Tracy Kundinger Cold Case

Tracy Kundinger



Location: Simonston Blvd (near German Mills P.S), Thornhill
Date: Thursday, August 21, 1975

Summary: The body of Tracy Kundinger, aged 18 of Thornhill, was located in a park area adjacent to the German Mills Public School, which is located on Simonston Boulevard in Thornhill. The investigation revealed that Tracy Kundinger worked until 10 p.m. on Wednesday, August 21, 1975 as a lifeguard at the Ottawa Indoor Pool located at 650 Parliament Street, Toronto. Tracy was reported to have been wearing a blue jean jacket over a white T-shirt, blue jeans, and a pair of white shoes when she left the Ottawa Indoor Pool, shortly after 10 p.m. on August 20, 1975. Tracy was observed walking with friends to the Castlefrank Subway Station, and ultimately took a Don Mills North bus to Steeles Avenue, leaving the bus at 10:50 p.m. A man who had been the only other passenger of the bus, described as 22 to 24 years of age, 175 to 180 lbs., with sandy, collar-length wavy hair and wearing a white denim jacket and jeans, got off the bus at the same time and was seen to walking in the same general direction as Tracy. It is believed that Tracy walked northwest from the intersection of Don Mills Road and Steeles Avenue toward her residence, and across the park area that surrounded German Mills Public School and St. Michael’s Catholic Elementary School. Tracy Kundinger died as a result of asphyxiation.


Anyone with information on this case is asked to contact the York Regional Police Homicide and Missing Persons Bureau at 1-866-876-5423 x 7865, Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS, leave an anonymous tip online at or text a tip by sending TIPYORK and a message to CRIMES (274637).

august 22, 1975 toronto star a1

At 5:30 on the afternoon of Thursday, August 21st, 1975, two young boys riding their bikes on mounds of top soil on the grounds of German Mills Public School at 61 Simonston Blvd. in Thornhill, just north of Toronto, stumbled upon the dead body of a young woman. She was 18-year-old Tracy Kundinger, who lived with her parents on nearby Monsanto Ct. She had been strangled with a piece of twine. There was no sexual assault. She had not been reported missing because her parents were away on holiday and she was home alone.


Police believed Kundinger, returning from her summer job as a lifeguard at a pool in downtown Toronto, took a shortcut northbound through a park after getting off a Toronto Transit bus at Leslie St. and Steeles Ave. E. Wednesday night, and that her killer followed her as she made her way through the woods.

screen shot 2019-01-15 at 2.20.48 pm

A link to the above map with further details on each Point of Interest

A few days later, police issued an appeal seeking a suspect. Described as a white male in his early to mid-20s, about 5’8″ to 5’11”, with a fair complexion and well-groomed light-brown hair combed over his forehead, he was the only other passenger with Kundinger on the bus on Wednesday night, and they got off at the same stop at about 10:50 p.m.

september 10, 1975 the liberal composite sketch

Note:  A solid suspect was later arrested, a 34-year-old mental patient who had an unusual interest in the crime, but the case against him fell apart in 1977 when it was established he had been fed details of the crime by a former policeman.

Person of Interest: John Ferguson

October 15, 1976 – Toronto Star

Arrest made in murder of girl, 18

A 34-year-old Toronto man has been charged with the non-capital murder of an 18-year-old Thornhill woman whose strangled body was found in a schoolyard in August, 1975.

John Ferguson, of Gerrard St. E., was charged early today after almost 14 months of investigation by York Regional Police detectives.

He is charged with the slaying of Tracy Lynn Kundinger, of Monsanto Ct., whose body was found by children playing in a park behind the German Mills Public School on August 20, 1975.

Police say Ferguson is single, unemployed and on welfare.

October 20, 1976 – The Liberal

Toronto man charged in Thornhill murder

John Ferguson, 34, of Gerrard Street in Toronto, has been charged with non-capital murder of Tracy Kundinger, 18, of Monsanto Court in Thornhill who was killed in August of last year.

At that time, the girl’s strangled body was found by children playing in a park behind German Mills Public School.

York Regional Police have been working on the case ever since.

Crown Attoney Iain Cunningham said he recommended the accused be sent to Penetanguishene after he had refused to co-operate with police.

He said Ferguson had been examined by Dr. Gerald Cooper, a psychiatrist at York-Finch Hospital, who described his behavior as “very bizarre.”

Dr. Cooper said he felt Ferguson was unfit to stand trial.

Police said the accused was single and on welfare.

may 4, 1977 the liberal john ferguson released

april 19, 1977 toronto star a11 john ferguson

There were no other arrests made, though further rapes occurred in the area over the next few years.

august 16, 1978 the liberal steeles & leslie rape

Person of Interest: Raymond Wallace

January 13, 1978 – Toronto Star

2nd Thornhill woman accosted

A woman was accosted at knifepoint last night in an area that has seen one unsolved murder and numerous rapes and indecent assaults.

It was the second such incident in a week.

York Regional police said a 20-year-old woman was waiting for a bus on Don Mills Rd. just north of Steeles Ave. when she was approached by a man with a knife who told her to accompany him.

Police said the armed man led the woman to a townhouse construction site and as they were about to enter the woman began to struggle and escaped.

About a week ago, a 19-year-old woman was grabbed by a man who produced a knife. The assault occurred in almost exactly the same spot.

Tracy Kundinger, 18, of Thornhill, was found murdered in the same area August 21, 1975.

The Grade 13 student was strangled. Her body was found in a field near the German Mills public school. Her killer has never been found.

Police say there have been a number of other rapes and attacks on women in the same area of Thornhill and in Metro just south of Steeles Ave. over the past 18 months but there have been no arrests.

january 13, 1978 toronto a4 2nd woman accosted in thornhill

March 29, 1978 – The Liberal

Thornhill residents relieved over rape arrest

Metro Police have arrested and charged a man with rape and attempted rape and York Regional Police have reason to believe he is the same man wanted in connection with similar crimes in the Don Mills – Steeles Avenue East, area.

Detective Sergeant Robert Wilson, in charge of the York Region investigation, said if and when the accused man is released by Toronto police, he will face charges resulting from a rash of incidents not far from Markham Place Mall, Thornhill, including three counts of abduction, one count of rape, two counts of attempted rape and two counts of indecent assault.

Murray MacDonald, manager of the shopping centre, said he is relieved the situation is now under control, especially for the sake of female employees.

Noting there was constant surveillance of the community around the mall, he felt thanks to York Region Police for their efforts were in order.

Detective Sergeant Wilson said the charges of abduction arose when a man (on three occasions) grabbed women by the arm at knifepoint and led them to secluded areas of the neighborhood.

Twice, victims were able to escape but another was taken to a vacant townhouse and raped.

“Our charges are different from those Metro laid in connection with incidents in Scarborough. Those acts happened inside cars but the ones up here included taking the victims from one place to another – that’s abduction,” said the Detective Sergeant.

Charged with rape and attempted rape by Metropolitan Toronto Police is Raymond Wallace, 31, of Brookbanks Road in Don Mills.

march 29, 1978 the liberal raymond wallace

Person of Interest: Philip Young

February 2, 1980 – Toronto Star

Man jailed for trying to force woman into car

A man who tried to force a woman into his car at knife point has been sentenced to six months and placed on two years’ probation.

Philip Young, 25, of Summerhill Rd. pleaded guilty earlier to a charge of assault with intent to commit an indictable offence and was sentenced yesterday by County Court Judge William Rogers.

Crown attorney Steve Howarth told the court people like Young threaten to ruin Metro’s reputation for being a city with safe streets.

According to a police synopsis, a 25-year-old woman was walking home from a bus stop in the Don Mills Rd. and Lawrence Ave. E., area about 2:30 a.m. last February 10.

She refused to Young’s invitation to give her a ride in his car and moments later he got out, grabbed her and produced a butter knife.

He held the knife first against her stomach and then near her throat as her ordered her to get into his car.

The woman dropped her briefcase and purse, ran into the middle of the road and flagged down a passing car.

