This 60 year old man is six feet tall, with blue eyes. He’s passionate about gardening, computer programming and cooking. He’s a wee bit paunchy but active. He’s lonely and looking for friends, his online ad announces. He sounds like he could be someone’s Mr. McDreamy. Except, he’s left out a significant bit of background. Saul Betesh (inset) is one of Canada’s most infamous child sex killers, an imprisoned predator whose depraved crime shocked a generation.
Betesh’s ad appeared on a U.S.-based website for prisoners seeking pen-pals. The ad is no longer linked from the international page of the site, but it is still online and accessible. Here’s the full text that was presumably mailed in to the site by Betesh:
I am 60 years young. I have short hair, blue eyes and stands 6 feet tall. I’m slightly overweight but active. I have three passions in life 1. Gardening 2. Computers (programming not the Internet). 3. Cooking. I am a practicing Druid and I also attend Wiccan Services. This is the most important part of my life as it concerns my interaction with the Gods and the planet earth. I will write anyone back who includes a photo.
There’s a section in the ad where inmates indicate why they’re in prison. Betesh listed his crime as “asasult.” That doesn’t seem to accurately capture it.
Betesh was convicted in 1978, along with Robert Kribs and Josef Woods, of the sexual torture and murder of 12-year-old Emanuel Jaques (inset right), a boy that Betesh plucked off a seedy section of downtown Yonge Street in Toronto, Ontario. Betesh offered him $25 to help carry camera equipment. Instead he took Emanuel to a flophouse above a body rub parlour where the boy was forced to engage in vile sex acts. Betesh confessed the details to investigators and even agreed to return to the apartment and re-enact the murder. He explained that he and his accomplices were gay predators who regularly snatched boys off the street and forced them into sex acts. Betesh said he and Kribs took turns violating the boy for about two hours. After they had raped Emanuel, they fed him sleeping pills. They planned to release the drugged boy in a park, but Betesh said, in his confession that was read in court, that the pills didn’t work, so he tried to strangle him with a cord. After that failed, Betesh drowned Emanuel in a sink. The killers wrapped the child’s body in two plastic garbage bags and a plastic curtain and hid it behind a pile of lumber on the roof of the building. The conspirators were caught within days. A fourth man, Werner Gruener, was charged but was acquitted of first-degree murder at trial. Woods died behind bars ion 2003. Kribs was denied parole in 2002. (According to the Toronto Sun, Betesh was transferred in 2011 to medium-security Dorchester Penitentiary in New Brunswick).
Betesh would have paid $40 to post the ad for a year, according to the website, which does not seem to be too popular with Canadian convicts. As of this writing, the site features just three other ads from Canadians, all prisoners serving time in penitentiaries in Ontario.
Murderer Dwayne Dilleon stabbed a man to death and was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 10 years. Kurt Schmidt was sent to prison in Toronto in the mid 90s for a slew of sex crimes including attempted anal intercourse and sexual interference (meaning his victims were children). His ad says he’s looking for legal help. Another child sex killer, Thomas Hurst, who murdered five-year-old Naomi Almeida, also is looking for friendship online. He too leaves out the details of his crime. He lists his offence as “assault.” Hurst abducted Naomi from her father’s home in London, Ontario in August 2001. She had been sleeping on the couch in ground floor apartment. Hurst raped and murdered the child. Her body was found stuffed into a duffle bag. Hurst, who was 19 at the time, turned himself in to police after a massive search of the area for the missing child. In his pen-pal ad, Hurst says he’s “in no rush to get married and have children but one day that is in my destiny.”
Betesh’s ad on the Inmate-Connection website: