or raping a living human.  If there was penetration involved it would have been post-mortem or with a foreign object.  Though both are possible, I am going to say that the killer used the stabbing implement (knife, screwdriver etc.) as an object of sexual substitution for his penis.  Anger at his own sexual inadequacy + the sexual desire to penetrate a woman's genitals = overkill and mutilation.  Good reference cases are Andre Chikatilo in the former Soviet Union and Britain's "Yorkshire Ripper" Peter Sutcliffe.  These men targeted different types of victims, but their crimes were similar.  Interestingly, both were married but had non-existent or highly inhibited sex lives with their spouses. 

The Murderer of Audrey Gleave

Sex/Gender: The UNSUB is male and identifies as such.

Age:  The average age for a sexual murderer is around 27.  However, due to his lack of organization, the UNSUB's mental age is probably somewhere around his late teens or early twenties.  One explanation is that he actually was that young (say 18-25).  Another is that low intelligence, mental illness, substance addiction or some combination of these factors have left him mentally less developed than his years.  Considering this, I would peg his age at somewhere between 18-30, significantly younger than the former prime suspect in the case, David Laurie Scott.

Race/ethnicity: Though I originally predicted a Caucasian offender, having visited Lynden since first writing this profile, I learned there is a large community of migrant labourers from Jamaica and Latin America who arrive to pick seasonally.  Now that I know this, I have decided to go out on a limb and say that I believe the killer is probably a black Caribbean, or less likely, a Latin worker.  Though the attack occurred in winter, after harvest season, there could be a variety of reasons this person returned to the area.  FBI studies have shown that young African-American males are more likely per capita to sexually attack an elderly white woman.* HOWEVER AS I ALWAYS WARN I would not exclude an otherwise credible suspect because of race alone.  I really must stress this. 
* - Rest assured, I have looked into this personally and can confirm that it's statistically accurate, not a result of racial prejudice.  Here are some names off the top of my head: Carlton Gary, Cleo Green, Thierry Paulin, Kenneth Erskine.

Occupation/skills/intelligence/socialization:  The UNSUB is either unemployed or drastically underemployed.  We can reasonably assume this because the murder seems to have occurred in the wee hours of a Tuesday morning, when most career-oriented Canadians would have been asleep in bed.  Audrey Gleave's was hardly a controlled, well planned homicide; the perpetrator seems to have subdued her almost immediately in a blitz style attack.  Nor did he make an effort to prolong his experience with her.  Putting these pieces of the puzzle together reveals a man of low intelligence (or average with psychosis), impulsivity and an utter absence of imagination.  In short, the UNSUB could not be self employed because he lacks the discipline, tenacity and guile.  Financially dependent on the government or a family member, he will live a nocturnal lifestyle, spending most of his time by himself.  His insecurities, quirks and inadequacies make him incapable of fitting into society.  His friends will be few, if any.  In this way, he is more comparable to the killer I profiled in The Tice-Gilmour murders than that of Cindy Halliday.  The peak of the UNSUB's academic achievement will be graduating high school.  Given his mental disorder, he might not even have accomplished this.

Appearance: Conventional wisdom has it that, when profiling this type of killer, I'm supposed to say "scruffy and unkempt, poor hygiene, clothes stained and crumpled."  Though that is a distinct possibility, I believe it is equally probable that the UNSUB is reasonably well groomed and neat, though somewhat unfashionable in attire.  He isn't dressing to impress - he wants to keep to himself.  This attitude could manifest in the neglect of his personal appearance ("I don't care what people think because I don't want to be around them, so I'll just let my looks get out of control").  Alternatively, he might strive to "fit in", dressing and styling himself so conventionally that he becomes just another face in the crowd.  Looking back at the history of murderers who have committed similar crimes, I have seen examples of both.  With that in mind, the only suspects I would exclude are those who are flashy or stylish in appearance.  To advise anything else would be irresponsible and misrepresent my abilities as an amateur profiler.

Residence: Thankfully, here I can be much more specific.  I can confidently state that the UNSUB will either live within a 10 KM radius of the Gleave residence (probably close to the centre), OR will have had a reason to visit the area on multiple occasions.  The most plausible explanation is to see family.  Visiting friends or work obligations are less likely possibilities.  We must always keep in mind that Audrey Gleave was murderered over the holiday season.

The UNSUB is either: 1) Living with a dominant female figure such as a mother or grandmother, upon which he is emotionally and financially dependent; 2) Alone in poor conditions (a tiny apartment or public housing), or 3) Travelling from place to place, subsisting on the generosity of others. 

Relationships/family: The UNSUB will harbour deep-seated, emotionally crippling anger towards his mother who berated and/or controlled him throughout his existence, laying the foundation of his subsequent hatred and sexual inadequacies.  Her abuse could be psychological, physical and/or sexual in nature.  If his father was present, he would be the weaker of the two parents, exercising little influence on his son's development.  As a result of his formative experiences with his mother, the offender will not be in a romantic relationship unless he is completely dominated and supported by his significant other.  If this is the case, the union will be marked by a lack of sexual activity.  That said, I'd place my money on him being incurably single.

Criminal/psychiatric history: I expect the UNSUB to have a documented history of bizarre psychiatric behaviour extending back to his earliest years.  Whether this is schizophrenic in nature or related to autism or some manner of impulse control disorder can not be determined.  Bedwetting and animal abuse would be symptoms he exhibited as a child.  Unless rape is confirmed by the authorities, I am predicting he also suffers from psychosomatic erectile dysfunction.  As previously mentioned, the UNSUB is a picquerist, who is sexually attracted to knives and the concept of stabbing and cutting.  His psychiatric history will be voluminous when compared to his criminal record, which will be solely confined to petty crimes.  One major crime we might expect to find however is irrational violence towards female strangers.  I disagree with the opinion of a former FBI agent who posited that the offender would have problems with drugs.  If this were the case, there would have been cash and items of material worth taken from Audrey's house.  Maybe he smokes marijuana from time to time, but this guy is no crack addict.

For a more detailed and objective account of the murder please see Jon Wells' "Darkness on Indian Trail":  True crime fans will also love Jon's superb books: Sniper, Post Mortem, Vanished and Poison.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Cold Case #3 - Lizzie Tomlinson - Candy From Strangers

WHO: Lizzie Tomlinson, 6, described as a polite, shy student of Park Public School.

WHAT: Lizzie was taken from a park near her home to a remote industrial area. There she was beaten, scratched and strangled; suffering a broken jaw, injuries to her neck, and bruising about her face and thighs. The horrific nature of her murder has haunted the Canadian public ever since. As a final indignity, the killer rammed a lengthy "stalk" (more likely a stick) into her vagina, bursting through her innards until coming to a halt at her right shoulder. Though unconscious, she was probably alive for at least an hour before death claimed her. In the meantime, the UNSUB hastily buried her beneath some weeds and two long boards, before absconding.

WHERE: The abduction occurred at "Stinky's Park" on the southeast corner of Shuter and Sumach, in Toronto's eastern downtown region. Lizzie's body was later found in the bushes of an abandoned industrial area near the railway tracks at Bayview Avenue (West Don Roadway) and Front Street. This murder site was only a kilometre to the south of the park.

WHEN: The abduction is believed to have taken place at approximately 3:30 PM on Saturday May 24th, 1980, with the murder occurring shortly after. It was not until Monday morning that Lizzie's body was finally found.

HOW: The old "candy from strangers" routine. There are multiple eye witness accounts that Lizzie was led away from the park by a man "described by numerous witnesses as between 25-35 years old, about 5 ft 7, 160-180 lbs, tanned, blue eyed, with long dark brown hair, a beard, possibly left-handed, and wearing a tan tank top, blue jeans, and brown running shoes." (Quote from It is believed the two proceeded on foot to the isolated area where the murder took place.

WHY: This UNSUB acted out of anger and rejection, experiencing a profound loss of control during the murder. Though he may not harbour deep remorse, he did not feel gratified during the slaying, and would attempt to sweep it psychologically under the table. He certainly would not relish his murder or follow it in the news. Unlike more compulsive sex slayers, Lizzie's impalement was not the realization of a deep seated fantasy he wished to relive. His original intent was to have sex with Lizzie, not kill her, but this went wildly wrong. When he found her uncooperative, he was unable to maintain an erection, and was driven into a rage where he beat and strangled her (notice he brought no weapons to the crime scene). The branch he thrust into the vagina was an act of angry sexual substitution: "Oh my penis isn't good enough? How's THIS!" With his rage sated, he then hastily attempted to conceal the body by covering it with boards. By this point, his psychological burial of guilt had already begun.

