Tracey Bruney Murder

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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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Thomas Cahill

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On Sunday, December 4th, 1983, art teacher Thomas Cahill was stabbed to death in his home on Berkeley St. Charles Furlong, a tenant in Cahill’s house, had heard Cahill talking to someone downstairs, and then, at 4:45 a.m., he heard Cahill call his name. When Furlong came downstairs, he found the front door open and Cahill lying in a pool of his own blood. Police believed Cahill was stabbed by a departing visitor. He had spent Saturday night at the Parkside Tavern on Yonge St.

From The Body Politic (January/February 1984)

Police are asking for help in locating the murderer of Thomas Cahill, 44, a high school art teacher found stabbed at his Berkeley Street home early Sunday morning, December 4.

Cahill was taken to St Michael’s Hospital, where he died 30 minutes later.

Sgt Herman Lowe of the homicide squad said police have been questioning people, including hustlers in the downtown area, who may have seen Cahill in the hours before his death. Individuals have been “most cooperative,” Lowe said.

Cahill was last seen at the St Charles Tavern early that Saturday evening.

Anyone with information about Cahill’s whereabouts between 7 pm December 3 and 4:30 am December 4 can call Toronto Homicide.

Graham Pearce

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Elementary school teacher Graham Pearce, 36, was stabbed in the throat in the master bathroom of his 25th-floor apartment at 35 High Park Ave. on Sunday, March 20th, 1983. By the time his roommate found him shortly before 1 p.m., Pearce had bled to death. Police believed the bachelor was murdered by someone he either brought home with him or admitted to the apartment early on Sunday morning. Police later learned Pearce had spent Saturday night at Stages, an upstairs gay bar at the Parkside Tavern on Yonge St. near Wellesley St., where he was last seen by a friend walking to his car at 3:30 a.m. Sunday morning.

COLD CASE: Toronto police appealing for leads in 1983 murder of single, gay man in High Park area

Person of interest Ronald Thomas Gale died in 2001 before being ID’d in case

Toronto police are appealing to the public for leads in a cold case murder dating back to 1983.

Graham Hugh Pearce, 36, died on Sunday March 20, 1983 around 12:40 p.m. after being fatally stabbed in an apartment at 35 High Park Ave.

Pearce’s roommate called police after arriving home to find Pearce dead on the bathroom floor.

Pearce was a single, gay man, who was a teacher in Peel Region, police said.

Police issued a YouTube video appeal Wednesday to the public asking for assistance in finding Pearce’s killer.

Toronto police homicide Det.-Sgt. Stacy Gallant said the investigation revealed Pearce had bar-hopped the night before his death on March 19, 1983.

“That night, he visited Boots Bar at the Selby Hotel on Sherbourne Street and Stages Bar at Yonge Street,” Gallant said.

Pearce drove home that night after 3 a.m. in his vehicle, a 1973 Plymouth, “along with his would-be killer or killers,” Gallant said.

Police identified a person of interest through evidence, Ronald Thomas Gale, then 22, Gallant said. Gale died in 2001, before investigators identified him in the case, he added.

Cold case investigators are appealing to anyone who knew Gale, or knew who Gale’s friends and associates were in 1983, to contact police, Gallant said.

Investigators are also appealing to people in their 50s and 60s in the gay community who may have information.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-7474 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477).

Cops seek help in murder cases

TORONTO — Metro police are asking for help in solving the separate murders of two Toronto gay men found stabbed to death in their apartments within a recent three-week period.

The body of Graham Pearce, a 36- year-old teacher, was discovered by his roommate in his High Park highrise apartment shortly after noon on Sunday, March 20, 1983. The previous night, Pearce had gone for a drink with a friend to the gay bar, Boots, and later to Stages disco on Yonge Street. (Note: the bars differ from the Parkside Tavern listed above)  He and his friend danced until 3:15 am, walked up Yonge St and parted company at Wellesley St at 3:30 am. Pearce was last seen walking west on Wellesley St in the direction of a parking lot where his car was parked.

According to Metro Police Homicide Squad officer Sgt Brian Raybould, Pearce was wearing blue jeans, blue T-shirt and a dark bomber jacket at the time. Raybould described Pearce as 5 ft 8 inches, stockily built with dark brown hair going to bald. Although the photo released by police shows Pearce wearing glasses, he always wore contact lenses when downtown.

