« True Murder: The Most Shocking Killers

# 11-Through The Valley of the Shadow: The Search for the Abbotsford Killer

2010-03-24 | 🔗
For half a year, the man who came to be known as the Abbotsford killer terrorized the valley community.On Friday, Oct. 13, 1995, two teenage girls - Tanya Smith, 16, and Misty Cockerill, 15 - were attacked by Terry Driver in the heart of the city. Smith's body was found near the Vedder Canal. Driver had clubbed Cockerill seven times in the head with a baseball bat, but she managed to get to the nearby hospital to tell her story.The case was a bizarre cat and mouse game; the murderer taunted the public and the police by dumping a gravestone on a vehicle at a local radio station. The killer would call the station and police from local phone booths, saying he would kill again. People, women and girls in particular, deserted the streets at dusk, too afraid to be out on their own.Dozens of Abbotsford Police officers worked with the RCMP, tracking down the suspect.The case broke when two things happened: investigators found a complete fingerprint on an envelope that was with an item Driver had thrown into a window. The second was when Driver's own mother recognized his voice on tapes the police made public.Rod Gehl, a retired Abbotsford police inspector who took the first call from Driver back in 1995, will discuss his book on the case, called, THROUGH THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW: The Search for the Abbotsford Killer-Rod Gehl
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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Oh baby. You are now listening to true murder, the most shocking killers in true crime, history and the authors that have written about him. Gacy Bundy Dahmer, the night stalker did he came every week. Another fascinating offer talking about the most shocking, an infamous killer, who crime history through murder. With your host journalist, Ann Arbor, Dan, asking. Good evening this is your whole stands of asking for the programme to murder the most shocking killers. True crime, history and the authors have written above them on Friday, the 13th of October, one thousand nine hundred and ninety five asexual,
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the story of a man hunt for the abbots for killer for seven months inspector, oh and members of the homicide task force, found themselves drawn into a bizarre game of cat and mouse, as the other four killer made. Taunting phone calls sent messages talking about his actions, even basically the victims gravestone and threatened to kill again would they catch the, but before he struck again for them, we would like chasing a shadow for the communities involved. The abbots for killer was truly the shadow of death row, Gala retired abbottsford police inspector, who took the very first phone call from the killer back in one thousand nine hundred, and ninety five is here to disk. His book on the case through the valley of the shadow, the search for the average for killer welcome to the program. Thank you very much for agreeing to this interview. Rod, Gail, oh effects down thanks for having me really opportunity to explore.
The book? Well, thank you very much and I think your audience the audience tonight will really appreciate this story. It's not as well known as some of the others, but Definitely one of the more incredible stories. I've ever heard very, very interesting story. Now you are a retired inspector. Like I introduced you, so maybe you can give us a little bit on your background, especially as a police officer in homicide. How long had you worked investigating murder and give us a little bit on your background because I think it well. Obviously it is a very integral part of this story. Sure yeah, I started my career in the actually in the royal Canadian mounted police in nineteen. Seventy one and I retired after thirty six years of service. My last twenty six years of Service Dover with the abbottsford city, police, Nab, Pittsford, British Columbia,
and uh? That's where I did most of my work is a homicide detective. I became involved in plainclothes work and the investigations of major crimes and moved up from there to becoming the person in charge of the plainclothes sections on the homicide unit and when this particular case happened. I was in charge of the plainclothes sections and I was assigned to be in charge of the homicide task force, which turned out to be a group of officers from twelve different police Department's from across the lower mainland of British Columbia and various police departments dedicated personnel to this 'cause. This guy was such a threat to the various
entities here around Vancouver that various police department saw the the need to contribute personnel to help to catch him. So we had a task force of about eighty five police officers from twelve different agencies, working on this case for a period of just about seven months from the time that he first struck to the time that we actually the arrest now tell our audience for those. I don't know a lot of everyone knows where Vancouver British Columbia, but to tell our audience where abbots furred is in relation to the city of Vancouver and how big is absurd and really well kind of community. Is it well actually Abbottsford's? A suburb of the city of Vancouver now is located about forty miles e of the city of Vancouver in what's called the phrase valley. The Fraser River Valley, where the Fraser River flows into the ocean is pretty
where Vancouver is situated and there's a big delta area. That is various communities and abbottsford is one of the communities about thirty miles out. It's a farming community was traditionally First started up by mennonite farmers and that there is a huge dutch men like population of in that area yeah. It's actually known as the Bible Belt, of the lower mainland of British Columbia, 'cause of all churches per capita- and it's very nice to me. Duty to live in. So when I move my family there myself, I really looked at it as being a nice. Safe spot to live, and that was certainly disrupted when this whole business took place back in nineteen. Ninety five with the crimes, so this individual was committed. What year did you move to Abbottsford by the way.