The Murderer of Lizzie Tomlinson

Sex/Gender: The UNSUB is male and identifies as such.

Age: Witnesses note a man between the ages of 25-35, though I am inclined to lean towards the younger side of that scale due to the lack of organization at the murder site. The offender's beard may have also given the illusion that he was older than his years, especially considering the majority of reports came from other children. Age is always difficult to determine because you are going on the suspect's "mental age" which is often out of sync with their physical age. In this case, I believe we might be dealing with an UNSUB with significant psychological impediments. For this reason, I will stick to the 25-35 age range, though if not for eye witness reports I would place it, based on the behaviour evidenced at the crime scene, as between 20-30.

Race/ethnicity: The UNSUB is Caucasian in race.

Occupation/skills/intelligence/socialization: The UNSUB has incredibly low self esteem and is stuck in the latency phase of his development - unable to function in the adult world. Because he has more in common with children psychologically, he is good at conversing with them and gaining their trust. Due to this infantile mentality, he is unemployed and does not drive. There is additional evidence to support these claims: 1) Children reported having been offered ice cream by a man fitting the suspect's description in the month leading up to the abduction, indicating the UNSUB had plenty of free time on his hands and was unconstained by the demands of work or a serious relationship. That said, the killing did occur on a weekend, which should be taken into note. Hopefully police recorded the days when the children claimed to have been courted by him to determine whether they also occurred on the weekend, and the coinciding times; 2) The UNSUB walked with Lizzie from Stinky's Park to the industrial area, ensuring he was seen by multiple witnesses. An offender who had access to a vehicle would instead have taken her into this more private space where she was less likely to be seen, and where he could transport her over greater distances more quickly. In terms of abilities and intellectual capacity, the UNSUB will display no aptitude for any skill or trade, and will be of low-average to average intelligence, leeching off others to sustain himself. He may however display a startling capacity for cunning, far eclipsing his academic and working intelligence.

Appearance: A composite of the UNSUB is displayed here showing a fairly unkempt man with long brown hair and a beard. This is in keeping with the disorganized profile I have assembled. As the UNSUB would not consider it possible for an adult to treat him with any measure of respect, he would neglect his grooming and personal hygiene out of lack of necessity. His beard is a psychological comfort blanket which he uses to remind himself that he is a full grown man, not the child he feels like emotionally. His haphazard thrown together clothing (tan tank top, blue jeans, and brown running shoes) underlies his total incompetence and disinterest in fashion, along with his inability to afford anything better.

Residence: The UNSUB lives locally, within walking distance of the parkette. This is made apparent by his previous attempts to approach children in the area, and familiarity with the abduction and murder scene/dump site. It is highly probable that he spent a portion of his own childhood or adolesence there, and may very well still live with a parent in the vicinity. Another option is that he since moved and takes public transit to revisit  the area. Unable to maintain a decent living or normal heterosexual relationship, he will live with family members, room-mates or in a group home.

Relationships/family: I don't expect this man to be able to sustain a close adult intimate relationship. However, I think he would be able capable of faking his way through a marriage with a woman of low self-esteem. It would be one of those arrangements were they aren't really in love, don't spend a lot of time together save for maybe watching TV in silence, and wouldn't have a lot of close friends. Maybe some neighbours might know them on a shallow level. Their sex life would be nothing remarkable, and if they had children, they might be subject to sexual abuse. This is the best case scenario for him. If I were placing bets, I would wager he is a lonely dependent of either his family or government social services be it through a psychiatric based disability, mental health centre or halfway house. He is of low birth order, and was probably on the receiving end of an endless flow of verbal abuse growing up.  The culprit: a domineering mother.

Criminal/psychiatric history: The UNSUB will have a history of exhibitionism, ie. exposing himself to children, and may also have a record of psychiatric illness. He does not use alcohol or illicit drugs to any notable degree, though he may be on strong pharmaceutical medication.  Naturally, there may also be priors for statutory rape and/or child molestation.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Sonia Varaschin - Orangeville nurse saves lives only to have her own tragically stolen.

WHO: Sonia Varaschin (42/f), a former nurse at Toronto's Sick Children's hospital. She switched careers approximately two months before her disappearance to work at Southlake Regional Health Centre. Single and childless, Sonia was petite at 5'1" 125 lbs with light brown streaks through her brown hair.
WHAT: Sonia was murdered in her two-storey Orangeville townhouse, then carried out the front door wrapped in bedding sheets. Her body was bundled into her Toyota Corolla which her killer drove, either to another vehicle or directly to dump her body outdoors. Though police have not released the cause of her death, there were large quantities of blood – ruling out strangulation, and pointing to either bludgeoning, stabbing/slashing or a firearms related murder.
WHERE: The murder took place in Sonia's home on Spring Street in Orangeville. Her Toyota Corolla was found parked 5 minutes walk away in an alley near Broadway, with its front doors and trunk open. Her body was discovered in an isolated wooded area 12 km to the west in Caledon near Beech Grove Sideroad and Mountainview Road.
WHEN: Sonia was murdered sometime late at night on Sunday August 29, 2010, having last been seen by family that evening. At 10 AM on Monday August 30, her Toyota Corolla was discovered nearby. It would take until September 5 until her remains were located.
HOW: Police will not comment on whether or not there were signs of sexual assault or the method with which she was killed. What does seem apparent is that her body was carried to her own vehicle, possibly kept in her garage, and transported either directly to Caledon or to another vehicle parked in the vicinity of where the Corolla was found the next morning. In a particularly cryptic statement, investigators commented that “there was no sign of break and enter” but “that doesn't mean the door was locked”.
WHY: Without any confirmation as to the weapon of murder, or what kind, if any, sexual activity occurred, it is impossible to assess the motive of the UNSUB. For instance, a man who rapes a woman at gunpoint is vastly different than one who bashes her head in with a lamp because she has rejected his sexual advances. There is also the type of offender who wastes no time shooting his victim through the skull so that he may have sex with her body.
Given this lack of information, can we form a profile? Yes, but not a good one, and if not for the interest in the case, I would be hesitant in doing so.
The Murderer of Sonia Varaschin
Sex/Gender: The UNSUB is a male, and identifies as such. We know this because he was able to easily carry the dead weight of Sonia's body to the car. Footwear impressions of a man's size 10 or 11 work boot of the Wind River or Dakota brand sold exclusively Mark's Work Wearhouse were also found at one of the crime scenes.
Age: 20-47. This range is, of course, so broad it is practically useless, but owing to the scant details regarding the method of murder and sexual assault, it would be unwise to narrow the parameters any further.
Race/ethnicity: In this case, I would not eliminate anyone on grounds of race or ethnicity.
Occupation/skills/intelligence/socialization: The UNSUB's choice of work boots, combined with his willingness to get messy and his knowledge of rural areas seems to indicate somebody local who works in a blue collar or manual labour position. Though by no means a social disaster, I believe this suspect will struggle immensely with feelings of rejection from women. He might compensate for this by openly bragging of imaginary sexual exploits, and may speak in denigrating terms towards women. His IQ will be low to average; due to some bizarre behaviour exhibited at the murder scene I would cap it at about 105. If the suspect is mentally ill however, his IQ may be much higher, his erratic actions being the result of psychosis or entering a fugue state. It is probable that the killer was either acquainted with Sonia, or had spotted and become fixated on her, stalking her for months leading up to the murders. There is also the possibility of a middle ground, where she was stalked by somebody she knew. Keeping in mind that without a Cause of Death it is difficult to ascertain premeditation, I am going to go out on a limb and assume this was a hot blooded murder; ie. the UNSUB did not plan to kill Sonia, instead he fantasized of having an intimate relationship with her. When she unexpectedly rejected him, he was overcome with rage and attacked her, probably exceeding the necessary degree of force to kill her (overkill). This is contingent on the assumption that a firearm was not used in the attack. IF SONIA WAS SHOT THEN THIS WHOLE PROFILE SHOULD BE DISREGARDED.
Appearance: The UNSUB will be physically strong, though by no means a bodybuilder, and dress in casual blue collar attire. His height will be between 5'8” to 6' as evidenced by his boot size.
Residence: Orangeville or Caledon and surrounding area. The UNSUB displayed competent mental mapping of both the area where Sonia lived and where her body was eventually found. As my instincts tell me he stalked her to some degree, he would also have to live nearby to facilitate this.
Relationships/family: The UNSUB is defined by his insecurity around women. There are two avenues this could possibly stem from: 1) He was raised by an emotionally distant mother figure who made him feel inadequate and/or exerted excessive control over him, 2) The UNSUB was a social outcast growing up, always watching from the sidelines and increasingly reinforcing his own “weirdness”, believing that he could never fit in enough to “get a girl”. As a coping mechanism, this insecurity may have mutated into narcissism, with the UNSUB telling himself that he was better than everybody else, and that they simply were too “dumb” or “conformist” to understand him. This justified his continued ostracism and allowed him to survive psychologically into adulthood. Since maturing, he may have had a number of relationships with women, but these will have largely been short term as his low self esteem would have turned most women away. Any long term relationships he had would have been governed by physical and emotional abuse directed towards a partner with similarly low self esteem – the only type of woman who would stay with him for any extended period of time. Another option for a long term relationship is that he may have entered one with a dominant female partner who replaced the role his mother played in his life, structuring his existence for him and taking care of financial matters. Meanwhile, he would seek ways to rebel against her authority and dominance over him by acting out his aggressions on other women.
Criminal/psychiatric history: While we are looking at a two or three crime scene murder here, which usually indicates a greater level of organization, in this case there is something fundamentally irrational about the UNSUB's actions. The most prominent illogical act is the carrying of Sonia's bloodied body from her apartment to her vehicle, and subsequently transporting it to the Caledon area. This was an extremely risky move as the UNSUB stood a high chance of being caught in the process. Until this point nobody had any reason to suspect that a murder had occurred, and considering the amount of blood at the crime scene left no doubt that violence had taken place, it was actually safer for the UNSUB to leave the body inside Sonia's apartment. Even if his intent was to sexually assault the corpse after death (a possibility), doing so indoors would have been far more sensible. The implications are that the offender was exhibiting signs of psychological disorganization, possibly mental illness. Another or parallel explanation may have been that the offender was under the influence of a significant amount of alcohol during the commission of this crime. It was this “Dutch courage” which allowed him to appoach her in the first place. The UNSUB may also use marijuana and cocaine, though these do not have as profound an effect on his self control as alcohol. Prior criminal activities might involve: stalking, break and enter, harrassment, sexual assault, statutory rape, rape and assault. Don't be surprised if he has had numerous restraining orders filed against him.
Of Related Interest: I believe we are looking at somebody of similar psychological make up to Jonathan Yeo. See the book Fatal Mistakes by Kevin Marron.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Suspect in the Parkdale bludgeonings apprehended!

