tracey-bruney

At 1 p.m. on Wednesday, May 14th, 1975, a teenage boy walking through Marie Curtis Park found the body of 5-year-old Tracey Ann Bruney in 18 inches of water near a bridge in Etobicoke Creek, 15 km from the youngster’s home. She had died of drowning, but there were cuts and bruises all over her head and neck from a beating administered by her killer. An autopsy showed she had not been sexually assaulted. She was last seen alive by her mother at 9a.m., when she was dropped off at St. Clare Catholic School on Northcliffe Blvd. On the weekend, Tracey’s purse was found in a yard on Northcliffe Blvd., suggesting someone forcefully pulled her into a car near the school.

Police using 2014 technology to solve little girl’s 1975 murder

By Michele Mandel, Toronto Sun
First posted: Thursday, May 15, 2014 06:59 PM EDT | Updated: Thursday, May 15, 2014 08:59 PM EDT
TORONTO – Somewhere, her murderer has escaped justice for almost four decades now.
When five-year-old Tracey Ann Bruney was snatched from school and drowned in May 1975, there was no such thing as social media. The sad story of her murder was played out in the newspapers and on radio and TV newscasts but within a year, it was not heard about at all.
Just another unsolved murder for the records and an unknown tragedy to the rest of us.
But no more.
Toronto Police Det.-Sgt. Brian Borg took to Twitter last week to announce that he was now using social media as a tool to investigate more than 550 unsolved murders that remain on their books. Using anniversaries of the murders and birthdays of the victims, the veteran homicide detective plans to tweet details of each one.

Tracey’s murder was the first: “Tracey Ann BRUNEY 5yr never made it to her morning kindergarten class at St Clare Separate School on May 15 1975 Can you help?” The photo is black and white, grainy and unfocused, of a smiling child who slipped in and out of this city in such a short period of time.
News stories of the day recount that she was 10-months-old when she was sent back to live with her maternal grandmother in Dominica while her mother Merle tried to establish herself financially. Her mom went on to marry machinist Earl Chambers and together they had a daughter, Terry.
In December 1974, Tracey was brought back to Toronto to be reunited with her mom and to meet her stepdad and new half-sister. Just five months later, she was dead.
The family had recently moved from Rexdale into an apartment above a restaurant on St. Clair Ave. W. Her mother told police she had dropped her daughter off outside St. Clare Catholic School just around the corner on Northcliffe Blvd. where Tracy had been attending morning kindergarten for several weeks. She never made it to her classroom.
“Tracey was so happy with us and she laughed all the time,” her mom told the Sun at the time. “When she didn’t come home at lunch hour, I went back to the school to look for her but no one had seen her.”
While Chambers was frantically looking in her neighbourhood, 13-year-old Mark Norrie was playing in Marie Curtis Park about 16 kilometres away when he saw a girl lying face down in Etobicoke Creek. He ran home to tell his mother, who quickly called police.
Officers responded shortly after 1 p.m. and attempted mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. But it was too late. Tracey was pronounced dead at Queensway General Hospital. “The official cause of death was drowning but the post-mortem showed a number of injuries consistent with physical assault,” Borg explains. She was not sexually assaulted.
Her mom was taken to the hospital to identify her.
“I told them it couldn’t be Tracey. But then I went in and they pulled the sheet back from her face and I could see it was her,” Chambers recalled the following day.
“Why is it that children pay for everything? Why do we always turn on the radio and hear of children being kidnapped or killed?”
A month later, a Sun feature story questioned whether there was a child killer responsible for the deaths of Tracey and another little girl as well as the disappearance of three other kids between Toronto and Hamilton that year.
Tracey was just a tiny doll of a child — 3-foot-7, weighing all of 43 pounds, her black curly hair in braids, dressed in a grey cloth coat, blue turtleneck and blue pants. “It was a terrible case,” Borg says after reading the file. “I see nothing here that indicates to me that the family were suspects. We didn’t get very far with the investigation. A number of rewards were issued over time which didn’t provide any investigative leads.”
Now four decades later comes a tool that helps detectives reach out for new clues. “Time is a friend in cold cases because people change,” he says. So Borg is hoping his tweets may jog someone’s memory — or their conscience — to help solve the identity of who killed this innocent little girl.
A child still waiting for justice, all these years along.

London, Ont., was world’s ‘serial killer capital’: UWO prof

During 25-year period, there were 32 homicides, with all victims being women, children, author says

CBC News Posted: Aug 31, 2015 5:00 AM ETLast Updated: Mar 20, 2016 11:09 AM ET

Was the killer of Tracey Bruney a serial killer from London, Ontario?

In 1975, we have five-year-old Tracey Bruney in Etobicoke. In 1981, we have Erick Larsfolk in the company of his best friend, John McCormack. Neither body have ever been found. Do you believe this is all connected to the man that he referred to as the neighbour?

London was serial killer capital

At first glance, London, Ont., doesn’t seem like the type of place that would harbour a serial killer, but a new book has revealed it may have been a more dangerous place than meets the eye.

Only 192 kilometres southwest of Toronto, the city became the “serial killer capital of the world” from 1959 to 1984, according to Michael Arntfield, a criminology professor at the University of Western Ontario. With only a population of roughly 200,000 people at the time, the city may have had as many as six serial killers, more per capita than everywhere else on the planet.

In his new book, Murder City: The Untold Story of Canada’s Serial Killer Capital, Arntfield reveals the dark history of the Forest City. Thanks to the work of an OPP detective who followed his hunches and took detailed notes while following the killings, more is known about suspected murders who wreaked havoc in the area.

Arntfield, who also served as a London police officer for 15 years, analyzed 32 homicides, all the victims being women and children, over a 15-year period.  Some of those cases were solved, but most of the remaining homicides were likely the work of serial killers, the author contends.

Monsters such as the Mad Slasher, Chambermaid Slayer and Balcony Killer are suspected of having roamed the city’s streets. Some of the murderers were never captured, Arntfield says, but he suspects they escaped to Toronto, where they continued to harm the innocent.

The author of this chilling book sat down with CBC Toronto host Dwight Drummond to discuss this disturbing period. The following is a condensed and edited version of the interview:

You owe much of the information to OPP officer Dennis Alsop, how important was his documentation to your research?

It is extraordinarily important. A lot of the stuff that happened during this period, there is no other living record of it — much of it was thought to have been lost to history. But he took the time to diligently document his thoughts, his hunches, his findings, things that could be acted on but also things that would go no further than him.

And ultimately contained in that codex, as I call it — the basement book of the dead — are answers to these cases and he knew they couldn’t die with him so he left them behind to be found as a sort of a time capsule. His son then gave them to me knowing my work at the university with respect to unsolved homicides.

Let’s talk about one of the alleged killers, a man you identify as the neighbour.

After great deliberation and consultation with the families in the first of the murders, I’ve decided not to name him or reveal any other identifying information about him other than he was the neighbour of the first victim, Frankie Jensen, in February 1968. There is no question in looking at Dennis’s documents from this period, his diary entries, his own thoughts, his own narrative, that the neighbour was responsible. and the steps taken by the neighbour to avoid capture and elude investigators really speak to that.

After the first murder, he then targeted a second boy in the London area, [but] Dennis was not given the go ahead to make an arrest.

What happens next is Dennis stays on him, conducts surveillance on his own time, never really gives him any breathing room, so he leaves town.

In 1975, we have five-year-old Tracey Bruney in Etobicoke. In 1981, we have Erick Larsfolk in the company of his best friend, John McCormack. Neither body have ever been found. Do you believe this is all connected to the man that he referred to as the neighbour?

We then see four remarkably similar murders — in terms of ammunition and signature — in the Toronto area in the immediate vicinity of the area, in which he is living at the time after moving from London.

While these lives are being taken in Toronto, Alsop is trying to sound the alarm to his superiors that this is the work of a serial killer and it started in London and has moved to Toronto.

In the book, there is a very chilling document that was found in his codex … and it is the first of several teletype transmissions he sent, like an early version of a fax, and it is sent to the higher ups in Toronto saying, listen, London is under siege by [what he refers to as] sexual psychopaths, which is not a common term certainly for a police officer to be using at the time. He is saying there are at least two or more sexual psychopaths preying on this city. We need reinforcements. He was effectively alone in the hinterland. And there is no evidence there was any response. It fell on deaf ears and really the city was left to its own devices with him as the sole person chasing these killers.

Why London?

They call it the Forest City, forests are picturesque and suggest a sort of bucolic nice tranquil place but there are also dark places that harbour secrets and dangerous people. There is something about the design of the city circumscribed by these remote areas, and this is why Dennis also inherited all these cases because victims were taken, abducted, murdered inside the city and taken or disposed of outside the city. He would inherit those cases because outside the city was purely OPP territory and at the time, that was the jurisdictional practice.

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