At this point, Young handed her the purse and briefcase and told her he never had a knife. He got into his car and drove off.

The woman, “crying and shaking,” got into the passerby’s car and they followed Young and then went to a police station.

When police arrested him, Young said he had been drinking.

february 2, 1980 toronto star a14 philip young

Person of Interest: Michael Kloc

July 17, 1974 – The Liberal

Thornhill Girl, 18, Escapes Midnight Roadside Attacker

An 18-year-old Thornhill girl motorist was stopped and dragged into a field in Markham near Buttonville at 11:15 pm by a would-be rapist. But she escaped serious harm when another came by and the youthful attacker fled in his (the attacker’s) vehicle, police say.

Later, following an investigation, York Regional Police Detective Sergeant John Mocrhead and Detective Dick Witteman arrested a 16-year-old youth at an office at 2205 Midland Avenue, Toronto.

Held in custody for a bail hearing at Richmond Hill Court was Michael Kloc of 162 Bayview Fairways Drive, Thornhill. Police said Kloc was already out on bail and facing a May charge of rape in a Metro court. YRP charged Kloc with attempted rape and with impersonating a police officer.

The lone girl motorist told YRP her attacker followed her in a vehicle, pulled her over and stopped her, saying he was a police office. When he got her out of her car he pulled her into the field on Concession 5 road north of Highway 7.

He was struggling with her on the ground when the other motorist came along and frightened the attacker away. The girl fortunately suffered nothing more than minor abrasions, said police, who declined to reveal her name.

At a bail hearing, Provincial Judge Russell Pearce issued a detention order for Kloc until trial, ordering that the youth be brought back to the court from Don Jail weekly. A late August trial date was expected.

Note: Kloc was likely in jail at the time of Tracy’s murder, but clearly as shown with him out already on bail while committing this crime, anything is possible in Canada’s lax justice system. He can’t be discounted until his whereabouts at the time nearly one year to the day later are confirmed. I haven’t been able to find any further information on Kloc as of yet.

Kloc lived just over 1 km from Tracy and quite possible went to school or at least knew Tracy.

Note:  Wallace was never charged with Kundinger’s murder and it’s not known if he was even considered by York Regional Police as a suspect as were any of the others.  An attempt is being made as of January 15, 2019 to verify if any of these suspects (Wallace, Young or Kloc) were ever looked at.

Further to this, a couple of tips were received about an ex-boyfriend of Tracy’s that may have been involved.  The name and the interviews are being withheld for privacy.

Below is a partial screen grab of a map showing the locations of rapes and assaults in the area from 1970 – 1980.

screen shot 2019-01-15 at 1.54.02 pm

Below is a link to a searchable Google Map showing the locations of Tracy’s murder and numerous sexual assaults and rapes in the vicinity from 1970-1980.  Clicking on the highlighted point will give you more information about each crime.

Sexual Assaults near Thornhill (1970-1980)


Christine Jessop Investigation

I wonder if York Regional Police would have been interested, let’s say, if another girl about the same age had been kidnapped from outside a Peterborough corner store and driven west towards Sunderland, and the location where Christine Jessop was found, but she had been released unharmed because the kidnappers truck had broken down? And say this breakdown occurred about 45 minutes from Sunderland and the incident occurred less than 3 weeks after the disappearance of Christine? Now say the kidnapper worked as a woodcutter, a profession that would have him traveling many backroads? I wonder if they would have looked at this, or were they focused on Morin even this early?

From:  Toronto Star – Tuesday, October 23, 1984 (Page A1)

Police seek abductor as girl, 6, found safe

PETERBOROUGH – Police were searching through bush near here last night for the man who abducted a 6-year-old girl and held her for 19 hours.

Lynn Serena Ferguson was taken from outside a downtown variety store and was found about 32 kilometres (20 miles) away on a country road, west of the city.

Police said the Ferguson girl hadn’t been harmed.

Although she wasn’t harmed, Peterborough Police Inspector Bob Lewis said the reason for abduction is pretty obvious “when you get a girl 6 years of age taken from a candy store.”

A search of the area where the girl was found turned up an abandoned vehicle which police speculate broke down while being operated by the abduction suspect.

Lewis said Lynn didn’t escape but had been allowed to leave and it was only a short time later when she was spotted by a passing motorist.

He said the abductor may have also panicked and be hiding somewhere in the area.

(Page A9)

Lynn was picked up at the North George One Stop Variety after walking one block from a Division St. home where her mother, Karen, was visiting friends.

Police looking for suspect in kidnapping of Peterborough girl

From:  Toronto Star – Thursday, October 25, 1984 (Page A7)

Girl, woman kidnapped at random, police say

PETERBOROUGH – A 6-year-old Peterborough girl and a 41-year-old Lakefield woman were random victims of separate kidnappers, according to police investigators.

Police said the girl; Lynn Serena Ferguson, was lured into a pickup truck Sunday by a man who offered her $2 to help him find his lost puppy.

The victims did not know the kidnappers and investigations indicate they were picked randomly.

Police haven’t yet been able to establish motives for the separate kidnappings.

Although both victims were held several hours, police said neither was sexually attacked.

Police are still hunting for the man who abducted the Ferguson girl and have issued a Canada wide warrant charging Richard Stanley James with kidnapping.

James, 35, had lived only a block from the downtown variety store where the girl was abducted but recently moved to Fraserville, south of here, where he worked as a woodcutter.

From:  Toronto Star – Tuesday, October 30, 1984 (Page A2)

Suspect in girl’s abduction gives himself up to police

Richard Stanley James, sought in connection with the October 21 abduction of 6-year-old Lynn Ferguson, is to appear in Peterborough Provincial Court today on a kidnapping charge.

James, unshaven and looking as if he had been sleeping outdoors, was accompanied by lawyer David Ross when he walked into the Peterborough police station at 10:08 a.m. yesterday.

The Ferguson girl disappeared after a visit to a variety store near her Peterborough home and was found 19 hours later, unharmed but about 32 kilometres (20 miles) away.  The Emily Township couple who had found her said she had been wandering along the little used Hog’s Back Rd. near the southwest edge of the township of Omemee.

Police said the girl had been abducted in a red pickup truck.  A disabled red truck owned by James’ employer was found abandoned not far from where she was found.

Karen Ferguson, the girl’s mother, said Lynn went to the store while she was visiting friends nearby.  James had at one time lived in the same area of Peterborough as the Fergusons, but had moved to the small community of Fraserville before the kidnapping.

Christine Jessop Murder and possible connection to a kidnapping in Peterborough 3 weeks later.

Likely routes of abductors.

October 3, 1984 Christine Jessop abducted from Queensville, Ontario (left).  Note: Final location in Sonya not exactly as shown.  The correct location is just north of Concession 4, which itself is just north of Sonya.

Queensville to Sonya
October 21, 1984 Lynn Ferguson abducted from Peterborough, Ontario (marker right).  Note: Final location in Sonya not exactly as shown.  The correct location is just north of Concession 4, which itself is just north of Sonya.

Peterborough to Sonya
December 31, 1984 Christine Jessop’s body found near Sonya, Ontario (centre).  Note: Final location in Sonya not exactly as shown.  The correct location is just north of Concession 4, which itself is just north of Sonya.

Queensville to Sonya to Peterborough

Jessop was 8 years old at the time of her abduction.
Ferguson was 6 years old at the time of her abduction.
Both were abducted from outside a corner store.

Kidnapper (Richard James) had his truck break down just south of Lindsay at the approximate area where 35 meets Hwy. 7.

