Help police find nanny’s killers
MAX HAINES, Special to Toronto Sun
First posted: Saturday, February 26, 2011 06:29 PM EST | Updated: Saturday, February 26, 2011 06:30 PM EST
It may have been the happiest day of Christine Prince’s life when she received her special diploma in child care from the Porthcawl College in Wales. She would wait five years before finding employment in her chosen profession. In the meantime, she worked at a food store in her hometown. In 1981, Josie and Emile Kruzick, of Toronto, applied to Canada Immigration and Employment for a nanny with exactly the same qualifications Christine possessed.
After much correspondence, the two parties reached an agreement.Christine arrived in Canada and was ensconced in the Kruzick residence at 66 Pinewood Ave., where her duties consisted of taking care of their three-year-old daughter, Nicole, as well as light housekeeping. Christine was happy. She was working in a position she loved. Soon the Kruzicks considered her a member of the family. Little Nicole liked Christine and the nanny was fond of the little girl.
On April 3, 1982, Christine met fellow nanny Gloria Betts at an English pub. The manager introduced both Gloria and Christine to two young men from “over home”. And that’s how Christine met David Curtis-Smith. The two hit it off from the very beginning. Gloria’s young man wasn’t interested in Gloria, nor was she in him, although the two couples often went out as foursome.
Late on the Sunday evening of June 20, 1982, Christine Prince, accompanied by Gloria, set out to meet David at the corner of Bloor St. and Yorkville Ave. The reason for the late hour was that David worked as a chef at the Four Seasons Hotel and his shift ended at 11:30 p.m.
The three young people dropped into a coffee shop, where they lingered until 1:15 a.m. Monday morning.
They made their way to their respective residences. David, who was going in a different direction bid the girls goodnight. The two girls proceeded by subway and streetcar. In due course, Gloria and Christine parted. Christine got off at Wychwood Ave. and made her way to Pinewood Ave., keeping to the east side of Pinewood, as was her custom, because that side is well lit.
She walked along Pinewood to the front of number 18. We know that for a fact because it was misting out and Christine was carrying an umbrella. Later that day, a passerby found the umbrella on the road in front of number 18. Christine never made it home.
A man, or more likely two men, were either parked or trolling for a woman. They grabbed Christine from the street and dragged her into their car. They drove over 30 km to just off Sewells Rd. in the Metro Toronto Zoo area. They took their captive up a lonely road often used by young people to drink beer and make love. The lane runs parallel to the Rouge River, and is not easily visible from Sewells Rd.
In the morning, little Nicole woke her mother and informed her that Christine was not at home. Mrs. Kruzick called Gloria and David. She then called the police. Later that morning, Dominic Dodds, was cutting grass aboard his tractor along Hwy. 401 near Meadowvale Rd. There, before his astonished eyes, lay a wallet. A search of the wallet revealed hat it belonged to Christine Prince. Dominic called Christine’s phone number. It didn’t take long for the police to be in possession of the wallet.
On Tuesday morning, June 22, 1982, a number of motorists travelling to work phoned police informing them that they had seen a nude body in the Rouge River from the Sewells Rd. bridge. Christine Prince had been found.
Homicide detectives knew where Christine had been picked up. They knew where she had been driven. They knew a lot about Christine’s last hours on Earth. It is surmised that she was only moments from her home when she was abducted on Pinewood Ave. She was either struck on the head upon being grabbed, causing a great deal of blood in the abductors’ vehicle, or she had been held by one man while the other drove to an area he knew well. It was a 30 km drive.
I made my way with Det. Bob Wilkinson along the secluded road, where the killer or killers raped their victim and subsequently threw her in the river. Pathologist Dr. Hillsdon-Smith determined that the cause of death was drowning. One can only hope that Christine was unconscious when she hit the water. Strands of rope found at the scene were believed by the pathologist to have been used to bind Christine’s wrists.
It is now almost 30 years since Christine’s killer or killers committed their evil deed.
Missing from Christine’s body was a distinctive gold ring with two hearts joined together and a gold coloured watch. Christine’s clothing had been strewn about the area. When investigators found her purse, a Kodak instant camera was missing. In discussing the case with both the local behavioural science experts and the FBI in Quantico, Va., I was told that items removed from victims are often given to girlfriends, wives, and even mothers.
I am asking the public to search their memories. Did anyone receive an unexpected gift of a ring, a watch or a Kodak Instamatic camera?
It is a lot to expect after 30 years, but it is possible.
If you have any information about this old, unsolved crime, you are urged to call the Toronto Police cold case squad.
Guest Post: The Murder of Christine Prince
April 6, 2011 By Alice
Please welcome guest blogger M.L. Poncelet (oceanbluepress on Twitter)! After hearing about the 1982 Christine Prince case, she agreed to write about it on DCC. Asked how she would describe herself: “I’m a cosy mystery writer living on the west coast of Canada in an area that is full of characters and inspiration for my stories. I also enjoy being an “armchair detective” and reading historical non-fiction.”
Christine Prince arrived from Wales to work for the Kruzick family as a live-in nanny at their home in Toronto, Ontario.
On June 20, 1982, Christine and her friend, Gloria Betts, went to a movie at Yonge and Bloor, in the heart of Toronto.
Around 11:30pm, they met up with Christine’s boyfriend, David Curtis-Smith who had just finished his shift at the Four Seasons Hotel where he worked as a chef. The trio went to a donut shop where they talked until about 1:15 am.
Monday, June 21, 1982:
1:30 am. Christine’s boyfriend boarded a train going east and the women took the subway to St. Clair Avenue West. At the station Christine and Gloria boarded a westbound streetcar. At Bathurst Street, Gloria exited the streetcar with Christine only having two stops to make at Wychwood Avenue. She would have a short walk to make it to her employer’s home in the rain.
6:00am. A woman walking on Pinewood Avenue near Humewood Park on her way to work the next morning, found an umbrella in good condition lying on the sidewalk near 18 Pinewood Avenue. The woman hung it on the doorknob of a shop at St. Clair Ave. and Christie Street. Later, upon hearing about the murder and the distinctive umbrella Christine had been carrying, she contacted police. The Kruzick residence was a short distance away at 66 Pinewood Avenue.
7:30 a.m. After phoning Gloria and David, the Kruzicks phoned the police to report Christine Prince as missing.
9:00 am. A highway maintenance worker was cutting grass along Hwy. 401 near Meadowvale Rd when he spotted a wallet. He phoned the number inside and reached the Kruzick family, her employer. The police followed up on this information.
Tuesday, June 22, 1982.
Several people walking to work along Sewells Rd., about 800 metres north of Finch Ave. E. where Sewells meets the Rouge River, spotted a nude body lying face down in three feet of water and called police. The body was later identified as Christine Prince by her employer, Mr. Kruzick. Two items she always wore were missing: a distinctive gold ring with two hearts joined together and a gold coloured watch.
Scouring the isolated area, police found the murder scene about 200 metres upstream from where the body was found, off a small track in the bush that was known as Lovers’ Lane, a secluded lane parallel to Rouge River which was hidden from Sewell’s Road.
Along this lane, police discovered rope which they believe was used to tie her wrists as well as her clothing and her purse which contained everything except her wallet and a Kodak instant camera.
It was later established that Christine had been raped and brutally beaten there, but that she had died of drowning, either at the hands of her assailant or as a consequence of her incapacitating injuries.
Christine Prince was the first victim of five who suffered similar fates. Christine Prince, Delia Adriano, Valerie Stevens, Lynda Shaw and Cindy Halliday – were stalked, kidnapped and driven to remote areas where they were murdered between early spring and late summer, between 1982 and 1992.
• The bodies of five of the victims were discovered in lovers’ lanes – wooded, remote areas down back roads often frequented by teenagers. No effort was made to conceal the bodies.
• At least three of the slayings indicate a fetish for neatness: jackets folded neatly and shoes placed side by side at the murder scenes.
• Most of the victims were transported many kilometres from where they were abducted.
• Expressways figure in five of the slayings, either for stalking and transporting the victims, or as a place to later dump the victims’ belongings.
• The killer kept personal effects from some of the victims such as items of clothing, a shoe and jewellery.
According to the papers, the boyfriend and the employer have been cleared as suspects. Police believe that a serial killer was/is at work here. A name that has been mentioned is Russell Williams.