From The Globe and Mail

A man has been arrested in connection with a string of assaults targeting mentally disabled residents in Parkdale.
Ricardo Morrison, 32, of Toronto was charged Monday with two counts of assault causing bodily harm in a pair of assaults last month, one in the area of Westlodge Avenue and another in the area of Maynard Avenue and Leopold Street.
"The investigation is ongoing and Ricardo Morrison remains a person of interest in relation to the other similar assaults and the death of George Wass," police said Tuesday.
Mr. Wass, 62, was attacked in front of his Maynard Avenue boarding house in March and died three days later as a result of blunt-force trauma.
A probe by the Toronto police homicide squad focused on the death of Mr. Wass and six similar assaults dating back to January.
Most recently, police allege a victim was walking home around 3 a.m. on Maynard Avenue last month when a suspect attacked him from behind, then punched and kicked him repeatedly before fleeing the scene. The suspect has been known to wear a black balaclava and ride a dark mountain bike without fenders.
At a news conference Tuesday, police did not rule out the possibility there may be other suspects, noting Mr. Morrison’s arrest was the result of evidence coming forward from the community.
"We’re awaiting further evidence from the community to help include or exclude him in the investigation," Inspector Bryan Bott said.
Managers of some Parkdale care homes have warned residents to be vigilant in light of the attacks. Authorities were asking residents with any information to contact police or Crime Stoppers.

From The Toronto Sun

After months of living in fear, Parkdale residents are breathing a sigh of relief after learning there has been an arrest in connection with brutal attacks in their neighbourhood.
A 32-year-old man has been charged with two of the most recent assaults. Police describe him as a person of interest in another five attacks, including the deadly beating of George Wass.
"I’m relieved, but if he’s only responsible for mine and not the others, then that’s not good," Dan Chiarelli, 45, the most recent victim, said Tuesday.
He was shocked to learn the man accused of attacking him is his neighbour. Ricardo Morrison lived a floor below him in a roominghouse on Maynard Ave.
"It’s scary," Chiarelli said. "I don’t even know him."
Two other victims of the savage attacks also resided at 17 Maynard Ave.
One of them, a 47-year-old woman who was the first to be attacked when the recent wave of violence began Jan. 4, has since moved because she was too afraid to stay in the area, other residents said.
Three more victims, including the now deceased 62-year-old Wass, lived across the street at a group home.
"I’m still scared," said one woman, who didn’t give her name as she left that house at 18 Maynard Ave.
"George was such a nice man," she added. "I can’t understand why someone would want to hurt him."
It’s believed the seventh victim, Oriana Dacosta, 45, may live on nearby West Lodge Ave., where she was attacked April. 2.
Ricardo Morrison is accused of assaulting her, as well as Chiarelli.

Great news!  Hopefully this will put an end to the attacks in Parkdale.  Now let's see how the few details we know about this suspect stack up against my profile of "The Parkdale Bludgeoner"

Profiled Sex/Gender: The UNSUB is a male, and identifies as such.

Suspect's Sex/Gender: The UNSUB is a male, and identifies as such.

Match?: YES

Profiled Age: 17-35

Suspect's Age: 32

Match?: YES

Profiled Race/ethnicity: The UNSUB could be of any racial background... If they are Caucasian, more likely they are of a blue collar immigrant family possibly first or second generation Italian, Greek, Slavic etc

Suspect's Race/ethnicity: Yet to be determined.  Ricardo (Latin) Morrison (Irish) may indicate the suspect is from a mixed cultural background.

Match?: N/A (though if Ricardo does turn out to be rooted in a Mediterranean background, this could potentially support the idea that "If they are Caucasian, more likely they are of a blue collar immigrant family possibly first or second generation Italian, Greek, Slavic etc"

Profiled Residence: The offender either lives and/or works or has ties to Queen and Lansdowne area... His lifestyle will probably not be much different to the naked eye than that of his victims.  He will have a small apartment or basement apartment and very few material items of worth.

Suspect's Residence: He was shocked to learn the man accused of attacking him is his neighbour. Ricardo Morrison lived a floor below him in a roominghouse on Maynard Ave.

Match?: YES

Appearance: Accounts describe the UNSUB as around average height and stocky.  I believe because of his immature Nazi-esque way of thinking, he will be clean cut with short hair.  If he does have facial hair it will be notably groomed or stylized such as a well maintained goatee. 

Suspect's Appearance:

Match?: YES

So far 4/4 (the race prediction was non-applicable)!  Until more information is released about Mr. Morrison's background, we can not confirm the accuracy of the rest of the profile.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Commenting on posts

Hi everyone,

Apparently a number of you have been attempting to comment on my posts, but the comments were not registering.  I have changed the settings now so that anybody can post a comment, once I have approved it.  The reason I do this is to control SPAM on the blog and so that I don't have to deal with people who would rather make trouble than contribute to the discussion.

With this in mind, please feel free to comment on any of the posts.  I welcome your contributions,


Monday, 11 April 2011

Cold Case #2 - Who killed Cindy Halliday in 1992?

WHO: Cindy Halliday (17/f): a high school dropout who lived with her parents in Waverley, Ontario, but hung around with a "bad crowd". This lifelong hockey fan dreamed of being a social worker, and frequently hitchhiked along the roads between her home in Waverley and the closest big city of Barrie, leading some to form the impression that she was streetwise.

WHAT: Having disappeared while hitchhiking north from Barrie, Cindy's wallet was soon found by a man foraging for bottles. Her jacket was discovered neatly folded in a reforestation area the next month, followed by her skeletal remains and shoes a month later. As the vicinity had been thoroughly searched following the discovery of the jacket, it is believed Cindy's killer left the clothing first before depositing her body at a subsequent date. Though Cindy's skull was the only piece of the skeleton found in tact, an autopsy revealed that she had been stabbed to death (the amount of stab wounds have not been released to the public). A year long study by an entomologist concluded that her remains had only been where they were found for a period of about 30 days. Furthermore, tests on Cindy's brain matter reveal she may only have been dead for as long as a month. This meant she would have spent late-April/early-May in captivity.

WHERE: Cindy went missing somewhere between Midhurst and Waverley, along Highway 26. She had been to visit her boyfriend in a Barrie jail, and was last seen at a Hasty Market in Midhurst. The wallet was discovered by a man collecting bottles in a wooded area off Horseshoe Valley Road, west of Highway 400. This was close to the spot where her jacket and remains were later found.

WHEN: Cindy was spotted at the Hasty Market at around 5:30- 6:30 PM on April 19, 1992. She was officially reported missing two days later. On May 3, her wallet was discovered. Her jacket was located 13 days later on May 16, and her remains on June 16. Reports in available media sources contradict as to the precise dates and order in which her wallet, jacket and bones were found. As it is of no consequence to this profile, save to say that the killer delivered them back to the public at intervals, I will not dwell on the details.

HOW: The most likely scenario was that Cindy was picked up hitchhiking by a sadistic murderer, who managed to gain control over her. At this point, she would have been taken to an indoor location where she was held prisoner for a month. Her ordeal would undoubtedly have consisted of multiple rapes and sexual assaults, and probably some unknown degree of torture. As her remains were skeletal and scattered by animals when they were found, we can never truly know what indignities she suffered. Tragically, no DNA was recovered from any of the crime scenes.

WHY: Power and control. The perpetrator not only enjoyed exerting these over Cindy both while she was alive and upon her body after her death, but also toyed with the police by strategically placing items belonging to Cindy, including her remains, in the same area over a period of two months. The UNSUB is undoubtedly a sexual sadist, and given the amount of time he spent with the corpse, possibly a necrophiliac.

Forewarning: The Most Perplexing Profile Yet

Profiling the murderer of Cindy Halliday has been the most baffling experience I have had in amateur crimonology so far. Typically, men who keep their victims for long periods of time tend to kill them by strangulation, or torture them to death. There have also been examples of suffocation, drowning and bludgeoning. Yet this UNSUB did something unprecedented - he used knives! When we consider the types of killers that favour cutting weapons, we usually encounter more disorganized or mixed offenders who spend relatively little time with their victims - either attacking them on the streets in a stabbing frenzy, or breaking into their homes ala Tommy Lynn Sells, Richard Ramirez. I am unable to recall a single lust murderer who kept his victim as long as a month before stabbing her to death. Perhaps this is because the knife is a weapon of frenzy - the perfect instrument for an angry/excited sadist to unleash when his urges can no longer be restrained. These tensions explode in a sensuous cocktail of blood and mutilation. It is therefore hard for me to reconcile the use of a knife with the entomologist's evidence that Cindy was kept for a month. However, as this is the evidence I have to work with, I will accept it and do my best.
The Murderer of Cindy Halliday

Sex/Gender: The UNSUB is a male, and identifies as such.

Age: The UNSUB was between the ages of 25-40 in 1992 when Cindy was murdered. A younger offender is less likely to have had the income to both own a vehicle and an indoor area to keep Cindy captive and store her remains for such a lengthy period. This is further buttressed by the complexity of the crime, and the lack of evidence at the crime scenes. Here we have an elaborate 4-5 crime scene situation: 1) An unknown location where Cindy first came into contact with the UNSUB, 2) Another unknown location where she was kept captive, slain and probably stored for two months, 3) The scene where her wallet was found, 4) The scene where her jacket was found, 5) The scene where her remains were found. We do not typically see this kind of complexity in younger offenders as they lack the means, confidence and wisdom to exert such a degree of control.

Race/ethnicity: The UNSUB is Caucasian. There are no known cases of elaborate long term capture, torture and necrophilia within other racial/ethnic groups in North America. Cindy also disappeared and was found in a primarily white, rural area of Ontario.

Occupation/skills/intelligence/socialization: Of all the UNSUBs profiled on this blog, Cindy Halliday's murderer is by far the most intelligent, with an IQ of at least 115. This does not mean that his social intelligence is high. All that was necessary for the commission of this crime was the ability to put a female hitchhiker at ease long enough to trick her into his car. It is the series of methodical actions following the abduction that demonstrate the UNSUB's cunning: keeping Cindy captive for at least a month, the absence of DNA or other evidence at the crime scenes, and the mocking way he doled out her personal possessions and remains within the same area while avoiding being spotted by witnesses. It is nearly impossible to confidently predict his occupation, though I believe that as somebody obsessed with control he will be self employed or work in a job that gives him a great deal of autonomy or authority. This is in keeping with other lust killers who we see combine lengthy periods of torture with a necrophiliac's obsessive need to control a corpse (John Wayne Gacy, Robert Berdella, Fred West, Gary Heidnik - all owned their own businesses; Gerard Schaeffer was a cop). Sometimes this type of killer is a student (Ted Bundy, John Norman Collins), but somebody with this level of income would not be able to afford a large enough dwelling to keep a captive without drawing attention to himself. Both Bundy and Collins, for instance, killed their victims in their cars, outside or occasionally in abandoned buildings, keeping the remains in the last two and moving them around later. I can not say if the UNSUB is blue collar or white collar, as there is no evidence to point in either direction. However, I CAN guarantee that he is a compulsive driver, and probably had a great deal of mileage on his car at the time of the abduction. Socially, he will be competent enough to fit in rather easily, though will tend to have close workmates rather than friends. That said, he may at times seem eccentric, peculiar or exhibit signs of having a short temper, though those around him will just write this off as part of his nature and laugh about it. He will exude an air of superiority, and lie compulsively. I have strong gut feeling that the UNSUB might be involved in law enforcement or a similar authoritative position such as a security guard, mall cop, firefighter etc.

Appearance: The UNSUB exhibits a great deal of self discipline, in fact it permeates his entire being. This is to compensate for the powerlessness he felt in his formative years. Therefore we can expect him to be well groomed and with good hygiene - probably one of the reasons Cindy felt comfortable getting into his car in the first place. This neatness will extend to his vehicle and home. Though he may not be rich or cultured, he does the best with what he has, and will appear outwardly quite normal.

Residence: As he is a highly mobile killer, it could be anywhere in the areas north of Toronto, and south of Georgian Bay.

Relationships/family: The UNSUB may have had a girlfriend at the time of Cindy's murder, but will have lived alone. If an accomplice was involved, it would have been a woman with a psychological makeup reminiscent of Rose West, though we can probably discount the West marriage as a rare aberration in the field of sexual homicide. The UNSUB harbours a deep seated hatred and need to control women, stemming from a poor relationship with his mother during childhood. If we are to look into the histories of Collins, Gacy, Berdella and Heidnik, we find examples of abusive disciplinarian father figures. This may have been the case here, though the UNSUB's hatred was projected onto his mother because she did not intervene to prevent the beatings and ridicule, instead "standing by her man" at the expense of the child. Another possibility is that his mother simply neglected him or was emotionally cold. I do not think the UNSUB was actively physically or sexually abused by a maternal figure. Such abuse would have stemmed from his father, stepfather or mother's boyfriends. This childhood turmoil will have dogged the UNSUB throughout his life. If he was popular growing up and had girlfriends, he will have been rough and sexually aggressive with them. In the more likely event that he was a loner in elementary school and high school, he will have not had any relationships with the opposite sex until after graduation.

