Wednesday, October 31, 2007


"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
- Margaret Mead

As everyone knows, John Allore has spent the past five years on an intense and emotionally draining journey trying to get justice in the death of his sister, Theresa Allore. He has managed to resurrect a 29-year-old cold case, bring national attention to his sister’s story, challenge the Quebec judicial system and serve as a voice for crime victims and judicial reform.

Along the way, he assembled a group of dedicated supporters of which I am one.

As John re-prioritizes his life and takes a much-needed breather from the case and this blog, he asked if I would be interested in helping to keep the momentum going by continuing to update the blog.

I was a bit hesitant to commit because I know the responsibility this entails. I ultimately agreed because I would hate to see someone with information relevant to the case be directed to a stagnant blog or a dead link. He’s gone too far to let his efforts dissipate into the void.

So here we are.

I hope that everyone who has accompanied John on his journey (some of whom have been with him since the start) will continue to visit this blog, share their thoughts and hopefully, bring this case to a conclusion.

I invite anyone who has a theory, facts about the case or suggestions on how we can resolve this cold case to post their comments or email me at Although I may be taking the lead in posting new entries on John’s blog, I will not be acting as a spokesperson or lead investigator on this case. This is still John’s blog and I will be ever-mindful of this.

That being said, I will post my thoughts and suggest some avenues that I think we could explore to bring about a resolution. If I am unable to post for a few days, you may see an entry from another member of our small but mighty group of volunteers.

Please be assured that any information you share with me will be protected and treated with the utmost of discretion.

Let’s see if Margaret Mead is right—that a small group of committed volunteers can make a difference.


Maritime Missy 



"Let no one be discouraged by the belief that there is nothing one man or one woman can do against the enormous array of the world's ills -- against misery and ignorance, injustice and violence... Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation..."
--Robert F. Kennedy

Now that I'm getting more familiar with the "blogosphere", I thought I should share some of my goals regarding this blog in particular.

1. I hope to update the blog daily so people have something new to read every time they visit. I don't know about the rest of you...but I hate it when I check out a blog and realize they only update it every couple of days. I usually don't bother returning. An active blog attracts readers. And the more that people are thinking and talking about Theresa...the better our chances of keeping the momentum going.

2. I hope that whatever I post will generate some discussion and feedback. I've already accepted the fact that I'm not going to please all of the people all of the my only concerns are that whatever I post is accurate, relevant and doesn't cause hardship for John and his family.

3. I hope that each person who reads this blog understands that each of us has the ability to change the outcome of Theresa's case. Whether you're asking questions...combing through dusty documents or simply offering're making a difference. Never think that what you have to offer isn't appreciated or isn't important. It is.

I'm not sure how this blog will unfold in the days and months to come. I don't know what format it will take....whether it's polls, musings, statistics or news, I just hope that whatever I post will keep you coming back. And again, if there's something you want to know, write a comment. I bet there's someone out there who will have an answer.

Thanks for your patience. Let's see what tomorrow holds!

Maritime Missy



"There's never a case that I've seen that is not solvable."
--Jerry Boyce, Police Detective, Elizabeth City, North Carolina commenting on the 18-year-old cold case of Bob Hughes. (Source: "Cracking a Cold Case", by Diana Mazzella, The Daily Advance)

How do you think Theresa's case will be solved?

1. The killer will confess.
2. Law enforcement will nab the killer for another crime.
3. Amateur/volunteer detectives will piece the case together.
4. A family member/associate of a suspect will come forward.
5. New evidence will be discovered (either physical or another victim's testimony).

Maritime Missy



We are not alone....

If you're looking for proof that volunteers can make a difference in solving cold cases, check out these websites...

The Cold Case Cowboys

They are retired police officers in Oregon who make up a volunteer Cold Case Squad investigating old homicides. Although they are volunteers, they are sworn officers who work Tuesday and Wednesday of each week solving old murders.

The Vidocq Society

An unusual, exclusive crime-solving organization that meets monthly Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In a famed walnut-paneled meeting room, members of The Vidocq Society honor Eugène François Vidocq, the brilliant 18th century French detective who served France's Sûreté, by applying their collective forensic skills and experience to "cold case" homicides and unsolved deaths. At Vidocq meetings Vidocq Society Members (V.S.M.'s) evaluate, investigate, refocus, revivify and solve the unsolved deaths officially brought to them.


A private, volunteer organization dedicated to resolving cold cases.

Maritime Missy

Posted - 8/24/2007 02:25:00 AM



Unsolved Statistics…

The Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics provides a fairly detailed report (“Homicide in Canada”, 2005 by Mia Dauvergne and Geoffrey Li.) about homicide clearance rates in Canada.

Some numbers are surprising. Others…not so much.

.... 24,000 homicides have been reported since 1961 (when the numbers first started being recorded)

....85% of homicides were solved by police (Who solved the other 15%??)

....Between 1976 and 2005, clearance rates were lowest in Quebec at 74%. (Are you surprised?)

....London, Greater Sudbury and Niagara Regional in Ontario reported the highest clearance rates--above 95%. (Good detective work or solvable cases?)

....Only 5% of homicides were solved a year or more after the date of incident. (Leads grow cold or law enforcement moves on?)

....Homicides committed by strangers … tended to take police longer to solve compared to homicides in which the accused person was known to the victim. On average, homicides committed by strangers were solved by police a little over four months after the date of the incident.

....In 2005, almost two-thirds (64%) of adults (18 years or older) accused of homicide had a Canadian criminal record. Among those adults with a criminal history, 62% had a prior conviction for a violent offence: 6 for homicide, 53 for robbery and 145 for another type of violent offence (such as assault). (Could Theresa’s murderer already be sitting in jail?)

....Most homicides are committed by lone accused; however, homicides committed by youth often involve more than one accused. Of the 51 incidents involving youth, more than half were committed by two or more individuals. Comparatively, of the 403 solved incidents committed solely by adults, 14% involved two or more accused. (Is this an avenue we need to explore—TWO suspects?)

Maritime Missy

Posted - 8/24/2007 10:09:00 AM



Why wasn't Theresa discovered sooner?

Photo 1: Compton Station Road (looking toward Gagnon farm)

Photo 2: View from Gagnon farm looking toward bog/bridge.

Photo 3: Side view from road showing Gagnon farm behind clump of trees on left and the bog treeline next to the bridge on the right.

Photo 4: Where Theresa was finally discovered by muskrat trapper in April 1979. (34m from bridge)

A dedicated reader of this blog took some photos this summer of areas significant to Theresa’s case. I am grateful that this person also carefully labeled each photo so that I could get a better perspective of where certain sites were in relation to other landmarks. After reviewing them, I couldn’t help but wonder why Theresa wasn’t found until April 1979—especially considering the proximity of the Gagnon farm to the bridge. If the farm had dogs (and every farmer I know has at least one), surely the animal would have noticed Theresa before the spring.

I also wondered why muskrat trappers didn’t notice her in the fall since the trapping season in that zone would have probably started in late October. Robert Ride, the trapper who discovered Theresa, said it was a “good spot” so I was thinking that other trappers would have traveled the Compton Road in the fall looking for places to lay their own traps. Why didn’t they see her? The trees wouldn’t have been as big then…and they wouldn’t have had much foliage (if any) on them.

I know that during the winter months, the area would have been covered in snow. But it didn't snow every day in November 1979 did it?
(Is it terribly obvious that I've never been to the Eastern Townships?)

Maritime Missy

Posted at 8/25/2007 07:00:00 PM



More troubling questions…

“…Two days after Theresa Allore disappeared, two young men walking along a wooded road between Magog and Austin came across a pair of woman's slacks and a shirt, draped across a log. When Theresa was reported missing some days later, the men called Detective Leo Hamell, who went over to investigate. The clothes could no longer be found.I checked Hamell's notes, which John had copied from his sister's file, and studied my map of the Eastern Townships. The road where the young men had seen the women's slacks and shirt was Rue Giguere.”
--Patricia Pearson, National Post article, August 10, 2002

“…On Saturday, November 4th, 1978 two hunters – Stephen Mandigo and Samuel Burnham – spotted clothing in the woods off Giguare road near Austin, Quebec. The location was ¼ a mile down Giguare road, about 500 yards into the interior of the forest, left off Giguare. The hunters described seeing “darkish pants and a t-shirt”. Theresa Allore was last seen wearing dark blue corduroys and a t-shirt. On Wednesday, November 15th, 1978 the hunters and the chief of the Lennoxville police went back to the sight but were unable to re-locate the clothing.”
--April 12, 2006 Who Killed Theresa (WTK) blog entry

“…The paper also mentions that just two days after her disappearance, some hunters found women’s clothing in a wood near the village of Austin, and that these clothes matched the description of those worn by Theresa Allore.”
-- May 5, 2007, WTK blog entry

1. Why did it take Leo Hamel 11 days to investigate the discovery of women’s clothing in Austin?

2. Who, besides the hunters and Leo Hamel, knew that clothing had been found? (In other words, how did the person(s) who retrieved the shirt/pants know that the clothing had been discovered in the first place?)

3. Hunters found the clothing. A trapper found Theresa. Both locations seem to be frequented mostly by hunters. Can we extrapolate from this that a hunter was involved in Theresa’s murder?

4. Hunters seem to have favourite spots. Who else hunted near the rue Giguere and/or trapped along the Compton Station Road? (Again, would the Quebec Dept. of Natural Resources keep records of hunting/trapping licenses for Zone 81 from 1978-79?)

5. If the clothes that the hunter found were in fact Theresa’s, why were they found so far away from the Compton Station Road?

Maritime Missy

Posted - 8/28/2007 12:35:00 AM  



Muskrat Trapping Seasons...

One of our blog readers sent me some more detailed information about muskrat trapping seasons from the Quebec Department of Natural Resources website.

Apparently, there are two different trapping seasons for muskrats--one for submarine (underwater) traps and one for above-water traps. In the zone where Theresa was found, above-water muskrat traps can be placed between October and the end of April. If you're laying underwater traps, you can only do it between October and the end of December.

Based on this information, Robert Ride must have been doing above-water traps when he discovered Theresa.

On the subject of blogging...

You've probably noticed that I haven't been posting every day. The reason for this is that I've had some feedback from readers. A few people suggested I leave posts up longer to allow them more time to digest the information before I move on to another topic. Someone also suggested I not blog on Sundays so everybody can catch up on the week's activities. I'll take their advice.

FYI...I keep an eye on the number of comments each blog entry receives. It helps me gauge reader interest. So please...don't keep your thoughts to yourself...write a comment! Your feedback is important!

Maritime Missy

Posted - 8/29/2007 01:38:00 AM



The Dream Team

What if….you could handpick a dream team to solve Theresa’s case and win a conviction?

Who would you assign to the case? Here are my picks:

Criminalist/Forensic Scientist

Dr. Henry Lee 

Dr. Lee is one the world's foremost forensic scientists. He is presently the Chief Emeritus of the Connecticut State Police, Founder and Professor of the Forensic Science Program at the University of New Haven, Editor of seven academic journals, author/ co-author of 30 books and over 300 articles. The legendary investigator is known for finding the tiniest clues. He has even solved a murder without a body. Over the past 40 years, Lee assisted in the investigations of more than 6,000 cases, including war crimes in Bosnia and Croatia, the suicide of President Clinton's former White House attorney, Vince Foster, review of the JFK assassination, and the death of JonBenet Ramsey

Lead Detective

Wendell Stradford 

“Detective Wendell Stradford is one of the original members of New York’s Cold Case Squad. (Previously), he worked for Jack Maple, the deputy commissioner of Operations, in a special unit called the Police Commissioner's Investigation Squad, the PC Squad for short. If a precinct was having problems, someone from the PC Squad was sent to help. They were the cavalry. Maple had a hand in selecting detectives when the Cold Case Squad began, and Jack Maple did not f*** around. He only picked the best, and he picked Wendell twice.”
-- The Restless Sleep, (a non-fiction book about NYC’s Cold Case Squad) by Stacy Horn

Since 1985, Stradford has made 328 arrests, 23 of them while in Cold Case. He brought in another 74 suspects of murder or attempted murder in cases opened by other detectives who were unable to do so themselves.

In his words:
“In some ways I think the older the better. (Cold) cases are sadder, they are the most forgotten, and the hardest to solve. After two years, if a murder hasn't been solved, the chances of it ever being solved goes down to .01%. Solving a 32 year old case was really beating the odds.”


Nancy Grace 

OK…I know you’re thinking Nancy is a loudmouthed, ultra-rightwing talking head but don’t forget that she spent a decade as special prosecutor of felony cases involving serial murder, rape, child molestation and arson. She went into law school after the murder of her fiancé and is now an outspoken victims' rights advocate in addition to her show on CNN.


Retired Canadian Supreme Court Justice, Peter Cory

“I don't think the significance and magnitude of what he did has been sufficiently understood," said Michael Finucane, the son of one of the victims. "It was an absolutely astounding thing to do. The courage of that man, in the face of the British government trying to intimidate and shut him up, really staggers the imagination."

Maritime Missy
Posted - 8/31/2007 12:47:00 AM



How cops get killers to confess...

This post was written by a Chicago homicide detective. He explains the tedious process of coaxing a confession out of a criminal.

He says, "Between the low clearance rate and not guilty verdicts, I figure you have 3 out of 4 chances that you will get away with murder...Usually offenders who have been through the system for serious crimes before won't confess. They know that all you are selling them is decades in state prison."

Click here to

Maritime Missy

Posted - 9/01/2007 12:49:00 AM



Things I've learned about strangulation...

Now that's a statement I never thought I'd ever write. But here I am...reading forensic pathology papers on the subject of homicidal strangulation.


I was re-reading investigators' and autopsy reports after Theresa was found on April 13, 1979. John discussed those events on this blog in April of this year. Three statements from those entries have always stuck in mind:

1. Detective Roch Gaudreault noticed “marks of strangulation” on Theresa.

2. "Gauldreault and Durand do not make mention of the strangulation marks that were observed earlier." (in a meeting with Theresa's father on April 14, 1979)

3. "The gullet contains “a little vomiting matter” '. ..Sourour observes the absence of visible traces of external traumatic lesions on the body.
-- Teresa Sourour, pathologist who supervised Theresa’s autopsy

Here are some facts that relate specifically to those comments:

- Prolonged submersion and decaying may dim or destroy the external signs of asphyxia. Signs of violence or other cause of death may also be lost.

- Oftentimes, even in fatal cases, there is no external evidence of injury. While patterned abrasions and contusions of the skin of the anterior neck are typical of strangulation cases, some cases have no externally evident injury whatsoever.

- The summary experience with choking for control of suspects -- also called the “carotid restraint hold”, “shime waza”, or “the sleeper hold” -- is that death can ensue without the intent of the officer, and without leaving external marks on the body.

- The common scenario for homicidal strangulation is that the individual is found dead... There being no externally-evident injury, the body is taken for autopsy with a suspicion of drug overdose, and the injury of strangulation is not found until the neck dissection is carried out at autopsy, ordinarily at the end of the case. Therefore, photographs and trace evidence collections are not made.
Source: Death By Strangulation, Dr. Dean Hawley, forensic pathologist

- “Sometimes the victim may vomit. And it’s important if the victim does vomit, that the officer photograph the vomit if he can find it. He should keep it as evidence. Nausea and vomiting is one of the pieces of evidence that the victim was strangled.
Source: Dr. George E. McClane, Emergency Room Physician at a San Diego hospital.

- Ligature marks are a clue that the hyoid bone may be broken. As a general rule, on a post mortem exam, if a hyoid bone is fractured the death will be a homicide from strangulation until proven otherwise. However, because the two halves of the hyoid do not fuse until age 30, the hyoid may not break in younger victims who die as the result of strangulation.
Source: How to Improve Your Investigation and Prosecution of Strangulation Cases by Gael Strack and Dr. George McClane

I may not be a coroner, pathologist or doctor, but if I were writing Theresa's autopsy report, I would add "Theresa Allore was a healthy, young woman with no signs of drugs, blunt force trauma or gunshot wounds. I would therefore suggest that Ms. Allore's cause of death was most likely due to homicidal strangulation."

Maritime Missy

Posted - 9/04/2007 12:02:00 AM



Judges used logic to acquit Truscott...

I've been reading and re-reading an article from the Globe and Mail for the past week that details the decision for the acquittal of Steven Truscott in the 1959 rape/murder of Lynne Harper.

I can't help notice the similarities between Lynne Harper's and Theresa Allore's cases in terms of location and manner of death. Both Theresa and Lynne appear to have been "garrotted". (The sleeve of Lynne's blouse was torn and adapted as a ligature. Theresa was probably strangled using her scarf that was found torn in two pieces in the field. Both Lynne and Theresa were found in a field/copse semi-naked and shoeless.)

The judges make some good points in determining that Truscott couldn't have been responsible for Lynne's death. 

I wonder if the judges would say the same thing about Theresa's death...that it couldn't have been a friend who killed her because more signs of struggle would be evident...and that there was no way she could have walked bare foot to her final resting place. (If Theresa's body wasn't in such an advanced state of putrefaction, I also wonder if the coroner would have also found lacerations on her feet/legs.)

It's also interesting to note that in in 1997, when Truscott asked for DNA tests to exonerate him, he discovered that the court exhibits had been destroyed. (Sound familiar??)

Truscott seems to have been acquitted based on "logical interpretation" of the evidence. I think that's what most of us are trying to do in determining how Theresa died and who might have killed her.

Here are excerpts from the Globe and Mail story....

Truscott acquitted in death of Lynne Harper
Globe and Mail Update
August 28, 2007 at 1:30 PM EDT

........The judges presiding over the (Steven) Truscott appeal - former Chief Justice Roy McMurtry, Mr. Justice Michael Moldaver, Mr. Justice Marc Rosenberg, Mr. Justice David Doherty and Madam Justice Karen Weiler - said that some of the most improbable elements of the case involved the way Ms. Harper's body was found.

"The victim was largely naked and had evidently walked into the copse with bare feet. There were lacerations on her leg that appeared to have been caused by barbed wire. She had been expertly strangled with a sleeve of her blouse.

"While far from conclusive, that gruesome picture - no struggle, the use of her blouse as a garrotte and sex while she was dead or dying - seems out of place with the actions of a 14-year-old schoolboy whose sexual advances were rebuffed by a 12-year-old classmate," the court said.

Logic suggests that Ms. Harper would have put up a struggle had her friend been attacking her , the judges added. "It also suggests that ....the mode of strangulation - likely carried out in a fit of frenzy - would have been manual, not ligature, and not with a piece of Lynne's blouse that had to be torn and adapted to a specific use."

Her bare feet and leg lacerations were decided puzzling if Mr. Truscott truly lured her into the bush voluntarily , the Court said."That being so, we can think of no reason why Lynne would have removed her shoes and socks before entering the woods," it said. "The ground in Lawson's Bush was not at all conducive to walking bare foot. As is apparent from photographs of the scene, it was completely covered with broken branches, twigs, roots, foliage, stones and mud."

Maritime Missy

Posted - 9/06/2007 10:46:00 AM



Are Canada's pathologists qualified to do their job?

You'd think that an important job like pathologist would be a licensed profession in Canada. Apparently not. You can practice pathology without being board certified. (At least you have to be a licensed doctor before you can call yourself a pathologist.)

There is a Canadian Association of Pathologists but they don't regulate the profession. I think the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada considers pathology a "specialty" and offers training. Pathologists aren't required by law to take the training and you don't necessarily need it to take a job as a pathologist.

This excerpt is from a CBC story:

"When it comes to autopsy reports, the field of pathology can be a subjective one. It's based on research and opinion, and it's especially controversial in Canada, where there is no formal training or certification process. Only a handful of practitioners in Ontario are entrusted with the job — and they've learned by doing."

If I am wrong on this, somebody please enlighten me.

Maritime Missy

Posted - 9/07/2007 07:56:00 AM



Another cornfield. Another murder. Another cold case.

This time, it was Mary Pierce whose nude body was found in a cornfield in 1977 in Greeley, Colorado. She had been raped and stabbed. Fortunately for Mary, detectives are still actively investigating her case 30 years after the fact.

Here are some excerpts from the local newspaper, The Tribune, about the Mary Elizabeth Pierce case (my comments are in red):

"But it was a farmer -- who owned the cornfield -- who found the body. The farmer had walked past the cornfield Thursday, saw a sock lying beside the dirt road, and thought nothing of it. When the search for Mary Pierce began, he remembered the sock and went back. About 100 yards from U.S. 34, in his field of corn, he found the nude body of Mary Pierce....
***As I mentioned before, I wonder why somebody from the Gagnon farm hadn't found Theresa. At least the Gagnon fields had already been harvested. The Colorado field still had tall cornstalks... and yet Mary's body was found the following day after she disappeared.***

"...sheriff's deputy Bill Spading and Greeley detective Mike Savage, combed the cornfield for clues. Dogs were brought in, metal detectors were used in the cornfield, the ditches, the dirt roads, to find the knife that killed Mary Pierce.
***Too bad this same effort wasn't applied in Theresa's case.***

"Jesse talked about hearing the dogs barking that night," Molocznik said. "And a farmer close to the cornfield reported his dogs were barking like crazy about 3:30 in the morning. It would have been the time she was being killed in the cornfield."
***Hmm...this farmer had dogs who noticed something was wrong the night Mary was being killed. As I mentioned before, if the Gagnon farm had dogs, wouldn't they have alerted their owners if a car was parked for any length of time in front of the property? And if nobody was home that night, what about the next six months? The dogs surely would have noticed a dead body.***

The Tribune editorial staff sums up the investigative efforts in the Mary Pierce case:

"We're glad -- and proud -- that our local authorities continue to follow up on such tips, regardless of how remote they may be, rather than let them collect dust. That gives the lives of those murdered or who have disappeared relevancy, respect even. And the detectives' work gives the families some hope."
***I'm sure the Allore family would love to be able to say the same thing.***

To read more about this case, click here:

Maritime Missy
Posted - 9/09/2007 11:21:00 PM



Are Canadian universities a playground for predators?

School's in and the predators are out--at York, Carleton and Laurentian Universities in Ontario.

September 9, 2007
Two sex attacks at York U. Police say two suspects may be students as well


The new school year at York University is off to a violent start after two men sexually assaulted two women and tried to attack another at a campus residence. 

Toronto sex crimes detectives said the duo, who may be students themselves, found "victims of opportunity" in their rampage early Friday at Vanier College's dormitory, just hours after the first Thursday pub night in nearby York Lanes. 

Six entries to campus buildings have so far been reported to police: Two women were sexually assaulted, the assailants attempted to sexually assault a third woman and the other three are considered as break-ins. 

The men are described as being white and in their early 20s. One is over six feet with light-coloured hair and the other is about 5-foot-5 with short dark hair and a dark complexion. 

Witnesses are asked to call 416-808-7474 or Crime Stoppers at 416-222-8477. 

Det. Christine Long said two of the victims were treated at hospital and later released.
She said none of the women knew each other. 

They were "victims of opportunity," she said. 

Long said police are reviewing surveillance and other forensic evidence. There were no signs of forced entry, she said. 

"I feel both suspects were very comfortable with the environment, therefore they're either part of the school or were part of the school," she said. 

But students don't seem too worried or frightened by the attacks. 

"I lock my door," said first-year student Jennifer Johnson, of Keswick. "It's like a house, I'm not going to let somebody just walk into my house." 

Another female resident said everyone is taking responsibility in tightening security at the highrise dorm which houses between 250 and 300 co-eds. 

Gilary Massa, with the York Federation of Students, said a large number of campus alerts have been issued. 

"I'm very pleased with how the university is handling (the incidents)," she said. "They're taking the security measures they have to take." 

She said the attacks have shaken her. 

"I spoke to my roommate and she came in from Vancouver and she was frightened and I am ... in shock," said the fourth-year student who described the campus as safe. 

Parent Dave Lightfoot said he feels his son is safe living on campus and has faith in its security, although his wife Victoria urged her son to escort girlfriends to their residences after hours. 

"Our dormatories are safe," said York spokesman Alex Bilyk. Bilyk didn't know how security was breached by the attackers. 

"It's regrettable that these two sex assaults happened. We try to ensure the safety of the community, (but) every community is vulnerable to a crime like this," Bilyk said. 


Maritime Missy

Posted - 9/10/2007 03:03:00 PM



DNA. The Holy Grail of Cold Cases.

Can anyone remember whether or not the SQ saved the evidence collected from Louise Camirand's and Manon Dube's case and if they did, was it ever tested for DNA and compared for a possible link?

(Read the article below and see what the Scottish police were able to do with a series of 30-year-old cold cases 'across the pond'.)


Forces probe unsolved murders
Three Scottish police forces have launched a new investigation into the unsolved murders of seven young women dating back almost 30 years. 

The inquiry was launched after what police described as a "significant scientific breakthrough". 

The cases include Edinburgh's notorious 1977 World's End pub murders.

The man leading the inquiry, involving the Lothian and Borders, Strathclyde and Tayside forces, said there were strong links between the deaths. 

Lothian and Borders Deputy Chief Constable Tom Wood said: "The advances in DNA have given us information we could never have imagined in the past. 

For the full article from BBC News, click and paste the following URL into your browser (I think the link is broken):

Maritime Missy

Posted - 9/11/2007 04:31:00 PM



Here I am....

My apologies to everyone for not posting any entries the past few days. I was away on business and didn't have a chance to update the blog. So if you can bear with me for another day...I'll get my latest thoughts organized and posted for your comments and input.

I do want to thank everyone for taking the time to check into this blog on a regular basis. I read every one of your emails and comments and I'm grateful for your continued interest and feedback. I'm sure it means a lot to John as well. :-)


Maritime Missy

Posted - 9/14/2007 05:59:00 PM


Getting Creative to Solve Cold Cases

[Photo: Ingrid Lugo -  Unsolved Homicide - Six of Spades]

Creative thinking has given us everything from airplanes and Zambonis to Astroturf and the zipper. I believe the key ingredient to solving cold cases is applying some creative thinking.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has taken an innovative approach to getting tips on their old cold cases. They created a deck of playing cards with information on 52 cold cases and distributed them to the state's 93,000 inmates. It makes sense. If you want access to the criminal mind, take your message to that audience.

The only thing I would do differently for a Canadian version of these cards is let the inmates know there's an incentive for cooperating with an investigation. (e.g., cash awards, upgrade their privileges).

Other than that, I think the cards are a great idea. They're relatively inexpensive and have a long "shelf life". They're not like flyers or newspaper articles which can be disposed of within a day or two. The playing cards would be used and seen for a much longer period of time.

I really think this idea should be incorporated into Theresa's investigation. So where do we start? Well...we need to:

- determine how many inmates there are in Canada so we know how many decks of playing cards that need to be printed. (In 2004-05, there were 32,100 adult prisoners in custody in Canada. )
- find out how much it will cost to produce the cards
- determine which agencies could provide grants to assist with the costs and distribution of the cards
- get buy-in from law enforcement (e.g., RCMP and Surete du Quebec)
- put together a proposal to request funding
- determine which 52 cold cases should be part of the deck

Here is some more information on how Florida got their Cold Case Cards into the prisons....


Prisoner Poker Could Crack Cold Cases
Phil Davis, Associated Press
Copyright AP 2007

Prison inmates are getting a present from the state of Florida: playing cards. For detectives looking to solve dozens of cold cases, it's the start of a game of Go Fish that might pay off big.

On Tuesday, Florida's nearly 93,000 state inmates started getting one of two decks that between them highlight 104 of the state's most troubling unsolved murder and missing persons cases

"What better way to get them talking than to have cards with the cases on them?" said Special Agent Tommy Ray of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. "These are people who have been in there for years. That's the best source of information. There are a couple of high-profile cases I think we'll get solved.”

Ray helped launch the statewide program after he and colleagues on a cold case squad in Polk County got the idea to produce a similar deck for county inmates there in 2005. They were inspired by the famous most-wanted deck of Saddam Hussein and other fugitives issued to U.S. troops shortly after the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Soon after the Polk County cards were issued, they generated a tip. Two men have been charged with murder in the 2004 killing of one of the victims on the cards, Thomas Wayne Grammer.

Other law enforcement agencies have caught on. Authorities in San Diego, Kansas City, Mo., and Odessa, Texas, are among those who have created their own decks, and Ray said he has gotten inquiries from as far away as Australia.

For the state program, authorities printed 85,000 decks featuring the first 52 cases, and started handing them out Tuesday to inmates at Wakulla Correctional Institution in the Panhandle town of Crawfordville. In a few weeks, 15,000 decks with 52 different cases will be distributed.

The King of Spades in one deck is Tiffany Sessions, a 20-year-old University of Florida sophomore who disappeared on Feb. 9, 1989. The Queen of Diamonds in that deck is 12-year-old Jennifer Odom, a Pasco County girl whose body was found on Feb. 25, 1993, six days after she disappeared.

Sessions' card features her smiling face. Odom's card has a picture of a sweat shirt and her book bag because authorities didn't want to give the state's sex offenders pictures of children.

The state attorney general's Crime Stoppers Fund is paying the $75,000 cost of the program — about $68,000 to produce the cards and $7,000 for rewards, an agency spokeswoman said. The Polk County deck was produced with help from the local Crime Stoppers program.


Maritime Missy

Posted - 9/16/2007 07:32:00 AM  


**Sharron Prior website said...
This Missy is something that i have wanted to do for a long time. I have emailed a few people asking how to go about it? Haven't received too many replies as of yet!. But I did email

General Inquiries
Bureau du sous-ministre
Ministère de la Sécurité publique

Doreen prior

**Maritime Missy said...
Doreen...Great to hear that you've already got the ball rolling on this one. Maybe these people could help champion the cause:

- Stockwell Day, Minister, Correctional Service of Canada
- Your MP
- Ombudsman for Canada's Victim Services
- the media

Let me know how you're making out on this project. I really do think it's worthwhile.



Lost Evidence = Long Shot??

"The best advice I can give though, for people who are looking for evidence: be persistent and be creative. Many times I was told something was lost, and it was later found by simply looking everywhere." 
--Stacy Horn, The Restless Sleep

As everyone who reads this blog knows, much of the evidence from Theresa's case has been lost. We're not sure if it was thrown out or misplaced. There is a slim possibility that the evidence could be languishing in a box in the basement of some property warehouse. If so, then efforts will probably be made to locate it. This could take awhile.

In the meantime, I've compiled a few excerpts from Stacy Horn's book that explains how evidence is stored/processed, and why evidence was often destroyed or lost in New York City. I'm sure NYC's problems are symptomatic of most other jurisdictions throughout North America:

-- The people at the Property Clerk may have figured, what’s the point? The chances of solving a cold case even as little as a few years after it happened are slim. Before DNA became a serious factor in clearing cases, they must have really believed there was no point in holding onto evidence. Few detectives came back for anything from these older cases. Plus, there are storage issues.

-- When someone is murdered in New York, the first thing a detective does with the evidence is go to the precinct to see the Property Officer, who will give the detective vouchers with serial numbers for each piece or group of evidence. The voucher lists each object and describes it as either investigatory (needs tests), property (needs to be stored), or arrest (will be needed for court). Belongings of the victim that do not require testing are left with the Property Officer. From there it will either go to the Property Clerk’s office in that borough, or to one of four large Property Clerk warehouses located around the city."

--...the new controls that were effectively applied to drugs and money were not applied to evidence from homicides until the 1990’s. No one was trying to walk off with old bloodstained shirts. They weren’t particularly interested in saving them either. If Tommy Wray [a cold case detective] needs old evidence for further examination or testing or for an appearance in court, he has to get the storage numbers from the Property Clerk or the Police Lab, and then go down to the warehouses himself to get it. That’s when his problems begin.

"First, was the evidence ever really stored there in the first place? A retired detective described what it was like at the Property Clerk’s in a 1972 New York Times article. “You can walk into that office and you have to wait with maybe 50 or 60 other guys in order to get to a little window and take out evidence or return it.” It wasn’t worth the trouble. If the evidence was important, they held onto it, he said. I recently stood with Steve Kaplan at the Property Clerk window in Manhattan and waited. Nothing has changed. We stood for two hours, unacknowledged. When I argued that we should complain Kaplan said, “Then we would wait forever.” 

Next, even if the evidence was stored there, did the Property Clerk save it or throw it out? “I saw a guy in there with a pitchfork, throwing old evidence out into a dumpster,” one Cold Case detective remembers. It’s difficult to find evidence from cases earlier than 1990. “Whenever they can’t find something they always give one of the same three excuses,” one frustrated detective said. “The fire, flood or the move.” 

--The warehouses look like that final shot of Raiders of the Lost Ark, when they are putting away the Ark of the Covenant, amongst endless stacks of wooden crates.

--The inventory and storage operations at the warehouses are crude. They don’t use computers. They’ve got pens and logbooks and file cabinets. If there’s anything on a computer it’s because an individual who knows the software program Excel took it upon himself to put it there for his use alone.

--“Find it yourself,” the officer at the Property Clerk’s warehouse told Wendell Stradford and his partner Carl Harrison (aka Chuck), when they came looking for evidence from a 1988 case where a nine-year-old girl and her mother were raped and murdered. Harrison had just picked up the case and was trying to track down about a dozen Property Clerk vouchers. He called the Property Clerk two or three times a day for a month asking about them. They finally gave him some storage numbers and told him he’d have to find the rest himself. Chuck was most interested in a vaginal swab that had been taken from the little girl. According to a piece of paper in the case folder, there was a possibility that the vaginal swab was at a private DNA lab in Maryland called Cellmark Diagnostics. The people at Cellmark told Chuck that they had extracted DNA from the swab and sent it back to the Police Lab in small tubes. The Police Lab said they sent them back to Property Clerk. Chuck and Wendell went back to the Property Clerk and looked themselves. No tubes. They went through the Police Lab logs books for that week looking for a clue. Then they found the answer. The Lab was supposed to send the evidence back to the Bronx Property Clerk, but they gave the package a Manhattan storage number. It never got to the Bronx. Chuck and Wendell found the tubes sitting in a box at the Manhattan Property Clerk. They took them to the OCME and got a hit. They now have a new suspect. 

--The ME’s office stores samples when they conduct serological tests, and they have a warehouse, too.


Maritime Missy

Posted 9/18/2007 11:04:00 AM 


**M said...
I have to say that the 'find it yourself' left me perplex a bit, but did not surprise me at all..

Anybody in the force-city,provincial or rcmp- and even the lab workers or carriers and even lawers-if they go there to take a look at the proof, i'm not sure they have the right //do they?// So almost anybody could have toke it..
And, by reading the rest i would say it can be anywhere in a lost box.. at someone place/wherever or really destroyed..
Nothing's comes easy!

**Maritime Missy said...
You're right M. Nothing of value ever comes easy!!


I hear crickets.

I see tumbleweed.

It sort of feels like a ghost town in here! I checked the site statistics and even though we're getting a lot of people reading the blog...we're not receiving very many comments/feedback. 

Could the following reasons have anything to do with it? (Don't won't offend me with your answers!)

1. My blog entries are too long.
2. The new format of the comments form is confusing/intimidating.
3. My blog topics aren't interesting.
4. There's no reason to comment because I've said it all in the post.
If you have any ideas for blog topics or questions, please don't be shy! Send them along via email ( or leave a comment. (It's easy to do. Trust me!)


Maritime Missy

Posted - 9/19/2007 12:54:00 PM 


**Sharron Prior website said...
Hi my your posts are fine...very interesting reading. The topics that are chosen really hit home...I guess I'm just one of those readers who would just love to see Theresa's murder (Yes Murder) solved! it frustrates me..I wish that I could do more
I wish that the farmer could be spoken to face to face to answer questions...

There are days that I would like to say sooo much, but cannot..and the past two days for me I'm just not able to.

But Missy! you are doing great!..Keep the posts comming.

sometimes when I look at Sharrons site..and I feel like giving up...but She is pushing me...and letting me know just to sit back re-group...and fight the fight.

**Anonymous said...
Yes Missy, I agree with Doreen (and Moreen), you are doing a GREAT job! I posted this on one of the comment sections that vanished. I had been away and when I returned I was amazed at the number of topics you covered and the quality of the posts.

I am also here for the long hawl, so even if you don't hear from me, it's only because of lack of time. But also, seeing as you asked, some of your posts are pretty well 'as is' and don't necessarily need comments but I guess the feedback you would like from time to time is that you are on the 'right track' and I, for one, think that you are doing John (and Theresa) and great service.


**Maritime Missy said...
Thank you Doreen and Anon! I was worried that perhaps my posts were too long and I was boring people. 

I'm really grateful that you two have stuck with this blog for as long as you have. You're a good "barometer" of what people think "out there" and generate excellent discussions to help keep the momentum going. 

Doreen...I know that some days you probably feel that your blog isn't making an impact but you just never know who's reading it. It only takes one person to stumble across it and start a productive chain of events in Sharron's case.

That's what I'm hoping happens here!

**Anonymous said...
Ditto! I agree with Anon and the Priors. I am always here but sometimes I don't have anything to say so I listen and learn. Please let us not give up the fight for Theresa, Sharron or ourselves. Excellent work Missy, keep it up. 


**Maritime Missy said...
Queenie...thank you. It's people like you who motivate me to keep on digging! One of these days, we might be able to type the word "SOLVED"!!