Less than three weeks later, at 11 pm on April 5, 1983 police and the fire department were called to extinguish a fire in a condominium in the East York apartment complex of Crescent Town. After the fire
was put out, police discovered the nude body of Donald Weir in the bathtub. The 50- year-old Weir had died of multiple stab wounds.

Homicide’s Staff-Sgt Don Sangster said Weir was last seen in a store in Crescent Town at 6 pm on the day of the murder. Earlier in the day he had also been seen in a bank and a couple of hotels on
Danforth Ave. “We don’t know if he was in the bars that night,” Sangster told TBP, although it is known that he occasionally drank at Boots and the Quest. Waiters at both bars do not recall seeing him that night. Weir’s roommate recently returned from a holiday out of the province. Police say he reported certain property was missing from the apartment. (Note: do they mean after he returned from vacation or after the murder?)

According to the investigating officers, there are no definite suspects in either case at the moment. The local media have attempted to link the murders (“Fatal pattern haunts gays,” screamed one Toronto Sun headline) but police were more cautious. “There isn’t anything that connects the two,” Staff-Sgt Tom Milne stated flatly.

Sgt Raybould said police were checking out hustlers and street people in the downtown area. He said a number of men were under investigation, and mentioned a list of individuals known to frequent downtown bars. “We’re not having much luck,” Staff-Sgt Sangster admitted.

Initial media coverage of the murders did not mention the sexual orientation of the victims. It was only after the Weir death that the Sun began to stress the gay connection. “We’ve never reported this as a homosexual killing,” Sgt Raybould said. Although he said there were no official police guidelines on the matter, “my decision is that you’re in big trouble if you brand a killing a gay killing. First of all, how do you know it is? One of these days we’ll have one that isn’t. Besides,” he added, “there’s a Charter of Rights in this country now.”

“We don’t mention anyone’s lifestyle,” said Staff-Sgt Sangster, “but there’s no harm in mentioning the bars the deceased went to.”

Both Sangster and Raybould said that members of the gay community have been cooperative in coming forward with information. “There’s been a great response from people,” Sgt Raybould said.

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Cheryl Hanson

On Friday, May 31st, 1974, seven-year-old Cheryl Hanson vanished while walking east along Bloomington Sideroad near Yonge St. in the town of Aurora, about 35 km north of downtown To

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ronto. Her parents had permitted her to walk to her cousin’s house for a sleepover, and the little girl left her home at about 6:30 p.m. Her route from her home to her cousin’s would have taken her about one kilometre east along Bloomington Rd., at the time a dirt road dotted with the odd residence or farm.

Despite massive searches, no trace of Cheryl was ever found, however the presumption is she was murdered. In 1976, a mental patient locked up for other crimes against young women confessed to murdering her, but his story was unable to be verified.

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James Stewart Kennedy

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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.

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.

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The deaths of Harold Walkley, James Douglas Taylor, James Kennedy, Brian Latocki and Sandy Leblanc shared a similar element — overkill. The victims were slabbed 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.

 

Brian Dana Latocki

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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.

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Alexander (Sandy) Romeo Leblanc

Then & Now: Club David’s – Then and Now: Toronto Nightlife History

Allan Bell a.k.a. Phyllis (left) with Sister Rock-On at David’s. Photo courtesy of Wendy Peacock.   Article originally published March…

Source: Then & Now: Club David’s – Then and Now: Toronto Nightlife History

“There were suspects, but no proof,” says Ken Andrews, now retired and active as a community volunteer as he nears age 79.
“A friend discovered Sandy’s body when paying a visit to his apartment. He called police, of course, and a certain then-homicide detective by the name of Julian Fantino was an investigator. My friend thought it odd that a follow-up interview never took place.”
A few years later, former David’s co-owner Mark Lefkofski, who also co-owned Detroit men’s bar Menjo’s for a period, was murdered in that city.
“It was absolutely devastating, the way that Sandy was murdered, but at the time, it was seen as possible that he’d brought the wrong person home,” recalls John Weber, who went on to DJ at clubs including Sutton Place disco Stop 33, Space disco and The Barn (he’s now retired).
“But then, when it came to Mark also being murdered, it seemed like there was something else involved there. Maybe bikers or mob money – it seems we’ll never know.”