I myself and eighteen. Eighty eighty one from Alberta was in the RCMP in Alberta and moved up to to join the city police force. So you could say was, you say, was a part of the Bible that where they can the Bible belt, so you were saying it would you definitely sought this community? For safety and its in this area, about that, in terms of a great little quiet community to move your family too, it was a lovely little rural and still is so lovely rural community of British Columbia situated in the valley, surrounded by mountains. You have mountain views, even if you're down on the flat Valley partners were surrounded by mountains. Here and I still live in the neighboring community myself, I haven't, haven't moved very far away after I retired because it is a very nice place to live. Now the two most important people in this store Really are are tenure Smith and Misty Cockerel and forty
to prepare the audience for the turn of events here and there to fully explain what goes on it. Could you please tell us, who The Smith was give us a little bit of the background. Sixteen years old, I understand, give us the background of Smith first and then give us just they ve got a background on Mr Kok. Well, if you could to set up the story was actually the background, for very similar there. A couple of they were a couple of local teenage girls that were high school students. They lived in in the city of Abbottsford and best friends. They were hanging out together. They had a large group of friends both very attractive sixteen year old girls and they had a wide circle of friends and and they enjoyed. From their high school and a circle of friends outside of their high school and as a matter of fact, the evening that they were out Friday, the 13th they were
Visiting with friends, they ve been out too my party the busy that they ve gone to lowering the city history, which is a neighbouring community, and they were dead, come back and been dropped off at around midnight. It missed his house and of missed his parents had we're not home and they were supposed to be having a sleep over. So the fatal, capable women take off and go and visit another friend who was still supposed to be having a birthday party, so they they took off and, of course, outside of curfew, hours and stuff like that, but the lasting each people do. Sometimes they took off to overrun and have this visit with these other friends and they were walking on a well lit street in the in the city and the unknown fairly heavily populated area right behind what stone is the Msa Hospital and it's a four lane road sidewalks on both sides and well lighted with street lights, and that's where they are actually accosted by this individual that attack them.
He apparently jumped out of the bushes after these young lady, and he was armed with a baseball bat sound like correct. He was I ve been hiding in the bushes and the raven walking down the street for quite some time, so we speculated that he had seen them got up ahead of them hidden in the bushes and behind some cedar shrubs and when they got up to where he was, he stepped out of the shrubs in front of them and said you bitches wanna Party, and with that he spread his arms and push the two girls through the Bush is to us for a broad, grassy, normal area in behind the cedar hedges, but on the back parking lot of an extended carry unit of hospital, and the unusual part about this was at the little grassy. Knoll area was also fairly well lighted in this back corner of the parking lot with windows looking out onto it
and that's where he actually told the girls to take off their clothes and Daniel complied and Misty did not. And this fellow was going to proceed with sexually assaulting Tanya right there on the spot and wish that he pushed her down onto the ground and he got down on his knees himself. And at that point he put down the baseball bat and that's the point at which Misty did something which was very unusual for a victim to do, because she had the opportunity there with this guy on his knees and then the process of taking down this path that having put down the weapon she could have run away right. But instead she decided she was going to try and save her friend and she picked up the baseball bat Anshe. Let him how. But she gave him a good hard stroke across the back and he was up to his feet in a in a second and he was able to deflect the second blow and catch the baseball bat and that's the point at which he beat.
Both unconscious, and that's that that's where the story becomes a little but easy up to that point. We had a really good version of the story from Misty who had survived this initial attack left. Let us, let's find out what happened there. You say she was. They were both knocked on car This is with a baseball bat and there were several blows that he gave to these women as well, and you say sexually assaulted tenure, Smith, Mister Cockerel, what happened after that. You say she survived, but what happened after that? Well tell you the way it first came to us at the police department. We didn't get the call and tell this this happen shortly after midnight on October 14th early morning of October 14th, so the night of October 13th.