**Bill Widman said...
Hey Missy - I agree with those above. It's not you. It's people. Getting people to respond can be frustrating. I go through this daily, wondering what's up with everyone out there. The thing to remember is just because they aren't responding doesn't mean they aren't reading. That's what Site Meter is for. 
Keep up the good work!

**John Allore said...
Oh quit being a big baby... Your posts are fine, we just don't always have the time to coment.

I felt like this many-a-time


**Maritime Missy said...
Bill...I wouldn't say I'm frustrated. I just wanted to make sure that my posts were "on the mark". It's easy for me to prattle on about something I think is important... but if it's not resonating with the readers...I would change tactics. I want to involve people in a discussion...not lecture them if you know what I mean.

**Maritime Missy said...
John...always good to hear from you too...even though it sounds like you missed your nap time.

**Doreen Prior said...
ahhh..But missy! Don't you know that "cold case" detectives Don't nap? lolol
I wanted to add a little "WINK"

Doreen prior

**Maritime Missy said...
LOL Doreen. Right again you are!

**Holly said...
Great job being done. Take care



No truer words spoken.

"...If you know something and you keep your mouth shut ... you're just as guilty as the person that did it."
-- Evelyn Safe, sister of Buffalo murder victim


Buffalo's Cold Case Squad being hailed as heroes by sister of murder victim

In a small office inside Buffalo Police Headquarters, Buffalo's Cold Case Detectives take on big cases. They're a team of people who helped convict Altemio Sanchez - - the Bike Path Rapist and Killer and helped exonerate Anthony Capozzi.

Now though, with murder charges against a man named Dennis Donohue, there's another local family with praise for Buffalo Detectives.

A mother of three, strangled to death and found inside her South Buffalo home - - September, 1993. Joan Giambra's body - - brought out in broad daylight.

It's a day that haunts Giambra's sister - - Evelyn Safe. "

Lately - - the past year - - I've been thinking about it every single day."

And Buffalo's Cold Case Squad's been thinking a lot about Joan Giambra's case too. Hard work by detectives and DNA did it again.

Dennis Donohue - - whose identity is still not being revealed - - charged now, with Giambra's murder. There's also the potential that Donohue may be responsible for two other murders in Western New York.

Safe said, "That just boggles my mind. It boggles my mind. I've said in the past - - if you know something and you keep your mouth shut ... you're just as guilty as the person that did it."

For more than a decade, answers had been few and far between for the family of Joan Giambra - -one of 17 sisters and brothers. Safe said, "Yes. We've been waiting a long time. And I'll tell you if it wasn't for Dennis Delano and the cold case squad - - I don't think it would've happened. Dennis Delano and them guys and gals - - they're like hound dogs. They take a bite out of something and they don't let go until they get to the truth. And that's a warning for anybody else out there."

Buffalo's Cold Case Squad has been working on old cases since March 2006. So far they've been very successful.


If you have information that could help solve Theresa's case, step up to the plate. Be a hero. Email or Your information will be treated with the utmost discretion.

Maritime Missy

Posted - 9/20/2007 09:56:00 AM 

1 comment:

**Anonymous said...
Great post! and "No Truer Words"




Corresponding for a confession

Inmates can prove to be a valuable source of information on cold case crimes. Various law enforcement agencies have already started to tap this resource through initiatives like the Cold Case Playing Cards in Florida. (see Sept. 16, 2007, blog entry.)

If details of Theresa's case prompted tips and leads from the prison population, what next? Lots of interviews probably.

But what if the tips pointed specifically to another incarcerated individual? How would you get that person to confess?

The "Apple Dumpling Gang", two retired lawmen and a newspaper publisher, managed to coax an inmate to confess to several murders through writing letters over a five-year period. They had the time, skill and dedication to cultivate a "relationship" with the suspect and their efforts paid off.

To read more about this volunteer band of detectives, click here:

Can we identify a few incarcerated suspects in Theresa's case and either eliminate them or confirm their involvement the same way?

One caveat though...jailhouse confessions may not be reliable. Their motives for confessing may not be altruistic so it would take a skilled interrogator to ensure the legal process wasn't compromised. get tips, leads or confessions from inmates, you might also have to determine what they want in exchange for that information. Can the justice system come up with acceptable "plea agreements" to get them to talk (e.g., cash rewards, transfers to jails closer to their homes, additional prison privileges, etc.) and then publicize those offers within the prison population and let the inmates know that Quebec is willing to "deal" for legitimate leads?

North Dakota managed to get a confession from William See Walker on a 25-year-old murder of a university student through a plea agreement.


Maritime Missy

Posted - 9/22/2007 11:43:00 AM 


**Holly said...
Good Post Maritime Missy

**Bill Widman said...
Wow! What a story! It gives me hope.



Ante up

I've always wondered how successful programs are that offer cash rewards for anonymous tips. According to Wikipedia, Crimestoppers, which was started in New Mexico in 1976, has solved more than 1,000,000 cases and resulted in more than 500,000 arrests.

Minnesota has a similar program called "Spotlight on Crime".

Spotlight on Crime is a unique public-private partnership between Minnesota's business community and the state's crime fighters. It focuses on crimes that remain unsolved after investigative efforts have been exhausted. Only violent crimes against innocent victims are considered.

According to the program's website (, "the concept of reward programs in Minnesota to help crime fighters solve cases is not new. However, none of these existing programs has Spotlight on Crime's long-term public-private commitment, a focus solely on violent crimes such as homicides or abductions, the level of funding and the amount of money offered as rewards."

Some of the companies involved in Minnesota's Spotlight on Crime include some pretty big names like Target, Wal-Mart, General Mills and some banks. The donations are tax-deductible.

Since June 2001, more than $1 million has been offered in 21 Spotlight on Crime cases. Five of those cases have been solved and charges have been laid in a sixth. Those are pretty good statistics for cold case resolutions.

I think the time has come to establish a fund to be able to offer a significant cash reward in Theresa's case.

The announcement of such a fund for Theresa Allore is yet another way to renew interest in the case and hopefully, motivate a few people to come forward with valuable tips. (With all the recent stories of crimes against women on Canadian campuses, it's as good a time as any to get one started.)

Of course, we would need somebody to champion this cause. Any takers?


Maritime Missy

Posted - 9/23/2007 08:59:00 PM



Are you listening?

I read a lot and every once in awhile, I come across a quote that resonates with me. These ones I found particularly relevant to this blog:

"Take no comfort or solace that you're not in jail yet - that day is coming."
-- North Port (Florida) Police Chief, Terry Lewis

“We’re always just one phone call away from solving this case.”
-- Westwood (Kansas) Police Lieutenant Dan Brewster

"Someone out there is living with a secret."
--Lt. David Waltemeyer, assistant commander of the criminal investigations division for the Anne Arundel County Police Department, Maryland

"There are plenty of well-meaning "snitches" out there; they just want to make sure snitching isn't hazardous to their health."
--Eugene Kane, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


Maritime Missy

Posted - 9/26/2007 12:46:00 AM 


**Anonymous said...
MM, you've done it again. When John was blogmeister, you would post some great comments and equally great quotes.

It's funny, I too have been reading something relevant to the case and taking note of some quotes that I was going to send you to post on the blog. Dare I say, great minds...?


**Maritime Missy said...
ANON...Send along your quotes! I'll add them to my list or incorporate them into the blog. 

(I see you've gotten the hang of posting in this new comments form. Congratulations!)



The Dirt on Forensic Palynology

[Photo: Bushes on the opposite side of the bridge on Compton Road where Theresa was found.]

Doreen Prior sent me an interesting article on forensic palynology. It’s a big word that basically means using pollen and spores as evidence for legal purposes.

Apparently, the country of New Zealand leads the world in the use of forensic palynology, and the acceptance of this type of evidence in courts of law.

So how can pollen and dirt solve crimes?

The following are excerpts I’ve edited/summarized from the article:

Let’s say a suspect was hiding out in the bushes before assaulting a victim. Forensic pollen evidence from flowers or leaves in the bushes may have been attached to the suspect’s clothing. If the clothing that the suspect wore on the night of the crime were examined, it might have contained certain types of pollen that the prosecution could have used to link the suspect to the scene of the crime. If the examination revealed no pollen, that evidence could have been used by the defense to argue that the defendant was not at the scene of the crime.

In the article, it gives the example of a case in Austria where the discovery of the murdered victim's body, and the conviction of the criminal were based primarily on the evidence recovered from a pollen sample associated with the crime. During a vacation along the Danube River, a man disappeared near Vienna, but his body could not be found. The police soon found a suspect with a motive for killing the missing person, but had no evidence to link the person with the possible crime. Without a confession or a body, the prosecutor's case seemed hopeless.

As the investigation proceeded, a search of the suspect's room revealed a pair of boots with mud still attached to the soles. These were taken as evidence and given to a geologist for analysis. The mud was examined and found that it contained modern spruce, willow, and alder pollen. In addition, there was a special type of 20 million-year-old, Miocene-age fossil hickory pollen grain present in the mud.

Based on the pollen evidence, the geologist was able to pinpoint where the defendant must have walked while getting mud on his boots. Only one location, a small area 20 kms north of Vienna along the Danube Valley, had soils that contained the precise mixture of pollen found in the boots' mud. When confronted with the identity of this location, the shocked defendant confessed his crime and showed the authorities where he had killed the victim and then buried the body, both of which occurred in the precise region pinpointed by the geologist.

For more on this fascinating branch of forensic science, visit:


Maritime Missy

Posted by - at 9/26/2007 10:59:00 PM 


**John Allore said...

Have you considered a new profession? Cause your ideas are about 20 years ahead of investicative techniques in Canada.


**Anonymous said...
Great post MM - Really interesting stuff that plant science, and insects too. I've seen documentaries where people were caught using these methods.


**Maritime said...
I haven't considered another profession but the more I read about the justice and law enforcement community, the more I believe they need some enterprising, creative, and caring individuals. I'm working on another blog piece to prove just how much they need to improve the way they work. The status quo is just not acceptable.

**Maritime Missy said...
Oops...that last comment was from me but this form left off the last part of my identity.

**Anonymous said...
by the way - any luck digging up those lost comments from blogs past? they really are quite important to this site...


**John Allore said...
Allow me to make this clear to everybody.

I can no longer dig up anything, like a bad penny I have given that up.

If it is not important to me, than it has no importance.




Investigating a police force...

Question: It's bad enough to have one lazy, incompetent cop on a police force...but what happens when an ENTIRE police department is deemed to be inept?

Answer: Cold cases don't get solved.

In 2005, the Harvey Police Department in Cook County, Illinois didn't solve any of its nine homicides.

There were also 36 federal lawsuits against the department.

In January 2006, state police and the attorney's office raided the Harvey Police Department and discovered that nearly 200 rape kits found in the evidence vault were never sent to the state crime lab. They also had dozens of homicides on the books.

The task force seized records and evidence related to unsolved murders and other violent crimes, and now investigators are examining unsolved cases going back a decade.

After the raid, murder charges were laid in one homicide that was a year old. On September 25, 2007, indictments were announced in two more cold case murders stemming from the same raid.

Of course, the police department blames chronic understaffing and political influence for their poor track record. (It couldn't be their own incompetence and corruption could it?)

In addition to the police having possible gang ties, the state's lawmakers also say the department hired officers with questionable backgrounds. In fact, one of the city's police officers was actually a plumber by trade who happened to be the mayor's brother.

When members of the state's task force told a victim's mother they were investigating her son's murder, she cried. "With Harvey, year after year, I'd call them and say, you know, 'I'd like to know what you're doing with my son's case.' And they never had any information for me. I thought they would never solve it. I thought it was a cold, cold case."

To read more about Harvey's "finest", visit,1,2175776.story?track=rss&ctrack=3&cset=true,jun18_06.article


Maritime Missy

Posted - 9/29/2007 10:17:00 AM 

1 comment:

**Anonymous said...
An interesting book about the 'Blue Code of Silence' written by retired police officer, Michael. W. Quinn, "Walking With The Devil" subtitled: What Bad Cops Don't Want You To Know and Good Cops Won't Tell You.




The Impact of Lost Evidence...

"No one will ever be punished for losing all the evidence in my husband's murder?" asks Judith Rosenfeld. "How can that be?"

These excerpts are from an article in the Denver Post:

...Aside from hurting post-conviction innocence claims, lost evidence has crippled investigations long before they can reach trials, in instances that include unsolved murders, vehicular homicides and missing- person cases where slayings are suspected.

"It's painful because losing evidence can all but erase the ability to prosecute," said Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden. "Anymore, it's hard enough to get a conviction with evidence."

...Twenty-eight years after the slaying of filmmaker Morton Rosenfeld, the key suspect is effectively untouchable because of a paperwork mistake that prompted the destruction of evidence. And the victim's surviving family remains suspended in emotional limbo, haunted by the knowledge that his killer still walks free.

...It wasn't until 2002 that Rosenfeld's family, curious about the status of the case, was told that the evidence had been thrown out during a 1983 storage-room cleanup. The destruction log notes that it was authorized by the Larimer district attorney's office. The former district attorney calls it a paperwork mistake because his staff never condoned scrapping evidence in homicide cases.

"Nobody had told us a thing," said Judith Rosenfeld, adding that she felt her family should have been notified.

..."Without physical evidence, we couldn't bring a case," Alderden said. "Besides, we've got hot cases we need to work. We have to ask ourselves, what is the solvability factor of a case?"

...Another case handled by the Larimer County sheriff's office, the 1973 shooting death of Carmina Anderson near Bellvue, posed similar complications.

By that time, however, Larimer investigators discovered that the physical evidence - including the weapon, a blood-stained rug and other pieces - had disappeared, apparently disposed of following the initial inquest.

They agreed to reopen it, and were actually successful in coaxing Anderson to admit guilt, they said.

But the evidence loss forced them to settle for a plea deal. His attorneys argued that the evidence destruction created an "insurmountable" prejudice against him. The result: he got just a year behind bars for manslaughter.

"Justice just wasn't served," Cappeli said. "Even the judge knew that and apologized to me for the way the case was handled."

If her case helps magnify the need for a strong evidence-preservation law, some good can come out of her own investigation, Capelli said.

...While state statutes and regulations do not create a duty to preserve evidence, leaving such decisions to the courts, authorities also aren't required to report what they lose or destroy. A similar trend exists nationwide, where The Denver Post found 110 homicide cases, largely through attorneys' tips, affected by lost biological evidence.

...While some losses go unexplained, evidence problems often can be traced to overcrowded evidence rooms and poor tracking. A national survey by Washington State University showed that more than 70 percent of police departments face critical storage problems.

Alderden, the Larimer sheriff, says he's currently leasing extra storage lockers to capture the overflow of evidence and case documents. From his decades-long experience in law enforcement, "space is a problem everywhere" in the state.

Lawmakers such as state Rep. Cheri Jahn of Wheat Ridge want to explore possibly building centralized storage facilities to alleviate crowded conditions in local jurisdictions - a suggestion brought to her by some officers during a recent gathering of the Northeast Colorado Peace Officers Association.

Canada also doesn't have a national mandated policy for retention of evidence. The RCMP has its own policy--they don't destroy evidence in murder investigations--ever. But it's up to the provincial police forces to create and enforce their own policies. (See John's August 8, 2007, blog entry for more details.)

Maybe Canada's ombudsman can put Rules of Evidence Retention on the agenda of any policing association conferences?? Maybe we can get our own lawmakers to introduce a bill in the Parliament?


Maritime Missy

Posted - 10/01/2007 02:52:00 PM 


**Anonymous said...
It leaves you with the feeling that, if the storing and tracking of evidence and rules of retention don't matter, one almost feels like asking "why bother taking it in the first place?", if it isn't going to be regarded as something valuable, to be kept track of, and more importantly, kept.


**Maritime Missy said...
I agree with you anonymous.

I'm not a detective...but I keep paperwork for years just on insignificant office projects. If I were involved on a homicide investigation, you better believe I'd keep close tabs on evidence. It wouldn't even occur to me to throw it out. Ever.



Similar crime, different investigation...

Even though the woman in the following story was killed in England five years ago, the police in this investigation thought it important to locate her missing clothes. (Like Theresa, Ms. Olivais was found partially nude from the waist down in a river.)

I bet if the detectives in Norfolk received a tip of women's clothing being found in the vicinity, they wouldn't have waited a week or two to follow up on it.

Monday, 29 April, 2002, 17:44 GMT 18:44 UK
Strangled woman was asylum seeker

A female asylum seeker whose body was found in a river had been strangled, according to police.

Domingas Silva Olivais's body was discovered in the River Bure, at Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, (England) on Sunday.

The 30-year-old, who worked as a cleaner at an Asda store in the town, arrived in Britain from West Africa two years ago.

A holidaymaker found her partially-clothed body in the river near the Stracey Arms.

Police said the woman had an eight-year-old daughter.

She was last seen alive outside the Asda supermarket in the town on Saturday at about 2200 BST.

A post-mortem examination revealed that she had been strangled.

Detective Inspector Steve Strong, who is leading the murder investigation, said his officers were looking for the woman's clothes which were missing from the waist downwards when the body was discovered. 

However, police say there is no evidence that she had been sexually assaulted.

Police divers are carrying out a search of the area where she was found.


Maritime Missy

Posted - 10/04/2007 01:13:00 AM



No longer forward nor behind

I look in hope or fear;

But, grateful, take the good I find,

The best of now and here.

- John Greenleaf Whittier

Today is Thanksgiving Day in Canada. It may surprise you to know that Canada's first Thanksgiving dates back to 1578 when Martin Frobisher gave thanks (in what is now Newfoundland and Labrador) for surviving the long journey to discover a northern passage to the Orient.

I hope this Thanksgiving finds you in the comfort of family and friends. They make a long journey easier to make.


Maritime Missy

Posted by - at 10/08/2007 12:11:00 AM 


**M said...
Canoé is doing a week of special report about the Pouliot.. here's the link..

**Bill Widman said...
Thanks Missy!- I like this.
I didn't know they had Thanksgiving in Canada. I learned something new from you today.

**Maritime Missy said...
M...Thank you very much for that link. French isn't my first language so it will probably take me twice as long to read it. just never know what you might learn via this blog. Eighteen months ago, I was rather proud of our law enforcement/justice system. Now...I'm a lot more realistic.

**Sharron Prior website said...
Thanks Missy for you Thanksgiving wishes..

**Sharron Prior website said...

**Anonymous said...
Hi Doreen, thanks for the translated version, very helpful. There appears to be several more articles written on this story, can you send the translated links too, please?


**Sharron Prior website said...
Hi Missy, I have sent the translation to you.

**Sharron Prior website said...
sorry anon.. what I usually use is the google translation..It works for me..hopefully it it is helpful

I'm not the best in French either...lolol



Got a Tip?

Anon sent me an email this weekend on the subject of leaving an anonymous tip. To be honest, I hadn't really thought about the logistics of reporting information if someone wished to keep their identity secret.

If you have information that might be helpful in Theresa Allore's case but don't want to leave your name, you can always talk to a lawyer or religous leader (e.g., clergy) can contact one of these organizations listed below. They promise to protect your anonymity.

Crime Stoppers International 
Corporate Office
P.O. Box 1219 Keewatin, ON
Tel: 1.800.850.7574 (U.S. and Canada)
Tel: 905 951 4806 (Outside U.S. and Canada)

InfoCrime Quebec

Surete du Quebec

If anyone else has ideas on how to submit an anonymous tip, let me know! If you have a tip, try one of these options. We'll be glad you did...and so will your conscience!


Maritime Missy

Posted - 10/08/2007 11:20:00 PM 


**Anonymous said...
and, as in my case, (already two and a half years ago, imagine), DON'T ASSUME THAT THE MESSAGE YOU LEFT, GOT TO THE RIGHT PERSON IF YOU CALLED THE POLICE YOURSELF. Follow up to make sure. I guess this applies more to people like myself who were not trying to stay anonymous when contacting the police with a possible lead.


**Anonymous said...
If anyone knows anything, please come forward. You must come forward and tell this family if you know something that can help close this 29 year old case. What if it were you? Wouldn't you want someone, anyone to come forward. Do the right thing. Don't go through the rest of your life wishing you would have been smart enough or strong enough to do something when you had the chance to. If you do it for no other it because you know it's the right thing to do.




Royal Commissions, Boards of Inquiry... all that stuff

Missy recently asked me if I was still considering doing a PhD on the Poitras Commission. Well, it's been in the back of my mind, but I'm still too focused on finishing my Masters in the Spring. Then I'll think about what comes next.

I must admit, though I do have an interest in the Poitras Report, but only as an element of broader research into the effectiveness of all public inquiries - this is the only topic I have come up with that I feel compelled enough to dedicate another 4 - 5 years of scholarship (plus my mom would like to call me Dr. Allore).

Last night, in my Organizational Behavior class, we had to do sort of mock presentations on the NASA Challenger disaster. The setup was that we were sort of a board of inquiry, and we had to make recommendations to Congress of what should be done to prevent another "Challenger" (suspend disbelief for a second and forget that there was a board of inquiry - the Rogers Commission - and NASA ignored most of their recommendations which lead to Columbia.

What surprised me were the recommendations; almost everyone thought that a separate oversight entity should be but in place to watchdog NASA - kinda what Poitras recommended for the SQ, but the government ignored that too.

My question was - and is - why have these oversight units become the solution-de-jour for practically every government screw-up in the past 20 years? Have they ever accomplished anything except to throw money at a problem? What ever happened to entities being responsible and exercising good judgement? And those aren't rhetorical questions, I'm genuinely intriqued by the answers.

I received in the mail today the English summary and recommendations of the Poitras Commission (I have read thru the French version, and contrary to myth it can be purchased through Publications Quebec). I think the sub-title of the summary speaks for itself:

Toward A Police At The Service Of Integrity And Justice

Toward? You mean we're not there yet? We need remedial action for the Police in order to get there? And if you don't implement the recommendations - take a close look at the SQ's Stratigic Plans for the past 10 years and it's clear that they never paid anything but lip service to the Commission's recommendations - then where does that leave public safety in the Province of Quebec?

You reap what you sow.


On a side note: As I have told Missy, I think she is doing a wonderful job; far more focused and coherent than I was able to manage. I have no regrets giving this up, and love how the blog has developed.

But I reserve the right to come back and comment on any subject of my choosing. :-D



Having finished the Poitras summary, I have to make a correction. Originally I had only read the S

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