Note – I don’t think James took Hwy. 7 so he could avoid police, both coming out of Peterborough and coming southeast from Lindsay.  I believe he continued straight across Parkhill Rd. and continued straight across Hwy. 7 where the road name changes to Hayes Line/Concession Rd. 1.  Hayes Line/Concession Rd. 1 ends at Ski Hill Rd. and directly across is an entrance to Hogsback Rd., which is a Township forestry road access.  Hogsback Rd. continues as a forestry road until it finally becomes a proper dirt road eventually ending at Mount Horeb Rd., 2.5 km south of Hwy. 7.  Somewhere near the point where Hogsback Rd. ends at Mount Horeb Rd. is the spot where James’ truck broke down or got stuck.  From here it’s just a 12 minute drive along Hwy. 7 to the point Hwy. 7 crosses over the north end of Lake Scugog at the south end of Lindsay.  1 minute further east of this point is Little Britain Rd.  If you continue along Little Britain Rd. for another 16 minutes to where it ends at Simcoe St., you are 900 m from the location where Christine Jessop’s body was located.  All in all, Christine Jessop was located 43 minutes or 60 kilometres from where Richard James’ truck broke down.

Considering the woods which James’ took the girl through, which would have allowed him all the privacy he wanted, yet she wasn’t assaulted, I believe he had another destination in mind as I’ve shown above.

I also included a map showing the forestry entrance of Hogsback Rd.

Hayes Line Hogsback Rd forestry entrance

Lynn Ferguson was released safely that night after being held for 19 hours and found in this area where James’ truck broke down.

James lived in Fraserville, which is just south west of Peterborough.

Note that James’ direction of travel seems to be taking him directly to Sonya, Ontario where Christine Jessop’s would be found a couple of months later and in both instances the abductors were driving away from the location of the kidnappings.

From:  Toronto Star – Thursday, May 16, 1985

Man is found guilty of abducting girl, 6

PETERBOROUGH –  A man who abducted a 6-year-old Peterborough girl last October, triggering a massive search by police and volunteers, has been found guilty of kidnapping and abduction of a person under 14.

A pre-sentence report was ordered yesterday on Richard James, 36, of nearby Fraserville.  James was the object of a Canada-wide arrest warrant until he surrendered to Peterborough police a week after the kidnapping.

Lynn Ferguson, who was kidnapped October 21, was found by a farmer the following day, walking down a deserted country road about 17 kilometres (10 miles) west of the city.

The girl told the three-day District Court trial that a man driving a red truck had lifted her into the truck and slammed the door closed.  She said he drove her into the country and they spent the night sleeping in the truck’s front seat.

The story was a quarter front page in the Toronto Star for a single day. Then relegated to the back pages a few days later when he turned himself in and back pages about 8 months later when he was convicted. That was all.  Nobody deeply interested with the Jessop case that I’ve talked to have ever heard of Richard James. The name certainly doesn’t come up in any book or the Kaufman report, thought I understand they were based on Morin. But just as the books were fixated on Morin, the police were as well.

I’ve read of people around Queensville especially, and some in the Sunderland area being looked into, but I’ve never, ever seen the name of James. Often when a detective or policeman are sent to talk to somebody, they really only do a cursory job and/or the information gets lost in all the rest of the information over time and the name just gets forgotten, especially if the investigators become fixated on a suspect as was the case with Morin. However it is still an assumption that York Regional Police even went to talk to Peterborough police at all.

Either way, it’s the only new name I’ve come across in the last 20 plus years.

As he worked as a woodcutter, that would be the kind of job that you would get to know a lot of back roads and wood lots and where the farmers entrances would be in rural areas.  I’m trying to find if any records still exist from the period of the early 1980’s of where the company was working as the Peterborough Police have misplaced the file pertaining to the kidnapping of Lynn Ferguson.

The other things is that this kidnapping in Peterborough was 100km away from Queensville, and at that time Christine’s body was yet to be found near Sonya, so even the direction of travel wouldn’t have meant anything at that moment. Only after December 31st, when she was found, would the connection of the direction towards the same location even start to make sense, and by then the police already had Morin firmly in their sight.

From page 107 of Redrum:
(this is not a direct quote – I’m paraphrasing)

Stephanie Nyznyk (Centre of Forensic Sciences) found a number of small reddish plastic chips which had adhered to either C’s socks or underwear – Nyznyk couldn’t tell which clothing item – because the chips had fallen off the garments. Nynznyk sent them to the chemistry section of the lab where they were promptly lost and never seen again.

While it’s worthless because the chips were lost, the truck that Richard James was driving (a company truck) was a red pickup.

In regards the damage done to Christine’s sternum, this (or these) injuries of both a cut and crushing of the sternum and ribs in the area, would be consistent with the damage that would be inflicted upon being struck with an axe. James, working for a woodcutter, would very likely to almost certainly have had an axe on board his work truck.

I haven’t found Richard James’ name turning up for any other arrests, and if he was arrested in 1984 and convicted in early 1985, nobody would have taken his DNA. To this day, police must have a warrant to collect someone’s DNA, and if he had no further arrests there would be no reason to collect a sample for DNA comparison.

Virtually every single second of the investigation initially was limited to the Queensville area. Many people even three weeks later (the Peterborough kidnapping) still felt that Christine had wandered off somewhere. No matter what, there was very little reason to look into the Peterborough kidnapping due to the distance.

Until you look at the Christine Jessop murder from the location of where her body was found as the starting point, you get bogged down in all the conflicting witness statements and rumours in and around Queensville. The one thing we do know for sure is that Christine was found near Sonya, Ontario (or Sunderland if you prefer). That’s the one solid, indisputable point. I obviously had to guess at the route someone would take from Queensville to Sonya, but the route I showed on the map a few posts previously seems to be the most direct and logical route. Right after abducting someone is not the time to be going site seeing.

When you look at the comparisons to the kidnapping of Lynn Ferguson in Peterborough you get very similar circumstances to the abduction of Christine Jessop.

1. The ages were similar – Christine was 8 and Lynn was 6
2. Both were last seen at or near a corner store.
3. Lynn was enticed with an offer of $2 to help find the guys lost puppy. Would this work on Christine, who loved animals? I’ll let you decide, but I sure think it would.
4. In both instances, the abductor was likely heading to Sonya. Christine we know ended up there, and in the case of Lynn, if James’ truck hadn’t broken down just south of Lindsay where Hwy. 7 crosses the north end of Lake Scugog, his route, whether it be Hwy. 7 or Little Britain Rd. heading towards Little Britain, takes him directly to 2kms north of where Christine was found if he used Hwy. 7, or if along Little Britain Rd., virtually directly across County Road 2 (Simcoe Rd.) from where Christine was found. James could have headed to his home in Fraserville but he didn’t. There is only two choices around Lake Scugog, and that’s Lindsay to the north and Port Perry to the south. He choose the northern route, and you can look for yourself on the map where that westerly direction heads towards. Of course I’m guessing at James’ ultimate destination, but by choosing the northerly route around, and we know for sure he did, the odds start narrowing. He could have assaulted Lynn right where he broke down but he didn’t, so again, I’m guessing that he had another location in mind that was west of Lindsay.

Without being able to check those “red plastic chips”, it couldn’t be confirmed it came from James’ red pickup truck, but it’s one more check mark. Maybe just a check in pencil, but a check mark nonetheless.

Just going by the description of the injuries and without any medical consultation, that wound on Christine’s chest to her sternum sure sounds like it could be consistent with an axe. A woodcutter would almost certainly have an axe on his truck.

To me, it’s a crime of opportunity, along with enough knowledge of the areas of both the abduction and the site in Sonya. In the Peterborough case, James’ actually had previously lived within a kilometre of the corner store where Lynn was abducted from. Lynn had also left her mother, who was at her friends place, to go to the nearby corner store and when James’ offered her $2 to help find his lost dog, she was immediately snapped up and put in the truck. Doesn’t sound like she was targeted, it was just the wrong place at the wrong time, and somebody who was looking for a little girl to snatch. Unfortunately it can be as simple and quick as that.

One constant assumption is that whoever drove to the site where Christine was found, entered off of Concession 4. That winding path would not give you line of sight to the trailer. You wouldn’t know if anyone was there, or a farmer walking their dog, until you were nearly on top of them.

But follow that tractor trail in the opposite direction from the trailer (more of a southerly direction) and it’s leading up a small hill across an open field towards Simcoe St.. towards a farmers entrance off of Simcoe St.