As a matter of fact, just before the girls got to where this guy was standing, there were joking that they're going to run into a crazed killer tonight, because it's Friday, the 13th before they knew it, here's this guy standing in front of them. So it was just like oh my gosh and the next morning, five hundred and thirty. In the morning I received a phone call that woke me up, and it was our duty sergeant saying this girl, I was just staggered into the Msa Hospital, which was the hospital. They were behind. The emergency, ward and she's been badly badly beaten and she's. Saying her friend is still out there in the Bush somewhere and we gotta go find her friend and with that, of course, we dispatched teams of investigators to go to the hospital and to see what we could do see what was going on and one when our investigators arrived there. They found
Misty Cockrel was still sleeping in and out of consciousness, but she was a real fighter. She had significant injuries, broken arms, broken hand, caved in skull and places. A really really a mess, and but she was still able to communicate and trying to trying to get somebody out to save her friend, and she said that they had been attacked by a man with a baseball bat that this guy was so and feet. Tall and initial is even said that she knew his name, oh really yeah it turned out to be, and then at one point she said he was engaged to one of the nurses in the hospital in the emergency ward, so she was having some delusions along with the real stuff. She was trying to tell us so sure we're trying discern what was real and what was not, of course, and as as of we we got into her
are we. We eventually got a hold of her mother. By this time her mom was home and was of course, worried about her. She came out of the hospital and with the use of her diary and her daytimer, we were able to determine that the tan you that she was talking about can you Smith, and by this time we were only at the six seven o clock in the morning and at the same time that this was happening at a river about ten miles outside of arbitrary east of here. Between the cities of Oxford Shallow ACT, the better canal, there was a fishermen as actually a lot of fishermen. There's a salmon run on the river at that time of the year and there's fishermen weighty over the river, and they found the body of Candy Smith floating in them in the river, and now that was formed into the troll accuracy MP, who had officers attending so the Joel accuracy, MP and and officers from the atmosphere police were but the other pretty quick in this case could be connected and though we were able to send a
an officer there with a high school yearbook picture of of Tanya Smith and confirmed that, yes, that was her that was floating in the river and from there the investigation became a joint forces. Homicide investigation between ourselves and the Chilliwack RCMP and they became, our first partners in the investigation now Misty Cockrel was you say it. In the beginning, she was seemed to be diluted with the description of the perpetrators height and that he was involved with the hospital nurse. Was there point where she was lucid and you felt confident that whatever description she gave of the perpetrator, obvious would be quite useful in drawing up a consummate competent drawing. You get her to do that and what was the result of that Komposit drawing in terms of. When was it released or what happened along the way from that point
where she became lucid and she did contribute opposite Roy, what happened from there? Actually, we were because of because of some non the things that she said to us. We actually got an opinion from a doctor. The doctors were telling us well everything that she saw prior to the attack. She should be able to give you a pretty accurate account, so we thought well she's going to be Give us us a picture of this guy, probably so. We had a accomplished artist, work with her and that compositions developed a accomplices drawing and because The data crime- we really sad almost immediately and it was a picture and showed a ban with very, very thinning hair, a large expansive forehead, the wide wide set eyes and ass. Her stringy hair seedy look a sort of an individual in this. This sum she said he was very, very tall,
and so we had this sort of description of them that we did release early on in the case and after that had been released, we also got a phone call that several several weeks later, we got a phone call from an individual who said he was a Komposit artist.
They was? Robert Baxter, an extra had been one of the original Unabomber drawer artists, the women of the who, the drawing of the uniform or, in the first instance right, and he said easier. You was a portrait ours as well as accomplices. He said you know, there's a couple things about the drawing that was done, that he could. He thought he could approve on cause he's a portrait artists, and he says that the facial proportions of that work is a little bit cartoon, like they were all the caricature like as roused to begin in proper dimensions with what normal features Urban II we consider normal features are, so he volunteered come work with missed any dead and she produced another drawing with him as it turned out her drawings. Neither of them ultimately end up matching the individual. We were looking where we will end up arrested in this case, though, and it turned out that her mister, her memory of this person face was skewed inasmuch ass. She could tell it to tell it to accomplish at artist
she ultimately did feel that she had. I do recognise the individual when it came time for the court case, but that was to lay down the road to be of much evidentiary Valerie value. Now, once you have this coppice drawing it, you ve done the two drawings now you're, even more competent, confident that you have as good at it. Evidence as you can to proceed. At least you have a lead. Have this person's face from off from an eye witness now what happens after that, you, obviously what is it. Why, actually we had more evidence and just that we also had had
Topsy done early on in the case, and we were able to determine at the autopsy that there was some little fluid left of the body of tenure spits and we writing it a profile from that, and there is also a bite mark left on the right. Nipple up her breast, which came from the perpetrator and we held that back as hold back evidence is, and nobody would have known about that it was. It was quickly discernible, two persons other than at the autopsy. They re able to see this when they examined her. So we had those two things in our inner case book that were
items that would allow us to hope that the bite mark and idea in April flower very good ever so we use those as part of our era, locker of evidence to to identify suspects or eliminate suspects. But the competent drawing was something that we used to generate Gibson to say, here's what this person might look like and then, as this was proceeding, we no sooner had the dna profile than we got a phone call from an individual and that he said because we were still looking for the location where the attack it actually happened and then phone call. I was the one that actually answered it and he said on a walkway that runs n and south on a grassy knoll behind trees, and I said well: where are you getting this from? He says, wanted to kill her ten years right, nipple, tasted, real
good so as a real shocker of a phone call because of course, he's giving us the whole back evidence and for him to know the significance of a whole back evidence and to give it like that was just who is this person? And you know, where is he? Where is he coming from? How did with this? And so it was. It was very, very shocking and then right after that phone call was received, at least of course sent cars out to that. We traced it to where the phone call it come from and we went to a local park where they had used a phone booth next to a park, and we were dusting for friends prince there and talking to people seeing things I saw anybody phone booth and about an hour after that or an hour and a half after that we received another two phone calls in quick succession and one of them saying: I'll, be driving around looking for someone else. Just in case you wonder who I am or right. Nipple taste is really good and do you think I'd be stupid enough to leave fingerprints behind when I make a phone call
because he saw ass does the footprints, so he was obviously there the area at random. I think for the fingerprints. So this individual suddenly became somebody that went for be. Somebody had committed murder now, somewhere that had committed Bernard was threatening to kill again, was taunting us and was playing a game, Which was very scary because you know sometimes murders happen and they individual becomes scared or remorseful and now come out and admit to it, but this guy was having fun with it. He was enjoying what he done and that we will end up getting psychological profile done on on that aspect of him right away, because we were concerned who does this kind of stuff house? I was going to ask you. I was going to say the I noted that the Arcy MP and even the opium in Ontario have unit like a very similar unit to be ass. You in the FBI, trains officers to be able to do this psychological
criminal profiling. So I was going to ask you when, at what point was it a media that you consulted some of these profiling experts, because it's this year this guy sure fits a a cereal profile, really absolutely, and we did saw with him right away because we were we were concerned. Like you know what kind of work on about individual does this? Of course you want to get the profile psychological profiling. I is done based on the premise that the eleven of interviewed hundreds of of killers and that they use the information that they receive from those people to sort of extrapolate, what their lichen and who they're like one of their characteristics, and so that, then they look for those characteristics in and evidence those characteristics of individuals. And the other able to circulate this guy could be unemployed. Thirty married unmarried, whatever aid, those sorts of things that can give you
a rough idea of what the individual might be like this guy, though, because there aren't that many serial killers that make phone calls. That's not like this. They could not give us a real super, accurate profile of it, but the were able to help us a lot. Profilers were able to give us a lot of assistance because we eventually started using the media to try and manipulate him a little bit to try and catch him. At one point we actually had an investigative strategy. We called operation mousetrap, where we tried to stimulate him to make a phone call 'cause. He was using phone booths to make his phone calls and we wanted to see if we could catch him at a phone booth after making a phone call. So we wanted to simulate a phone call and say something that was stimulated: the phone, but not to go out and kill again. So we wanted to do something that was going to be challenging, but not threatening her or or aggravating to the point where he stood on back with you I'll show you, I'm still around I'll, kill somebody again
so. Where did you? Where did you get the strategy from? Where did it emanate from? Was it from discussions? Was it is sort of a think tank or was it? Was it directly from the think tank on the team? And we talked about you know what kind of things do we do and how can How can we do this and what's the best way to catch? Somebody like this? What is what do you like doing? Where is he exposing himself and we where the biggest opportunity where he stepping out and exposing himself is every time we made a phone call. He created a new opportunity, but when he was making the phone calls his time at the phone booth was so limited, it was and say so? We had to actually develop did you where we could improve on, so we got the local phone company to set us up in a way.
That, when R R9 one one operators got a phone call from a phone booth, A9 one one call from a phone booth, they could see, it was coming from a phone booth which phone booth it was coming from before they'd answered it and they can start a car off dispatched to that location before the answer the phone, so we were able to buy ourselves a few seconds of driving time that way, and then we grid it off every phone booth in the municipality and we had static surveillance points set up so that there was no phone booth that we had to get to. That was more than a minute or two from surveillance point, so we were trying to hedge our bets, and then we ran this media strategy where we tempted him to call again. What did you exactly say? How did you? How did you go about it? the process like. I think it is very interesting that you could get the full cooperation from a newspaper as well wow. That was the usual port, because the media are are not
I always anxious to to help they. They helped out one hundred percent in this one. They could see that it was a threat to their community and they were very anxious to give us a hand too. But what we ask them to do was actually deceptive, because we're going to be doing something that was going to try and promote this guy to talk to do something again. We said you gotta, run this article exactly the way it's written, don't change the wording, because we didn't want them, saying something that would incite this guy to go and kill again right. