Monday, June 29, 2015

Mission Murder

On January 28, 1973, a 14-year-old boy, David Watson, and his two younger sisters were searching for bottles beside the Cade Barr Road in Mission, BC. What they found was the body of a dead girl. The youngsters ran as fast as they could to the General Store - which was owned by their father - and told him about their find. The elder Watson called the R.C.M.P.

Corporal Bomba of the Mission Detachment of the R.C.M.P. went to where the children had found the body. There he found the corpse of a young woman, approximately 20 years old. She was fully clothed and didn't not appear to have been sexually molested. The only signs of injury were bruises on her face and neck. There was no identification on the body - only a business card  for a Vancouver Cab Company. Her face and hands were covered with a white, paste-like substance later found to be garden lime. Was this an attempt to destroy the young woman's identity?

Photographs were taken of the body and then it was removed to the morgue. An autopsy was performed by Dr. Sturrock the next day and it was determined the cause of death was suffocation.  A wad of tissue was in the girl's mouth and another, heavily bloodstained, was in her blouse.

The lime caused third-degree burns on the face and the decomposition suggested death  had occurred days prior to the body being found.

The murder had taken place elsewhere and the children found a body, which had been dumped from a vehicle than rolled into the gully. The R.C.M.P. supplied the media with a description of the victim. Following the news broadcast, four young boys turned in a flight bag containing women's clothing. The boys had found the bag in the bushes beside a railroad track. That location was two miles from where the body was found.

On January 31, the victim was identified as Kathleen Mary McKenzie. Her parents identified the body and the police later confirmed the identity through fingerprint comparison.

Kathleen was in fact 20-years-old and she was living in a basement suite with a young couple Ivan Horvat and Dorothy Irish at 2679 Adanac Street.

February 1, 1973, R.C.M.P. officers went to the Adanac address and spoke with the landlord, Mr. Gobler. Gobler told the officers the suite was rented to Kathy McKenzie on December 30, 1972. Just after the first of the year, a couple - Horvat and Irish - moved in with McKenzie. The landlord had last seen McKenzie in mid-January and the other two had moved out on January 31. They left no forwarding address.

The suite was little more than a cupboard below the front steps of the house and was used as a wine cellar by a previous tenant. When the R.C.M.P. examined it, they found a few personal belongings of Kathleen McKenzie and furniture.

The above information is from the book Policebeat: 24 Vancouver Murders by Joe Swan. Thank you.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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