Rather than enter off Concession Rd. 4, where you wouldn’t be able to see if anybody was on the property, if you came in off of Simcoe St. you would be at the top of a hill looking down onto the trailer and have a wide open view to see if anybody was around either the trailer or just walking a dog.

I lean toward someone knowing that nobody was at the trailer. It could be that they knew the trailer was only used on weekends or they may have driven by earlier in the day and checked if anybody was there. But not seeing a car parked at the trailer wouldn’t guarantee that nobody was there. A person could have been at the trailer while the other person took the car to pick up groceries or something like that. You would have to knock on the door to make sure and you sure wouldn’t want to do that with a little kid you just grabbed sitting in your truck. There was definite knowledge of the site and very likely the schedule of people using the trailer. It wasn’t picked randomly. But I do think they entered off of Simcoe St. rather than Concession Rd. 4. That would definitely give you a far better chance of seeing a farmer or somebody walking a dog eliminating at least that possibility of being disturbed.

One other possibility is that tire tracks leading to the trailer may have been visible. No tracks, no one there. Tractor tracks would be very different than tracks of road tires. Certainly if it was at all muddy you could tell if a car had gone in. From weather data for Seagrave, Ontario, which is 4km away from Sonya, Ontario, for the days of October 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, there had been 3.8mm of rain. That leads me to believe the tire tracks, or lack of, would be clearly visible. If there were no marks off of Concession 4 then you would be pretty sure that nobody had gone into the trailer. Then drive around the corner onto Simcoe St. and enter from there and see there are no farmers or dog walkers and no car at the trailer and they would be alone.

Now there’s a driveway out to Simcoe St. from the lot where Christine was found. The lot hadn’t been developed in 1984 and just had the tractor trail into the trailer, but the trail also ran well past the trailer up a small hill heading in a southerly direction. Usually farmers would have at least two entrances, especially on a larger corner lot like that. They weren’t exactly “legal” entrances, but what they would call a farmers entrance. They may have a culvert to get over the ditch, but often the ditches were shallow enough a farm vehicle or even a car or truck, could enter. Often the same farmers would be working a few lots in the area, so it would be easier to go in and out the closest entrance and certainly the one that is less muddy. With the southern portion of the lot being higher ground, it would be less muddy than the lower northern entrance off of Concession 4, and by accounts of that entrance in various books and reports, it was a well rutted entrance. Likely harder for a civilian vehicle to get in and out of.

Picture: Shows the lot as it is today, including the location of Little Britain Rd. (the distance was incorrectly marked as 700m, it should be 900m)

Jessop site

The black and white picture shows a bit better of what I’m getting at, when I say if you enter off of Simcoe St. you could see everything in front of you wide open, plus be a wider elevation. It doesn’t quite go back far enough, but it gives the basic idea quite well. You could see from up there clearly. There’s no trees blocking your view of the trailer as there is if you come in off of Concession 4.

The Body Site from RR first edition

The map picture in colour, is obviously an earlier picture than the Google Maps picture from the previous post. The driveway in this earlier picture doesn’t go back in as it does now, but you can clearly see the farmers entrance I’m referring to.

where Christine Jessop was found

If you go to Google Maps and go down to street view you can clearly see the entrance off of Concession 4 is at a far lower elevation than the entrance off of Simcoe St.

I wouldn’t come in off of Concession 4, even if you could see no tire tracks in the mud and had scouted the location to see if anyone was there earlier in the day, you couldn’t guarantee that somebody wasn’t walking a dog near the trailer or if the farmer had come in off the other entrance off of Simcoe St. because you couldn’t see them through the trees from Concession 4. From higher ground with a clear view, though you can see everything.

I filed a Freedom of Information request with Peterborough Police but it’s not looking promising for further information on the kidnapping of Lynn Ferguson in Peterborough. There’s still a chance but it seems the original files may have fallen through the cracks of digital archiving and may not be found. There are still some other options of foot work, trial transcripts, phone calls and newspaper archives, and maybe some luck the files will be found.

In regards the time to commit a murder during daylight: Christine was assumed to have been abducted about 4:00 pm. It’s 45 minutes from Queensville to Sonya. Sunset for October 3rd, 1984 in that area is 6:56 pm. Twilight was 7:25 pm. That’s a two hour window of daylight, so it is definitely possible it could be done.

I received a letter from Peterborough Police regarding my Freedom of Information request for the files pertaining to the arrest and conviction of Richard James in the kidnapping of Lynn Ferguson and it says “the search concluded that no records exist. The Peterborough Police Force automated their records system in 1987. Records prior to January 1st, 1988 are limited.”

Nothing’s easy. But, there are still searches to be done on the Peterborough Examiner archives of the era when Trent University is finished working on the library building in the spring, as well as an attempt to located the trial transcript, and more footwork in the area in the hope that someone remembers something.

From everything I can find James was never in prison prior to being convicted of the kidnapping in Peterborough, and I also can’t find any connection with him and anyone in Queensville, so I doubt very much he ever met Christine’s father. It certainly isn’t conclusive. His company and/or himself may have done work in Queensville and had direct contact with people there, even Christine’s family, but I get the feeling James was one of these “people” (I really want to use another word, but I don’t want to get in trouble) who get the urge and see a situation they can exploit.

I think it’s far more likely he was working nearby and had noticed the school was on his route home and decided to see if he could grab a little kid when the opportunity presented itself. I don’t think this was as much a thought out plan, as it was a crime of opportunity and some local knowledge of the site in Sonya and at least a very good working knowledge of the roads in and around Queensville.

I don’t think she took her bike to the store that day. She was found with her recorder with her, and as somebody pointed out, she likely was afraid she would break it while holding it and riding her bike. Certainly seems reasonable and would explain why her bike was at home. Without a bike to throw in the pickup truck box it would only take a second to grab a little kid and toss them in the truck. James used the ruse of needing help to find his lost puppy and $2 to grab Lynn Ferguson, and we know Christine loved animals so I wouldn’t doubt he used the exact same approach.

As for jobs being done in and around the area, I know there was work being done on various subdivisions and some commercial lots and on some farms and some road work. Nobody has the precise records for that time period that I’ve contacted, but every one said that at some point the lots had been cleared of scrub brush and woodcutters were hired to remove and dispose of the brush.

One thing of note is that at the time of Christine’s disappearance, Highway 404 was being extended from Bloomington to Aurora Sideroad between August 1982 and September 1985.

It just goes to show just how easy if would be for a red pickup to fit in without anyone noticing even right in the middle of Queensville.


Christine Jessop

Christine Jessop

Christine Jessop, 9, Queensville, Ontario, 3 Oct 1984

Basic summary of the case:

October 3, 1984. At approximately 3:50 pm, Christine Jessop got off her school bus on Leslie Street, just north of the main intersection in Queensville, Ontario. She was most likely excited about her new acquisition – a plastic recorder (a whistle-like musical instrument) given to her that day by her school teacher. She had apparently made plans to meet her classmate, Leslie Chipman at the park (just east of the main intersection and near the corner store) around 4 pm.

Christine picked up her family’s mail and bounded up the lane and into her home. No one was there. Her father (Bob) was serving time in a correctional facility. Her mother (Janet) was out running errands with Christine’s older brother (Ken).

According to witness testimony, at some point between 4:00 and 4:30 pm, Christine strolled into the convenience store located at the intersection south of her home on Leslie Street and bought some gum.

Leslie Chipman, who had apparently called Christine’s house shortly after she got off the school bus and got no answer there, went to the park to await Christine. Christine never showed up.

When Janet and Ken Jessop arrived home at about 4:10 pm, they saw Christine’s bicycle where she normally kept it – but it was in a fallen state with some minor damage. Her book bag was on the kitchen counter, as well as the mail.

Unable to find Christine, they called her friends and searched the neighbourhood and the nearby park. She was nowhere to be found. Sometime between seven and eight o’clock, Janet called police and a massive search for the little girl began.

On December 31, 1984, Christine’s body was found at the edge of a farmer’s filed near Sunderland, a community 40 km east of Queensville.

Details of the crime scene according to the “Kaufman Report” (CHAPTER V):

“Her body was on its back and decomposed. Her legs were spread apart in an unnatural position and her knees were spread outward. Animals appeared to have eaten at the legs. Her head was pointed north and her feet south. A sweater was pulled over her head. A few bones were scattered between her head and what remained of her legs, giving the appearance that her head and waist were not connected. The victim was wearing a beige turtleneck sweater, a blue pullover sweater, a blouse on which some buttons were missing and two pairs of socks. Her panties were found at her right foot. Blue corduroy pants with a belt and a pair of Nike running shoes were found just south of her feet. These clothes were subsequently identified as belonging to Christine. Her school recorder, with her name still taped on it, was found next to her body. The hand-knitted blue sweater with the zippered front and no collar, which she was last reported wearing, was not found on the body; nor was it ever located.”

Christine had been killed by multiple stab wounds to the upper body.

In 1995, DNA from the semen found on her underwear was used to exonerate a Queensville man who had been wrongly convicted of her murder (Guy Paul Morin). A subsequent inquiry into the matter revealed numerous police blunders and misconduct during the investigation, contaminated evidence, and fabricated witness testimony.

Christine Jessop’s murder remains unsolved to this day.

Cheryl Rowe Missing December 22, 2011 Rathfon Crescent, Richmond Hill, ON L4C 5B7, Canada

Cheryl Rowe was last seen Thursday, December 22, 2011. On Rathfon Crescent In the town of Richmond Hill, Canada. She may be in the U.S.Cheryl Rowe is 5 feet tall 125 lbs thin buildDark Brown Hair, …

Source: Cheryl Rowe Missing December 22, 2011 Rathfon Crescent, Richmond Hill, ON L4C 5B7, Canada

Alexander (Sandy) Romeo Leblanc


Seek leads in brutal slaying of gay club owner

TORONTO — Police say they have no leads yet in the brutal slaying of Sandy LeBlanc, manager and part owner of Studio 11, a gay disco on Carlton Street.

In an interview with TBP, homocide Sergeant Julian Fantino asked that the message go out to the gay community that the police are ” extremely concerned ‘ ‘ about the murder, and are eager for “assistance from anyone in the gay community who can help. We especially want to talk to anyone who knew LeBlanc’s movements in the early hours of Wednesday, September 20.” LeBlanc was last seen at 3:15 Wednesday morning, presumably after leaving a party held at Studio 1 1 to celebrate its second anniversary.

Fantino emphasized that the police would treat any information given to them with the strictest confidence, and that names need never be made public. He agreed, however, that such individuals might be required to testify, and in that case would have to be public.

LeBlanc was the second gay man to have been murdered in a week, but gay spokespersons do not feel that the murders are related. An arrest has been made in the murder of Gerald Douglas White, which occurred only days before the LeBlanc killing. There have also been three arrests on charges of second degree murder in the death of Colin Nicholson, killed August 27 in a building next to the one in which LeBlanc lived .

According to George Hislop, President of the Community Homophile Association of Toronto, the murders that are related still have not seen any arrests. There have been a series of very similar murders
in Toronto in which gay men have been tied up, brutally beaten and killed.  “These recent murders are different,” said Hislop, “they appear to be unrelated and the police are arresting suspects.”

Anyone with information they feel may be of assistance to the police in the LeBlanc case should contact Sgt Julian Fantino, Homocide, at 967-2222.




Harold Walkley

Toronto Police Service

Cold Case Files

Homicide #5/1975

Victim: Arthur Harold WALKLEY

Photo of the victim

Age: 52

Gender: Male

Murdered on: February 18, 1975

Location: 14 Division

Details of Investigation:

On Tuesday, February 18, 1975, at about 3:50 a.m., police responded to a 911 call on Borden Street near Bloor Street W.

The victim was discovered inside a residence, suffering from stab wounds. The victim was transported to hospital, where he died shortly after arrival.

Additional Information:

Harold Walkley, 51, a one-time high school teacher and part-time lecturer at the University of Toronto, was stabbed five times in the back and chest at his home on Borden St. on February 18th, 1975.

How You Can Help:

If you have any information regarding this case, please contact Homicide at 416-808-7400, or at

Crime Stoppers

Phone anonymously at 416−222−TIPS (8477); or via the internet at; or text TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637); or download the free Crime Stoppers Mobile App on iTunes, Google Play or Blackberry App World.

Overkill: Victim Number Seven? (Body Politic?)

Note: The murder of Marlon McRae was solved.  Anthony Guy Ritchie was caught in September 1981.

TORONTO — On March 1, 1981, the brutally stabbed body of Marlon McCrae was discovered in a pool of blood in the underground parking lot of the expensive apartment building where he lived.

Earlier that same evening, McRae had run into some friends at Crispin’s Restaurant and joined them for dinner.  Later, he crossed over to Buddy’s Backroom Bar, and at some point during the evening left either alone or with someone.

McCrae’s neighbours now say that he was so discreet that no one had ever noticed men entering or leaving his apartment. But Marlon McCrae met someone that night and brought him home.  Evidence in the apartment indicates that McCrae had sex on the night he died.

After sex, Marlon accompanied his guest to the parking lot, perhaps to drive the man back downtown, perhaps because he was forced to. The assailant used a large knife. The stab wounds in the neck and abdomen were “multiple, and with forceful penetration,” forceful enough to penetrate bone. McCrae died at the hands of someone who was either very strong or very angry. His body was found by another resident of the building on his way to work at 4:00 am.

*  McCrae’s car was found the next day parked in front of the Catholic Children’s Aid Society on Maitland Street, in the heart of Toronto’s gay “ghetto.”

The police have been generally uncooperative in keeping TAP informed of developments. Sergeant Dicks of the Homicide Squad claims to have 5 men on the case, working 8-hour shifts twenty-four hours a day. Officers are canvassing homes and bars in the area, showing people a photograph of McCrae and asking for information.

Police admit they are having difficulty obtaining information. People in the gay community seem reluctant to approach the police, “perhaps because of the bath raids.” Having exhausted almost all their own leads. Sergeant Dicks says they might be ready to go to the press for help “sometime next week.”

Police claim that no composite drawing of a suspect is available. Reports that a composite was in fact hung in the waiters’ area at the St. Charles Tavern remain unconfirmed.

But it is known that police have resurrected their file on the unsolved murder of Duncan Robinson. Robinson was also brutally stabbed to death, on November 26, 1978. A composite of the suspected murderer was made in that case, and a reward has been offered for information leading to the killer’s arrest.  When asked if the two cases are connected, Dicks said, “We have our own theories.”

Note:  The murder of Duncan Robinson is still listed on the Toronto Police Services Cold Case site (to be profiled tomorrow)

The murders of five other Toronto gay men over the past six years are also unsolved. The deaths of Harold Walkley, James Douglas Taylor, James Kennedy, Brian Latocki and Sandy Leblanc shared a similar element — overkill. The victims were stabbed many times. Two also had their heads beaten in. In three of the unsolved deaths, the victim was last seen leaving the St Charles Tavern on Yonge Street.

Note:  The murders of James Douglas Taylor, James Kennedy, Brian Latocki and Sandy (Alex) Leblanc are still unsolved.  Please see below for profile dates of each individual.

Anyone having any information which might lead to the arrest or conviction of the murderer of these seven men should call Sgt Dicks at (416) %7-2375 or speak to someone in the gay community who is in a safe position to go to the police.

Toronto Police Chief Harold Adamson claims that “homosexuals, like any other citizen, receive fair and equal treatment under the law.”

Frankly, we don’t believe him.

Adamson’s assertion has a particularly hollow ring after the recent actions of two police officers under his command. In one instance, an officer phoned a senior official of the Toronto Board of Education to report the conviction of a newly elected board trustee on an “indecent act” charge following entrapment in a shopping centre washroom. In another instance, Staff Sergeant Gary Donovan notified officials of three boards of education that six of their teachers had been arrested as “found-ins” in a gay steambath. Note:  How many of the murdered were teachers?

