Since posting recently about the 40-year-old unsolved murder of Christine Ziomkiewicz, I’ve learned that investigators approached a family member in the past few years and discussed leads that were being tracked. Bernie Ziomkiewicz, a younger brother of the missing Kingston, Ontario woman, says he met with a Kingston Police officer. He also revealed that he provided DNA samples to police.
The middle child of working class, immigrant parents, Christine Ziomkiewicz built a comfortable and promising life by the time she reached her mid 20s. She had a bachelor of science degree, a good job at a lab at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario and a loving and close family. On Father’s Day weekend in 1978, she baked a cake for her dad, Stefan. The following Friday, June 23, Christine bought groceries after work, chatted with a neighbour as she arrived home at her apartment and went inside. No one has seen her since. Police say she was murdered, though they have not found her body or a crime scene.
A onetime minister of justice in Quebec is lending his voice to demands from the families of murder victims in cases that have long been unsolved. Lawyer Marc Bellemare sent a letter to the province’s public security minister, asking for an inquiry over claims by the families that police have badly mishandled investigations, blocked their access to information...
Police in Quebec have long been among the worst* in Canada at solving murders. Now, one man – bolstered by decades of meticulous research – is challenging this futility with a demand for an inquiry and the formation of a cross-departmental, province-wide cold case squad. John Allore charges that Quebec police are “completely incompetent.” He knows this, he says, because of his dogged research into more than 20 unsolved killings from the 1970s and 80s, including the murder of his 19-year-old sister Theresa. Allore says police deliberately refused to investigate those cases, so he did. Allore uncovered glaring failures in the investigation of Theresa’s November 1978 murder in a small community 150 kilometres east of Montreal. Police wrongly first labelled her death an accident or suicide, fumbled the search for missing clothing and possessions and later discarded important physical evidence that could help identify her killer. More than 37 years after Theresa was killed, the unsolved murder has just been added to the website of the Quebec provincial police force’s cold case unit, thanks to John Allore’s persistence. But he’s not done. Allore (hear him in the Cancrime podcast, after the jump) is pressing for co-operation among departments with unsolved cases that could be connected. His remarkable research and sharp criticism have attracted the attention of senior police officials in Quebec and given hope to families of other victims.
When they found six-year-old Michael Kent (inset), he was motionless, lying face down in the muddy snow on the west side of the parking lot of the arena in Elmvale, a small community 120 kilometres north of Toronto. The fair-haired boy, one of five Kent siblings, was still wearing his navy blue and white tuque and his navy blue ski jacket but it was now covered with mud and blood. Michael had been stabbed seven times, four times in the abdomen and three times in the back. There was no indication he had been sexually assaulted. Police later surmised that the small boy’s face had been held down in the mud while he was killed on that winter day, February 11, 1966. A half century later, Michael’s murder remains unsolved.
Carmen Robinson should be 56, a greying boomer, perhaps an early retiree discovering the joy of life untethered from the daily grind. Time to sip mid morning lattes. Time to lounge with a favourite book. Time for family. Instead, Carmen (inset) is a smiling snapshot, a memory, a life with no conclusion. She also is a statistic, one of thousands of unsolved murders that have been accumulating in Canada in the past half century. Carmen was just 17 when she stepped off a bus a few blocks from her home in Victoria, British Columbia, on December 8, 1973. She vanished and was, it is presumed, murdered. Her body has not been found and her killer remains unknown.
Four decades of agonizing uncertainty. Forty years of wondering why. It’s hard to fathom the torment endured in that span by the family of Jacqueline English (inset). The 15-year-old London, Ontario, girl was abducted, raped and murdered 40 years ago. Her murderer, perhaps a serial killer who preyed on young girls in the region during that time, has not been caught.
Precisely 10 years ago today, 15-year-old Sharmini Anandavel (inset) left her Toronto, Ontario, apartment, telling her parents she had a new job to go to. Four months later, Sharmini’s skeletal remains were found scattered in a ravine about two kilometres from her home. Her murder has never been solved. But police have always had a good suspect, convicted stalker Stanley Tippett, who is back behind bars. A detective who spent a year trying to solve Sharmini’s murder says Tippett was never “eliminated” as the possible killer.