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.