Criminal/Psychiatric History: I believe Cindy's killer is a serial murderer, and due to the level of organization shown, she was not his first victim. Though I approach this with some hesitance, I can see behavioural links to the unsolved Christine Jessop murder in 1984, the UNSUB's crimes becoming more refined with his maturity and awareness of DNA evidence. I am NOT saying this is a definite link, merely a possibility, based on criminal behaviour and geography. He will have had a religious upbringing, and will use alcohol as a facilitator for his crimes. As a highly intelligent offender, he may never have been caught for previous offences, but I believe his criminal history could include window peeping, break and enter, burglary, impersonating authority figures, exhibitionism, animal torture and child molestation/sexual assault. Unless involved in the military or police, there will be no record of his psychiatric history, however I will go out on a limb and diagnose him as a sexually sadistic psychopath, with obsessive compulsive tendencies. He will exhibit several bizarre and unusual fetishes, potentially necrophilia, coprophilia, pedophilia and cross dressing.


Saturday, 9 April 2011

The McCann disappearance profile: Vader is a match!

Having finalized the profile of the offenders involved in the McCann disappearance, I decided that it was time to take a look at the RCMP's chief suspect in the case, Travis Vader.  I came across this article which refers to Vader's history, and was astonished:

Vader matches my profile of the dominant offender almost exactly!  The problem is that I predicted the dominant offender wouldn't crack, and so far Vader has continued to deny any involvement in the disappearances.  The best strategy police can pursue at the moment is to use Vader to try and find his accomplice, who is more likely to break under pressure.  Good luck to the RCMP.  I believe you have found the right suspect, and will be moving on.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Missing Persons Case #1: Lyle and Marie McCann

As some of you may know, I post regularly on under the name "redbeard".  In December of last year I was asked by a contributor to the forum to give my two cents regarding the strange disappearance of Alberta natives Lyle and Marie McCann in July 2010.  Due to the continued interest in Western Canada regarding this case, and the fact that the McCanns still remain missing, I am now going to post the theory/profile I formulated in December onto this blog.  Before I wrote it, I was aware that a suspect named Travis Vader had been taken into custody, however in order not to compromise the profile, I purposely avoided looking into Vader's past or personality.  You'll just have to trust me on this one. Subsequently, I have been told that the profile fits Vader like a glove.  Let's look at what happened:

WHO: Lyle (78/m) and Marie McCann (77/f), a retired couple who were driving from their hometown of St. Albert, Alberta to meet with their daughter in Abbotsford, British Columbia on July 10.  They were towing an SUV behind their motorhome.

WHAT: Both Lyle and Marie are missing persons, though their white Gulf Stream Sun Voyager was found burnt in a deliberate act of arson soon after. A light green 2006 Hyundai Tucson SUV belonging to the couple was later discovered abandoned.  This seems to indicate that they were taken hostage somewhere after leaving the gas station at St. Albert.

WHERE: The Sun Voyager motor home was found burnt nearly beyond recognition at the end of a dead end road near Minnow Lake Campground, a wooded area south of Edson, Alberta.  Previously it had been seen at the campground, with the Hyundai Tucson detached and being driven around by an adult male.  The Hyundai Tucson was ditched deep in the bush, 30 km east of Edson by Carrot Creek.

WHEN: Lyle and Marie were last seen on July 3, 2010, caught on a gas station camera in St. Albert.  Their motor home was next spotted on July 4 and 5 at Minnow Lake campground and later found in flames on July 5. The Tucson was finally located on July 16.

HOW: As the McCanns are missing we don't know the details.  However, an official at the campground recalls knocking on the door of the Sun Voyager, and getting no reply.  This happened mere hours before the motor home was transported from the area and set alight.  The previous day, a witness recounted seeing two men in their late thirties inside the Voyager, while it was parked at the campground.  Interestingly, I believe two UNSUBS must have been involved in this crime due to the amount of work involved: 1) controlling two people, 2) dealing with separate vehicles, 3) torching the motor home in a highly effective manner, then driving off quickly, 4) dumping two bodies so efficiently that they have yet to be found, while managing to pull off the fire and abandoning the vehicles. Based on eye witness reports, I will proceed with the assumption that they both were male.

WHY: I believe the initial motive was to rob the couple, but somewhere along the line things escalated into murder and an attempt to cover up evidence through arson.  We know the McCanns had bank cards, but following the disappearance, there is no record of them being used. This could indicate that the UNSUBs were aware they could be tracked by doing so, or didn't know the PIN number.
In the latter case, they might have employed some sort of pressure (death threats or torture) to try to extract this information from the McCanns, but the fact that no attempt was made to withdraw money shows that either the elderly couple bravely held out, or no efforts to obtain the PIN number were made.

The UNSUB might have killed the couple 1) as punishment for refusing to divulge bank account information, 2) out of anger because he discovered they were not carrying as much cash as he assumed, 3) to prevent them from identifying him, 4) on a power trip, or 5) some combination of these factors (which I find most plausible).  The extent of the violence may have initially been unplanned, but was exacerbated by the use of drugs and alcohol.

I am 99% certain the McCanns are dead. If they were being held for ransom, a letter would have been delivered to the family by now, and I've certainly never heard of a couple in their late seventies being sold into hard labour or sex slavery. They may have been left bound in the middle of nowhere, and unable to free themselves, eventually succumbed to the elements or thirst.  More likely they were shot at close range or beaten to death and are lying in the woods, possibly in a shallow grave.  I doubt the sort of perpetrator who would incinerate a motor home would bother digging anything elaborate.  Which brings us to the profile:

The McCann Murderers

Sex/Gender: Both UNSUBS are male, and identify as such.

Age: The dominant UNSUB in the partnership will be between 25-45 years of age (big range yes, but there are no bodies so this calls for broad brush strokes).  His accomplice may be of any age over 16.

Race/ethnicity: The UNSUBs will be Caucasian.  I believe they must have used a ruse to approach the McCanns, which would have failed if they had been of any other race.  Unusual racial characteristics would also have been noted by eye witnesses.  This IS rural Alberta, after all.

Occupation/skills/intelligence/socialization: The dominant offender will be of slightly above average IQ, though uneducated and lacking in vocabulary.  His intellect will instead manifest in an aptitude for machines or carpentry, and a certain devious cunning.  He will be experienced with vehicles.  Boths UNSUBs are blue collar, working class outdoorsmen and in good physical shape for their age. The dominant offender is the kind of guy you wouldn't want to pick a bar fight with, though his accomplice will seem more meek, if a little rough around the edges.  The highest level of education either man will have is a high school diploma, if they bothered to finish at all. The dominant offender will have a pronounced attitude problem and will thus be unlikely to keep a job for an extended period.  At the time of the disappearances he will have been unemployed, or doing part time hands-on work, using criminal activities such as drug dealing or robbery to supplement his income.  The more submissive accomplice may, on the other hand, have held a menial job for a number of years, due to his ability to comply and defer to an authority figure.  Neither men will have occupations where they will have to deal with the public. 

Unlike the Parkdale Bludgeoner and Tice/Gilmour murderer I profiled previously, these UNSUBS will be more socially adept, extroverted offenders.  That said, they will only be able to move in certain circles (the bar scene, blue collar workers, criminals).  They will have varying degrees of substance abuse problems - definitely alcohol, but possibly also cocaine, pills or methamphetamine.  I do not classify marijuana, which they use or have used, as a substance of any note.  You are entitled to your views on the subject.  I would be willing to wager that both UNSUBS were under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs during the commission of this crime. 

They will try to portray themselves as manly rebels and be brusque in their interactions, using swear words liberally, picking fights etc. Indeed, the dominant offender will view himself as a wolf among sheep who deserve to be preyed upon.  He will even see his accomplice as a weakling he manipulates or bullies into doing his will, and will probably be right.

Appearance: Because of their desire to view themselves as masculine outlaws, these men will exhibit some combination of the following physical qualities: facial hair, long hair, tattoos, piercings, boots (combat or steel-toed), bandanas, camouflage clothing etc.  That said, most of their clothing will be oriented towards comfort and what they can afford.  They will try to look dangerous, but not necessarily flashy.  Their goal is not to impress by wealth or taste, but through intimidation, and they will appear decidedly working class.

Residence: The UNSUBS seem well oriented to the locations where the vehicles were found, meaning they have spent a great deal of time around the Edson area.  As for their current residence, it could be anywhere between St. Albert to a few kilometres west of Edson. 

Relationships/family: As both men will be fairly social and might even have a reputation in certain circles, it is likely they have wives or girlfriends and children.  Undoubtedly their relationships will be so turbulent due to their selfishness, substance abuse and anger (possible verbal and/or physical abuse and threats towards the women in their life), that these relationships will inevitably collapse.  Therefore any domestic relationships they are involved with will be less than a year or two in duration.  For this reason it is probable they will have a string of ex-wives, girlfriends, and children who they rarely see.  Both men will have distant relationships with their parents, and the dominant partner will undoubtedly have had a father figure who physically abused him and/or his mother.  His mother will have been emotionally unavailable to him.  I imagine there would have been a history of substance abuse in the home growing up which facilitated this abuse and neglect.

Criminal/Psychiatric History: Though both UNSUBS will have a sordid past, the dominant partner will be a career criminal, probably with numerous priors including breaking and entering, domestic abuse and assault. He WILL have a record. 

The Big Question: What will these types of offenders have done with the McCanns' bodies?

There are a few possibilities: 1) They dumped them first, and thought about burning the motor home later to get rid of evidence, or just for kicks (there were recent arsons reported in the area), 2) They were worried the bodies wouldn't burn properly before the fire was put out, leaving DNA evidence and clues to the cause of death, 3) They took the McCanns to another location, attempting to torture the PIN number info from them, were unsuccessful, killed them at this location, and then decided to dump and burn the motor home.

My instinct is that the UNSUBS aren't very cerebral.  It's not that they're dumb, they just wouldn't be intellectually gratified knowing they'd made the bodies impossible to find.  They're ultimately lazy and wouldn't have spent a great deal of time disposing of the bodies. They might drive into a secluded or remote area, but I doubt the corpses will be far from a road or trail.  Why go to elaborate lengths to hide the bodies after you've drawn attention to yourself by incincerating a mobile home?  As far as offenders who start fires go, my research tells me they tend to be fairly lackadaisical about corpse disposal, and in fact I'm amazed the bodies were moved at all.  Chances are the remains are not well hidden, and have simply been overlooked by search teams. 

Though they may be burnt or buried in a shallow grave, I would rule out dismemberment.  Such an act will only occur if it is necessary for body disposal, or brings sexual gratification to the offender.  Considering the victimology (older couple, less chance of sexual component), type of transportation (SUV and motor home) and the availability of vast dumping grounds, dismemberment would be time consuming, messy and superfluous.  It is a meticulous process that requires a rare level of cold-bloodedness, and I am unaware of any murderers who have both the predilection for arson and dismemberment.  In short, I just don't see that level of deliberation, care and attention to detail in the kind of offender who would jack an old couple's motor home, drive around in their vehicles for days and then set it ablaze, drawing attention to their crimes. The guys who did this are pissed off hellraisers with zero ability to delay gratification, constant emotional instability and no imagination. Think Ted Bundy, and look in the TOTALLY opposite direction.

By now animals will have scattered the skeletal remains over a large area...

A Criminological Summary

It's important to keep in mind that this crime is not a particularly sophisticated one.  The UNSUBs surprised a couple of pensioners in what appears to be broad daylight.  Then, after getting some unknown but probably insignificant amount of money, murdered them (risking a 25 year sentence) and were forced to dispose of two bodies, a motor home and SUV.  Wouldn't it make more sense and have fewer legal repercussions just to burglarize a middle-class home? The setting is more predictable and they wouldn't have to worry about disposing of cars, bodies, and mass media exposure.

Taking all this into consideration, it seems the crime was spontaneous, driven by the whims of two inebriated losers who saw an opportunity, and decided to seize it, rather than assessing whether or not it was a good idea.  For the dominant offender in the partnership, there was clearly more than just a simple material motive to this crime. This was a "fuck you" to the world.  It wasn't about sex, but certainly would have contained elements of power, no matter how subconscious they were. The thrill of killing: the same mentality as a pack of wayward teens kicking somebody to death simply for the rush.

As previously stated, the dominant UNSUB is an intelligent man, but once you factor in 1) lack of impulse control, 2) mind altering substances, and 3) the lack of any need to take pride in the intellectual way you have committed your crimes; we have an offender of some intelligence committing a murder that falls far short of his natural IQ.

Suggested strategies for police:

Once in custody, the dominant offender won't crack under pressure.  He is intelligent and experienced enough with the criminal justice system to know the consequences of what will happen if he does.  He also will know if the police have little evidence against him, and gets off psychologically playing the part of the unflappable bad guy.  In all probability he is a sociopath.  I would instead focus on interrogating the submissive partner, attempting to unnerve him by implying you know more than you do.  He will be more susceptible to bluffs, and will implicate his accomplice in return for a plea bargain.

If there was no evidence (blood) found in the back of the abandoned SUV, then I would guess the bodies had been dumped prior, and that the stealing of the SUV was just a quick getaway plan. In this case, I would focus the search on the area around the motor home and along the highways leading from the outskirts of St. Albert to the site of the fire. Because of the arson, I suspect the motor home is the place where the murder took place, although the couple could also have been marched into the woods. The fire will have been set to cover evidence, but whether this is evidence of murder, ransacking, or just to eliminate the offender's DNA is unknown.  The offender also felt some degree of power gratification in starting the fire, and yes, it MAY be related to other arsons in the area... but not necessarily.

Lee, do you think this could be the work of a serial killer?

From what I have gathered from this case so far, I would think that the dominant perpetrator would be capable of killing casually and remoreselessly again (he might have already done so), but I wouldn't necessarily say "this is definitely the work of a serial killer". If they are ever recovered, the bodies will reveal a lot more info about the psychology of the UNSUB.  Right now, I see him as somebody who is compelled to commit anti-social activities, but not necessarily a series of homicides. That doesn't mean he hasn't, it just means he might not have done so in the past or will ever do again.  He is not DRIVEN to kill, instead he takes it far too casually - it doesn't define his life or engross his fantasies. He just doesn't give a rat's ass.
BUT because he doesn't give a rat's ass, if he were a serial killer, it would be difficult to connect his crimes, unless you have more arson based murders.  I envision the UNSUB as the type who would shoot a 7-11 clerk during a hold up; abduct a girl, rape and strangle her; then do something totally different, as in the case of the McCanns.  His casual attitude towards killing means that there will be no ritual or "signature" present.

Sources: - There are two threads on the McCanns that include links to their information.

UPDATE - New "Parkdale Bludgeoner" attack.

Unfortunately there was a sixth attack in Parkdale this morning.  I've updated the original post to incorporate this, though my profile remains basically the same.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Cold Case #1: Who killed Toronto women Susan O'Hara Tice and Erin Gilmour in 1983?

While corresponding with the Canadian true crime writer Robert Hoshowsky today I was reminded of two cold cases which appeared in his engrossing Unsolved (Dundurn, 2010).  In 1983, two women were savagely murdered in Toronto, though their cases would not be linked until the advent of DNA technology. On the surface the killings seem to bear little resemblance to each other because the victims were so radically different. However if one is to take the UNSUB's Modus Operandi and Signature into consideration (concepts I explore in my forthcoming book Cold North Killers: Canadian Serial Murder) then there are actually some striking similarities. Let's examine the first murder adhering to the 6 question method.

First victim

WHO: Susan O'Hara Tice. A 45-year-old female living alone in Toronto's Little Italy neighbourhood. She had recently split with her longtime husband, an employee at CIBC Wood Gundy.  At the time of the murder, both spouses held separate residences in Toronto. Susan was a kindhearted plain woman with short dark hair. Trained in nursing, she had recently moved on to work with disadvantaged children.

WHAT: According to available sources, Susan was raped, strangled and stabbed multiple times in the chest and lungs.

WHERE: Susan's house on 341 Grace Street, near Harbord. Her body was found in the second floor bedroom.

WHEN: Sometime between Sunday August 14th, 1983, when she was last seen, and the following Wednesday August 17th when her family became concerned and sent a brother-in-law to check on her. A neighbour reported hearing screams late one night, but chose not to investigate.

HOW: There has been no mention of any ligatures or restraints being used to bind the victim. The strangulation seems to have been a mechanism of coercion or a sadistic appetizer to her death by multiple stab wounds. Nor have police hinted that any knives were taken or left at the crime scene. Susan's home had been ransacked and $75 in cash stolen. Perhaps most interestingly, a doorway entering the home was left ajar.

WHY: First let's analyze the second murder attributed to this UNSUB, because there are similarities that begin to form a picture of the offender's psychopathology.

Second victim

WHO: Erin Gilmour. Unlike Susan, Erin was only 22 with long blonde hair.  She was notably attractive and came from a wealthy family.  At the time of her death, Erin was working at Robin's Knit Shop in Yorkville, and living alone in the two bedroom apartment above.  She was dating.

WHAT: As in Susan's case, Erin Gilmour was raped, strangled and repeatedly stabbed.

WHERE: In her apartment above Robin's Knit Shop at 37B Hazelton Avenue in Yorkville, an upscale fashionable district of Toronto. Erin was found on her bed. The distance from the Susan O'Hara Tice crime scene was less than 4 km!

WHEN: Between 8:45-9:20 PM on the cold winter's night of Tuesday December 20, 1983. Erin's boyfriend actually found her within minutes of her murder as the two had arranged a date at 9 PM.  Unfortunately he had stopped at a bank machine and arrived too late to save her.

HOW: Almost identical to Susan's murder, except in this incidence the apartment was not ranscaked, nor was anything of monetary value taken. Yet the door was found ajar; Erin was strangled and raped before being stabbed; and again, there was no mention of ligatures or restraints. It is notable that Erin was working at Robin's Knit Shop until 8:45 that evening and had locked up the store and headed into a nearby laneway to enter her apartment, as there was no access from inside the shop.

WHY: Both slayings are classic cases of lust murders where some combination of anger, the need to assert power and sexual release have become inseparably and lethally fused. Unlike more selective offenders such as Ted Bundy and Paul Bernardo who sought out specific traits in their victims, this UNSUB chose two very different types of women because they shared one commonality - they lived alone. They were selected for their 1) sex, 2) vulnerability, and little more (though Erin's striking looks might have caused the UNSUB to focus on her).  As in the case of the Parkdale Bludgeoner analyzed in the last blog entry, there is an absence of fetish evident at the crime scenes, showing that though the perpetrator was motivated by sexual desire and the need to control, his fantasy life was not significantly developed. If there is one item that seems to leap out, it is the repetitive stab wounds which might be indicative of overkill or picquerism (sexual arousal through the inflicting of knife wounds). From what little information has been released, I would say this is more a case of the former, as picquerist wounds tend to be clustered and shallower, just breaking the skin.  In his Unsolved, Robert Hoshowsky speaks of stab wounds that penetrate the lungs, so we are probably looking at an UNSUB motivated more by boundless rage and a desire to destroy more than torture or fetishism.

Before constructing my profile I would like to tack on my usual ass covering warning: I am working on information provided in a book of unsolved crimes. Therefore if there are key pieces of evidence that have been excluded or that investigators are holding back, this will negatively effect my profile. As the FBI behavioural analyst John Douglas once said "garbage in, garbage out". So assuming that I am working with pretty much all the information there is, I will now construct a psychological and character profile of the Tice-Gilmour serial murderer.

The Tice-Gilmour Murderer

Sex/Gender: The UNSUB is a male, and identifies as such.

Age: The UNSUB was between the ages of 17-25 in 1983. An older offender would have a more developed fantasy life, and would have showed more confidence and control at the crime scenes. I will expand on this in the Occupation/skills/intelligence/socialization period

Race/ethnicity: The UNSUB is Caucasian (this includes Hispanic) or black. We do not typically see these sorts of rape-slayings represented in other ethnicities. Despite the FBI's claims that serial killers murder strictly within their own racial group, this has been proven incorrect time and time again (Gary Heidnik, Cleophus Prince Jr, Derek Todd Lee are three examples that spring immediately to mind - yeah, it took 3 seconds).

Occupation/skills/intelligence/socialization: This is not a man who exhibits any kind of self confidence and was probably unemployed at the time of the murders. His IQ will be lower than average and he will appear shy and a little odd - the quiet kid next door who won't make eye contact. He does not believe that women will ever find him attractive, so he harbours constant overwhelming (yet unsophisticated fantasies) of dominating them and using them sexually. He wants to project the pain of rejection he has felt all of his life onto them in the form of physical and emotional pain before destroying them, erasing the superiority they exude over him and offering him psychological relief. He will have no close friends and live a largely solitary existence, roaming the streets aimlessly, but always looking for vulnerable women to destroy. I think there is a distinct possibility that Susan O'Hara-Tice may have known or worked with him as a troubled youth, and this is why he targetted her as his first victim.  To quote The Silence of the Lambs "We covet what we see every day" (or something like that).  For this and other reasons, such as the robbing of the $75, the chaotic ransacking of Susan's house, and foolishly leaving open the door at both crime scenes, he is potentially reliant on alcohol and/or other drugs.  He loves knives, as they make him feel powerful, and will probably carry one at all times or even collect them.*  His tastes in pornography will be towards more soft core porn, and will not extend to S&M as it would have resulted in more ritualistic behaviour.

* - I have been given no information as to what kind of knife was used in the killings, so I am uneasy with this prediction.

Appearance: Because of his lack of self discipline and probable dependency on substances, the offender will be notably unkempt, though not necessarily the woolly mammoth. He will wear clothing that is affordable, comfortable and practical, rather than trying to adopt any kind of style.

Residence: Within walking distance of the two crime scenes.

Relationships/family: He will have a negative relationship with his mother. He feels that she does not love him (establishing a base for how he feels about women in general), and he was emotionally neglected by her. I don't think this will extend as far as physical abuse. The father figure in his life will be less influential, but generally absent and a poor role model.

Criminal/Psychiatric History: The UNSUB will have a history of stalking women and window peeping (voyeurism). He may have committed previous rapes and sexual assaults, on strangers and also on younger members of his family. Breaking and entering is possible, but he does not do it for money, he does it for the sense of power he gets from invading a woman's personal space. Therefore, he will not be an accomplished burglar.  Somebody possessing these skills would have not left the doors to his victims' homes ajar, because obviously it would draw suspicion.

Though he shows no remorse for his crimes (he is a sexually sadistic psychopath) he panics when he sees what he has done and flees immediately. In short, he spends a lot of time planning and rehearsing his crimes - selecting the right victims, thinking about what he'll do to them, possibly bringing equipment; but once his lust is satiated and a dead woman is before him, he realizes the legal danger he has put himself in, and begins to act erratically. This fear of being caught may extend for days or weeks following the murders, until the fantasies begin to build again.  He will not follow his crimes in the news and does not relish nor acknowledge the thought of being a serial killer. 

One last thing - the police have not gone into details about the rapes.  Sometimes they are referred to as sexual assaults.  I think there is a distinct possibility that the offender may have engaged in post or peri-mortem sexual activity with his victims instead of raping them then killing them.  They may be withholding this to try and weed out false confessions.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

The Parkdale Bludgeoner - Four Attacks on mentally challenged residents culminate in the homicide of George Wass

There has been no shortage of Canadian murders in the news these past few weeks, but my personal interest has focused on a series of attacks in the Parkdale neighbourhood of Toronto which on Friday March 18 resulted in the death of 62-year-old George Wass.  The reason I have decided to make the UNSUB (unknown subject) of the Parkdale Bludgeoner the first profile I post on this blog is because there has been a series of attacks since January, allowing me to analyze a pattern.  Let's look first at the timeline.  Text in red indicates updates I have added since forming the original profile.

Sunday January 4, 2011 - 47/f on Leopold Street punched and kicked by an unknown assailant hospitalized.
Friday January 9, 2011 - 47/m is similarly assaulted. 
Saturday February 25, 2011 - Another middle-aged man attacked in Queen and Lansdowne area.
Thursday March 3, 2011 - Another middle-aged man attacked in Queen and Lansdwone area.
Friday March 18, 2011 - 62/m George Wass attacked while smoking a cigarette on the porch of his rooming house at Queen and Jameson (mis-spelled as Jamieson in several articles I read, but can't seem to find a Jamieson street in Toronto) and taken to hospital to be treated.  On Monday Wass was found dead on the second floor of the rooming house as a result of the injuries sustained during the Friday attack.
Tuesday April 5, 2011 - 45/m attacked on Maynard and Leopold.  Hospitalized but survived.