Police also seized the full membership list of The Barracks, consisting of some 800 names, as well as a number of membership cards. According to the Toronto Star, many gay men are “living in fear” as a result of the seizure, and at least a few of the names on the list are those of closeted and frightened Metro police officers.


Getting dead in Hogtown: p 19

The headlines scream “Homosexual Murder.” You’d think gay people were doing the killing, but the truth is that we’re the victims in at least 13 Toronto homicides in the past four years. What do these cases have in common? Why aren’t they being solved? And how can you keep yourself out of the statistics?
TBP’s Robin Hardy investigates and advises.



Since February 18, 1975, fourteen gay men have been murdered in Toronto. Eight of these killings remain unsolved. Could they have been committed by one man? The police aren’t saying.

But the crimes do show a certain similarity…

Murder in Toronto-the-Good

by Robin Hardy

William Duncan Robinson has been described as a quiet, shy man who lived alone. Robinson was last seen at 2:30 am Sunday, November 26, 1978. He was leaving the St. Charles Tavern, a downtown Toronto gay bar, accompanied by a tall, lanky man with dark brown greasy hair, sloping shoulders, large dirty hands and feet, and an offensive body odour. Robinson’s companion walked clumsily and was scruffy in appearance. It’s hard to imagine why anyone would take him home.

Late Saturday night, a neighbour of Robinson heard a “peculiar loud hollow noise.” When another neighbour passed Robinson’s door around 9 PM Sunday night he heard nothing. An hour later he passed the door again, and heard the stereo blasting away.

“On Tuesday November 28,” the police bulletin reports, “the lifeless body of William Duncan Robinson was found in his apartment situated at 205 Vaughan Road, Apt No 32. The cause of death was determined to be as a result of stab wounds to the chest.”

The murder of Duncan Robinson achieved notoriety as the fourteenth “homosexual slaying” in Toronto since 1975. Eight of those murders are unsolved.

Note:  The murder of Duncan Robinson is still listed on the Toronto Police Services Cold Case site (to be profiled tomorrow)

It has made great copy for local papers: “Homosexuals fear mass killer,” “Slow hustling on homosexual row,” “Murders put homosexuals on guard,” and “14th murder chills city’s homosexuals.”

The rumour factory ran overtime: the killer is the father of a 14-year-old boy who became involved with homosexuals and has vowed “the revenge killings will continue”; the murderer is a sickie on the loose; the murderer is someone quite involved with the Toronto gay community.

Shortly after Robinson’s murder a message was scrawled on the wall in the washroom of the St. Charles Tavern: “I’ll kill again Saturday night.” During the same week, on the graffiti board at Buddy’s Backroom Bar, someone wrote “Billy is next.” Billy, a waiter, was understandably worried. A University of Toronto professor active in the Damien Committee and the Gay Academic Union received by mail a clipping about the unsolved murders torn from the Toronto Star. Typewritten across it were the words “You’re next.” It was postmarked Malton, a Toronto suburb.  Note: Anything on the identity of the UofT Professor mentioned?

The series of unsolved murders begins in 1975. On February 18, the body of Harold Walkley, a 51 -year-old history teacher and community activist, is discovered by his roommate in Walkley’s bloodied bedroom. He is nude, and has been stabbed several times in the back and chest. No knife is found and credit cards have been stolen.

1 year later, on February 11, 1976, James Taylor, a 41 -year-old painter and decorator, is found in his home, beaten to death with a baseball bat. Another six months, and on September 20, 1976, the caretaker finds 49-year-old James Kennedy dead in his apartment, nude, with a towel knotted around his neck. He has been beaten about his face. Again, credit cards are missing. Kennedy’s neighbours describe him as “a recluse.” Kennedy was last seen at the St. Charles Tavern the night before he was killed.

Note:  The murder of James Douglas Taylor is still listed on the Toronto Police Services Cold Case site (to be profiled Saturday, October 1st)

Six months pass. On January 25, 1977, the nude body of Brian Latocki, a 24-year-old bank analyst, is found in his blood spattered bedroom, he is tied to the bed, his head badly beaten. He has been strangled and stabbed. Again, no knife is found. An autopsy determines that his death occurred January 22. The night before he had been seen hitch-hiking home from the St. Charles Tavern. Latocki is described as “shy and new on the gay scene.”

Note:  The murder of Brian Latocki is still listed on the Toronto Police Services Cold Case site (to be profiled Monday, October 3rd)

These murders have not been solved.  

Nor do police know who murdered Fred Fontaine, Donald Rochester, and Sandy Leblanc. Fontaine was severely beaten in the washroom of the St. Charles Tavern on December 20,1975, and died in hospital six months later. Rochester was shot dead February 13, 1978, while on duty as a night porter at the Toronto Lawn Tennis Club. Police suspect a “homosexual connection” in this death.  Sandy Leblanc, a well-known club owner on the Toronto gay scene, was found dead in his apartment September 21, 1978. He had been stabbed more than 100 times from head to foot. As police walked around the body, the carpet squished from the sound of absorbed blood, and bloody footprints led to an open window. It takes a lot of time to stab 100 times through flesh and bone.

Note:  The murder of Fred Fontaine is still listed on the Toronto Police Services Cold Case site (to be profiled Wednesday, October 5th)

Note:  The murder of Donald Rochester may have been solved as it does not appear on the Toronto Police Services Cold Case site.

Note:  The murders of James Douglas Taylor, James Kennedy, Brian Latocki and Sandy (Alex) Leblanc are still unsolved.  Please see below for profile dates of each individual.

With eight of the fourteen murders.

Cosistently through all fourteen deaths is “overkill.” “Overkill” means that the victim is repeatedly stabbed, bludgeoned or beaten even after death.

Inspector Hobson of Homocide Division, Metropolitan Toronto Police, appears helpful, but has an abrupt manner. He refuses to connect the unsolved gay murders. “In several of the murders there is a common denominator: the victim was last seen at the St Charles Tavern, and met his murderer there. Beyond that we cannot say if there is a connection. We don’t even know if there was robbery in all the unsolved, belief in the existence of a single psychokiller is widespread. But police are encouraging the theory that the murders are unconnected random killings. This means there could be eight killers “out there” somewhere.

Until the murderers of the eight men are found, little will be known of the circumstances which led to their deaths.  Of the six murders which have resulted in arrests or convictions, six different people have been proved or alleged to be killers.

The “solved” murders have involved robbery, fights over payment for sex, and violent assault resulting, unintentionally, in death. They prove one thing: death by murder is unpredictable, and the reasons for it are usually quite banal.

There are enough similarities between the “solved” murders and the unsolved ones to indicate that just as there were six killers in the “solved” cases, there could well be eight killers for the unsolved murders.

The element which runs most consistently throughout the cases. Often the victim lived alone.  Sometimes a relative could say something was missing.”

But Inspector Hobson admitted there was much information he was not revealing. It was more a case of “we’re not telling you,” than “We don’t know.” If someone is brought in for the crime and a confession is extracted, the police need evidence to corroborate that confession in court. Corroborating evidence must be material not known to the general public. Hobson refused to say how many murderers the police were looking for in the eight unsolved cases.   He also refused to say whether or not police knew if the men had been killed before or after sex. In the case of Duncan Robinson, he did divulge one piece of information in his possession when he let drop the comment: “I guess the killer can’t change his bloodtype.”

Police found blood samples to indicate the killer had been injured. Robinson fought back.

The question the police should answer is why these murders have not been solved. “We have difficulties with this kind of case,” Hobson said. “First, it seems that the pick-up is made just before closing hours. The victim is seen with his pick-up only for a very short time, and by witnesses who have been drinking and who are going home. They have hazy memories. I just wish people, not only gays, were more observant.”

A Toronto newspaper, using the murders as yet another indictment of the gay lifestyle, reported the problems the police had in the “murky, secretive world of gay bars and discos.” Apparently two policemen, “disguised” as lovers, haunted gay bars for a month to find the murderer of Neil Wilkinson, who was beaten to death in his apartment in December, 1977. But Inspector Hobson said the gay community has been most helpful in coming forward with information. The composite drawing of the suspect wanted for Robinson’s murder was compiled from descriptions given by witnesses at the St Charles Tavern.

Yet even as police encourage gays to come forward with information on the eight unsolved murders, they spend energy criminalizing gays by raiding the baths, one of the safest places to have sex.

John Allan Lee, gay sociologist and author of Getting Sex, disagrees with any police analysis which says there is no pattern to the murders, although he doesn’t suggest there is necessarily one murderer. He believes the victims fall into one of two categories. “In the first category are young men who are incapable of safe cruising. They are shy, don’t know how to talk to people. The second category is made up of desperate.unattractive and usually older men.”  Probably the two categories overlap.  Lee was a friend of the first victim in the series of fourteen murders, Harold Walkley. Walkley’s murderer has not been found.

“Harold fell into the second category,” said Lee.  “For some time before his murder he would take anyone home. He was getting older, losing his looks and was lonely. He had difficulty finding lovers he could be compatible with. By the time closing hour came around at a bar he would settle for anything. I was at a party he attended just before his death. Someone put on a record with the words ‘You’re nobody ’til somebody loves you /So find somebody to love.’ Harold stood up and yelled, ‘Yeah, and how do you find someone to love?'”

These are old and weary stereotypes of gay men, but they still have some basis in reality. There are older men who grew up long before the renaissance of gay liberation, men who internalized the vicious myths of the aging, unhappy, friendless gay man. And there are younger men who, unsure of their gayness, cautiously begin to leave their isolation in the straight world. As more gays come out, Lee believes that the number of victims in this category will increase. “There is more homophobic violence to come. It’s almost like the second law of thermodynamics: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. A reaction is forming to the social movements of gays and women. These movements are ones which seek concessions. It hurts people to concede things. It is, for example, no coincidence that rape statistics increased dramatically when women entered the economic system. As more gays make their presence known through marches or protests or what have you, more people are going to react and act out against gays.”

Lee thinks the murderers are more likely to be repressed homosexuals rather than homophobic and violent straight men. “The killers of these gay men may themselves have a predisposition to homosexuality.  However, they have been trained to hate homosexuality. In destroying someone they’ve gone home with, they kill that part of themselves. They are filled with self-hatred.”

Dan Paitich, senior psychologist in Forensic Sciences at Toronto’s Clarke Institute of Psychiatry, also doubts the unsolved murders were the work of one psychokiller.   But Paitich disagrees with Lee that the murderers are repressed or latent homosexuals.

“This is an aggressive homophobic situation. These killers, as far as any profile can be made, are homophobic, derelict, from a low social class or the criminal subculture; they are poorly educated and likely alcoholic. Overkill is a sign of drunkeness and of the tremendous rage released. But there has been no real research on this kind of thing in relation to the murders of homosexuals.”

“If these murders are done by different men it may be a case of the homosexual being attracted to an aggressively masculine drunk and thereby putting himself in a potentially dangerous situation. But the motive may simply be robbery — and hatred of the victim after the robbery has taken place.”

George Hislop, a leading spokesperson for the Toronto gay community, has followed some of the solved murder cases as they went through court. Said Hislop, “One thread I see running through most of these cases is that they originate in Yonge Street bars, and that the murderer is a person with a background as a hustler, and a history of robbery, drugs, and alcohol. There are some men out there who simply want to rob and commit violence against people. They use a sexual advance — or one they fabricate later — to justify the violence they are already planning.”

Three of the solved murder cases seem to support that theory. The killing of Earl Cross by Bradley Benoy in December 1977, may not have been a homosexual murder at all. There was no evidence in court that either was gay, and Benoy spun several strange yarns to explain who killed Cross. That Cross had made sexual advances may simply have been one such yarn — newspaper reports have never made this clear.

When James Walker murdered Neil Wilkinson, also in December of 1977, he told police he was provoked by Wilkinson’s sexual advances and his fantasies of having intercourse with young boys. This occurred at a time when the murder of Emmanuel Jaques, the 12- year-old Toronto shoeshine boy, was fresh in everyone’s mind. When it was shown in court that Walker had been naked in Wilkinson’s apartment. Walker was driven to the absurdity of saying he had taken off his clothes to “avoid Wilkinson’s sexual advances.” The prosecutor established that Walker had gone to Wilkinson’s apartment with
an intent to rob. The stories of sexual fantasies were merely desperate attempts on Walker’s part to mitigate the gravity of murder, and lessen his culpability.

When 19-year-old John Sharkey killed Colin Nicholson in August 1978, he claimed he had been provoked by sexual advances. Nicholson had picked up Sharkey, who claimed he was straight, outside the Manatee, a gay afterhours disco in Toronto. After hitting Nicholson over the head with an iron skillet, Sharkey stole liquor, clothes, money and silver from the apartment. The judge rejected Sharkey’s claims of provocation, saying it was hard to believe the young man did not know what he was getting into. In that trial, the prosecutor made a speech asserting that the two hundred thousand homosexuals in Toronto had a right to be protected in their homes. Sharkey was sentenced to seven years for (murder?  Note: information was cut off at source)

Nor were there any indications that the murders were as a result of a decadent lifestyle. Of 51 murders in Metro Toronto in 1978 only five — 10% — of the victims were identified as gay in media coverage. It appears, then, that the number of murders of gays is not out of proportion to the number of gays in the population generally. Furthermore, while gay murders seem strongly connected with the bar and cruising scenes, most heterosexual murders are domestic, and take place in the home between members of the same nuclear family. Gay people are no more victims of their lifestyle than straight people.

When is a murder a “homosexual” murder?

Whenever the media think it’s grabby copy to link gay people with violence and a “murky, secretive underworld.” Headlines often give the impression of the gay community cringing in fear, and almost never indicate whether it was the victim, the killer or both (or, as in the murder of Earl Cross), possibly neither.

A few years ago the courts might not have agreed with the prosecutor of John Sharkey. In the early Sixties, in Guelph, Ontario, a young man was acquitted on a murder charge when he said the victim had made sexual advances. The youth, acting in self-defence according to the court’s ruling, had stabbed the victim 17 times.

The sexual liberation movements of the last 10 years may have made the courts somewhat more careful in their handling of cases of violence against gay people. But gay men and women will be targets for violence and murder until more fundamental changes have occurred in our society.

At the same time, queer bashers whose activities lead to murder, and psycho- killers with enormous reserves of hatred for homosexuals, are psychological terrorists, keeping gays discreet and in the closet.

The media, especially newspapers, capitalize on this with lurid headlines suggesting homosexuals are victims of a decadent lifestyle.

How not to get yourself killed?

There is no guaranteed way to avoid murder. It’s as much a function of chance as crossing the street or taking an airplane. Basic self-defence training seems one obvious solution, but in Toronto, at least, there are no self- defence courses available for men, except judo and karate lessons. Handy little items like aerosol mace, available in American cities, are illegal in Canada. But there are ways of avoiding dangerous situations and preparing for emergencies. If John Lee is right in grouping the victims into two categories, it’s obvious that there is one lifestyle which is safer: the lifestyle of the “out of the closet” gay.

A gay man alone and closeted is more likely to be a victim of violence than an individual who accepts his gayness and has developed a circle of self accepting gay friends and acquaintances. Someone in the closet is likely to pick his sexual partners only after he’s drunk enough to face up to it, and fear of discovery may drive him to select the kinds of men he’s not likely to meet again. If a gay man is open, on the other hand, he ends up meeting many of his sexual partners through mutual friends. Not that most of us won’t be tantalized by strangers and hustlers from time to time — but if there are any doubts, it’s
good to remember that sex at the baths is safer than sex at home.

It’s important, even in bars, to develop friendships with other patrons. Part of being out of the closet is the ability to feel comfortable with a gay lifestyle. There should be no shame involved in saying good-night to friends while you make it discreetly obvious that you’re heading home with the hot new friend panting beside you. After that, a psychopath is likely to flee immediately.

There are techniques for screening people which should be a part of every man’s cruising. “I can find out what kind of person I’ve met by talking to him,” says John Lee. “For instance, I’m very wary of people who have no opinions on anything. I met a man once at a bar and we went to have coffee. He began asking me questions about my work, my politics, and my life. Finally I said to him, ‘Are you aware of what you’re doing?’ He said ‘I’m just trying to find out what kind of person you are.’  But unconsciously he was screening me for danger.” In other words, it boils down to humanizing communication in the bar scene.

There are other precautions which can be taken. Those who live alone can pretend they have a roommate, saying to a new friend as he comes in the door, “Shhh, we have to be quiet so we don’t wake up Joe. . . ” But it had better be at least a two-room apartment!

If a person likes a lot of one-night stands, it’s probably a smart idea not to live alone. But those who do should invest in some common sense safety precautions such as alarm bells, an escape route, locks which cannot be picked or pried, and an understanding neighbour to escape to. Again, it’s best to be out of the closet.

Fourteen murders in four years is frightening. Homosexuality may simply be used as an excuse by murderers for robbery and gain. There could be 14 murderers, a terrifying indication of homophobia. Or there may be a psycho killer, coldly anticipating a victim every six months.

Whatever the reasons for the deaths, and whoever the murderers are, gays can protect themselves, and they can help solve the murders as well. Individuals who may be afraid to take information to the police for fear of exposure should give their information to someone more open in the gay community who can pass it on.

James Kennedy, 49, was “a recluse.”
Brian Latocki, 24, was “shy and new on the gay scene.”
Duncan Robinson, 24, was “a quiet shy man who lived alone.”

These men, and eleven others, did not have to die. They were caught in a familiar contradiction: uncomfortable in the gay world because they were not “out”; not “out” because they were uncomfortable with the gay world.

Tragedy cannot be measured, but somehow the deaths of those “shy” and “new on the gay scene” HMHI particular significance. The straight world isolated these men because they were gay It made them outsiders. Just as they reached for their freedom in a community of their people , they became victims of their isolation.

A plea for help

Three murders still unsolved

Brian Latocki, James Kennedy, and Harold Walkley each brutally murdered within the last two years in Toronto, each found naked in his bedroom, dead from some combination of stabbing, strangulation and beating.  Each had been robbed.  Each man was gay and had been at a gay bar the night before his murder.

Brian Latocki died on January 22, 1977 and his death is still under investigation.  His nude body was found in the blood spattered bedroom, tied to the bed, with his head badly beaten. He had been strangled and there were knife wounds in the back and chest, but no knife was found.

Police know he hitchhiked home from the St Charles the night before, but are not sure he was with anyone else at the time He was a financial analyst, 24, shy and new on the gay scene.

Some property was missing from his apartment which suggests robbery as a motive Apparently, the murderer took time to make an extraordinarily thorough cleanup of his fingerprints.
Note:  The murder of Brian Latocki is still listed on the Toronto Police Services Cold Case site (to be profiled Monday, October 3rd)
James Kennedy, a 49-year-old civil servant, lived an almost reclusive life according to his neighbours.  He was last seen at the St.  Charles Tavern the night before he was killed on September 20. 1976.
Several days later he was found by the caretaker, nude, with a towel knotted around his neck.  He had been beaten about the face and his credit cards were stolen, and police suspect the same man who killed Latocki.

Note:  The murder of James Kennedy is still listed on the Toronto Police Services Cold Case site (to be profiled Tuesday, October 4th)

Harold Walkley 51, was a history teacher, much involved in neighbourhood politics He was last seen getting into a cab in the vicinity of the Ouest (? Note: probably a bar on Yonge St.  The Quest?) bar where he had been until closing.  He was apparently alone.  There is m ot (no idea) the inp (not a clue) in any of the taxi company log books. He was found by his housemate early the next morning on February 18, 1975, nude, in the dishevelled, bloodied bedroom with several slab wounds in the back and chest.  Again, no knife was found and credit cards were stolen.

1 lone person may be responsible for all three

The blind alleys police have run into in the Kennedy and Walkley murders is largely due to lack of information.

The police are hamstrung in their investigation by the reluctance of gay people to come forward with information about the victims or the events leading up to the crimes, however small and seemingly unimportant.

This reluctance within the gay community is understandable for two reasons a general fear or mistrust of the police and a deeper fear that if they give information. they may be called as a witness in court and be exposed as gay.

When interviewed, Detective Sergeant Bernard Nadeau, who is investigating the Latocki case, volunteered that pari of the difficulty gay people have in approaching the police may be the result of the kind of treatment police have given some gays in the past.  He emphasized that the police are trying hard to see that this sort of thing doesn’t happen again if any gay person comes forward with information, “rest assured that he or she will be treated with all due respect and confidentiality ”

Solitary street pick-ups are always potentially dangerous, but the fact that all three murders involved visits to bars led Sergeant Nadeau to suggest if you pick up someone in a public place like a bar, introduce him to a friend or in some

Along with Hovey, Jones, and the still-unidentified cross-dresser found in Markham in 1980, all of whom I believe were murdered by James Henry Greenidge, the following are cases in which he should be considered, assuming he was out of jail and in the Toronto area at the time:

Harold Walkley, 51, a one-time high school teacher and part-time lecturer at the University of Toronto, was stabbed five times in the back and chest at his home on Borden St. on February 18th, 1975. No further information, but case remained unsolved in 1978 when last newspaper citation occurred.
●On February 11th, 1976, James Douglas Taylor, 41, was murdered with a baseball bat in a robbery at his home on Elmhurst Ave. Four-and-a-half years later, Taylor’s brother Claire was also beaten to death, this time with a hammer. While Claire’s killer was quickly arrested, James’s has never been identified. His murder was one of a spate of murders of gay men in the mid-to late-‘70s, which raised fears in the homosexual community.

Note:  The murder of James Douglas Taylor is still listed on the Toronto Police Services Cold Case site (to be profiled Saturday, October 1st)
●On Wednesday, September 20th, 1978, Alex Leblanc, 29, a manager at a disco club, was found murdered in his St. Joseph St. apartment. No further information is available, including on the cause of death, but the deceased’s murder was one of a rash of murders of homosexuals in Toronto in the late-‘70s and early-‘80s, some cases of which have been covered in earlier posts of this thread.

Note:  The murder of Alex (Sandy) Leblanc is still listed on the Toronto Police Services Cold Case site (to be profiled Sunday, October 2nd.)
●Tuesday, January 25th, 1977: The nude body of 24-year-old Brian Latocki is found tied to a bed in his Erskine Ave. apartment. The victim, a financial analyst with the Toronto Dominion bank, had been strangled, beaten, and stabbed several times in the chest and back. Latocki was last seen on the evening of Friday the 21st as he left a gay bar on Yonge St. with a man who purportedly offered him a ride home. That man was described as of East or West Indian origin, in his mid-twenties, with thin features, a medium-brown complexion, and an Afro.
Police at the time believed the killer was a sadist who enjoyed torturing and killing homosexuals. He may have been responsible for the deaths of several other gay men around the same time.

Note:  The murder of Brian Latocki is still listed on the Toronto Police Services Cold Case site (to be profiled Monday, October 3rd)
James Stewart Kennedy, 49, was found strangled and beaten to death in his apartment on Jarvis St. on Monday, September 20th, 1976. Kennedy worked at the Department of National Revenue on Adelaide St., and his body was found when he failed to show up for work as usual. A towel had been knotted tightly around his neck and his face had been badly battered. The victim, a bachelor, had last been seen Saturday night. No further information.

Note:  The murder of James Kennedy is still listed on the Toronto Police Services Cold Case site (to be profiled Tuesday, October 4th)

Note:  There may be a connection with the murders of Graham Pearce in 1983 (to be profiled Thursday, October 6th) and Thomas Cahill in 1983 (to be profiled Friday, October 7th)