WHO: Victims are described as all mentally challenged adults between the ages of 47-62, four males and one female (initial victim).  The April 5 victim, 45/m, was not mentally handicapped, but the UNSUB may have mistaken him to be so.  This lends further credence to my assertion that he is NOT stalking his victims

WHAT: Victims are attacked seemingly without reason, and battered into a pulp using the offender's fists and feet, resulting in hospitalization, and in the last case of George Wass, homicide.

WHERE: Parkdale: a working-class burrough on the west end of Toronto.  Known for drugs, prostitution and other sordid activities.  I've personally witnessed several streetfights break out randomly in this area at night.  It is also the area where three streetwalking prostitutes were allegedly killed by Peter Dale MacDonald in the 90s and dumped into Lake Ontario.  Cheap urban housing and all the problems that go with it.

WHEN: The attacks seemed to start in the early part of this year and have continued at a rate of about one every three weeks.

HOW: The Parkdale bludgeoner "attacks unprovoked without saying a word" beating his victims with personal weapons (punching and kicking).  He wears a balaclava to disguise his identity and is said to sometimes ride a bicycle.

WHY: We can rule "lust" out as a motive as there has been no evidence of sexual assault, strange fetishes (bondage, torture etc.) or semen found at the scenes.  Likewise none of the victims were robbed, ruling out a simple brutal series of muggings.  Though mentally handicapped people have been targeted on each occasion, a desire to punish a section of society is NOT the primary force driving the UNSUB.  Rather it is a justification.  Instead, the primary motivation is the need to express anger in the form of brutal violence.  He does not necessarily intend to kill his victims - in fact, he probably doesn't think much about it.  His main concern is that he finds an outlet for his rage, which once unleashed, is beyond his control.  Seems simplistic?  Having answered the big five questions, please allow me to expand.

First of all I would like to clarify, that I am working on information provided in media sources, not by police themselves.  Therefore if there are key pieces of evidence that investigators are holding back, this will negatively effect my profile.  As the FBI behavioural analyst John Douglas once said "garbage in, garbage out".  So assuming that I am working with pretty much all the information there is, I will now construct a psychological and character profile of the Parkdale Bludgeoner.  I don't expect this to be of any use to investigators, as I will appear unqualified, however I am creating this as a personal test, as I believe this suspect will be apprehended soon and would like to see if my understanding of the criminal mind is as honed as I believe.


Sex/Gender: The UNSUB is a male, and identifies as such.

Age: The UNSUB is between the ages of 17-35 as evidenced by 1) The highly physical nature of his crimes.  He has the energy, testosterone and confidence in his hand to hand combat skills to attack his victims unarmed and overwhelm them fairly easily.  He also rides a bike, and the only men I see riding bikes over the age of 35 seem to be gentle, liberal types who do it for environmental purposes or to maintain some passive level of physical fitness (not active like hitting the gym).  I do not see this offender as somebody who is "gentle" or "liberal" or who would cares much about anything other than his own self image.  Physical fitness may however factor into this. 2) The unsophisticated nature of the crimes.  The offender simply finds a weak target and batters it to vent his frustrations.  There is no signs of an elaborate fantasy life like we might see in older offenders, and an older criminal this sloppy would probably be in jail for these types of attacks by now.  As of the April 5 attack, I am beginning to think that the offender is leaning more towards 20 than 35, because despite the media coverage and clear indications that the police are onto him, he continues to attack in the same area.  This is evidence that the attacker is not thinking about his modus operandi at the same level we might see an older offender do.

Race/ethnicity: The UNSUB could be of any racial background, though there have been surviving witnesses who may have indicated if he were anything other than Caucasian.  Then again the suspect wore a balaclava, and the attacks may have happened in such poor lighting and/or so unexpectedly that the survivors simply weren't able to notice racial characteristics.  For instance, I was once attacked in a dark wooded area by a group of at least 4 men when I was 18, and was only able to remember the characteristics of one of my assailants, even though I had personally met another before.  For this reason, I believe it is prudent to leave the subject of race open.  Though I wouldn't rule it out on this basis, in this case you are possibly looking at somebody who is not a WASP.  If they are Caucasian, more likely they are of a blue collar immigrant family possibly first or second generation Italian, Greek, Slavic etc.  This is due to the non-verbal communication, Toronto's ethnic diversity and some gut feeling I can't pinpoint (the nagging feeling that this man comes from a very paternalistic family).  I repeat though DO NOT RULE OUT ANYONE ON GROUNDS OF RACE OR CULTURAL BACKGROUND.

Occupation/skills/intelligence/socialization: This offender, though probably not mentally retarded himself, will be of low-average IQ.  He has enough sense to wear a balaclava to conceal his identity, realizing that nobody will confront him about this during the winter, and that he may leave survivors who will identify him.  This is really the only attempt to prevent leaving evidence that he takes.  Otherwise, his crimes all occur in a single location making them easily detectable and ensuring that he spends a minimal amount of time with his victims.  Nor does he change neighbourhoods, increasingly the likelihood of his capture.  There is also little thought or imagination behind these attacks - they are about as basic and brutish as can be.  Therefore, I believe the UNSUB works sporadically in a job that is physically demanding, but probably unskilled, such as construction, roofing, moving furniture, renovations or odd jobs.  This is one of the reasons he rides a bicycle rather than drives a car - he simply can't afford one.  He is aware of his lack of his skills, intellect, and inability to form meaningful bonds with others (notice how he doesn't speak to his victims - a direct contrast to a more socialized street attacker like young Paul Bernardo as 'The Scarborough Rapist'), and secretly hates himself for it.  Therefore he projects this hatred onto those who are, in his thinking, "even more useless" - the mentally handicapped. 

He envies the successful and harbours anger that he himself can not achieve, but rather than hating them, he is too limited and conservative in his thinking for this type of class consciousness.  So instead he prefers to see himself as one of the "useful" people (though subconsciously he believes he isn't and this leads to his overwhelming rage).  He thus places the blame for his own flawed life on perceived "social parasites" like the mentally handicapped who have to live off the state.  His highest level of education will be high school, though it is possible that he did not complete it.  He is extremely juvenile.

Appearance: Accounts describe the UNSUB as around average height and stocky.  I believe because of his immature Nazi-esque way of thinking, he will be clean cut with short hair.  If he does have facial hair it will be notably groomed or stylized such as a well maintained goatee.  Though not socially adept, he will have some ability to blend into society, and will probably come across as opinonated, brusque and judgmental when he decides to speak.

Residence: The offender either lives and/or works or has ties to Queen and Lansdowne area.  Unlike the police, I don't believe he "stalked" his victims (the fact that the April 5 victim was not mentally handicapped seems to confirm this), instead I think he spent so much time in the area that he became aware of the significant population of mentally challenged, and probably began harbouring a general dislike of them as a group.  When he rode out on his bike to attack them, he wasn't thinking of anyone in particular, but to use his way of thinking, was definitely looking to "kick the shit out of some retard".  His lifestyle will probably not be much different to the naked eye than that of his victims.  He will have a small apartment or basement apartment and very few material items of worth.

Relationships/family: This man is able to form relationships with women, though they will be turbulent due to his projecting of his poor self image onto others.  I would expect any women in his life to have been subjects of verbal or physical abuse.  Problems in a relationship or at work may have been what set him off in the first place.  He will have come from a working class home with an abusive, domineering father.  This accounts for his desire to re-enact physical beatings that he experienced in childhood.  His father would have also bombarded him with the importance of being successful and strong, which he isn't, leading to his hatred of those weaker than him.

Criminal/Psychiatric History: I would look for a history of domestic violence or other types of assault in this man's past, along with possible paranoid tendencies and mild mental illness.  These may not have been so severe that he was ever institutionalized or diagnosed. 

As I conclude this profile, there is one thing bothering me: wouldn't this kind of man also attack homeless people?  I am going to dwell on this for awhile, and revise the profile if I figure out the solution.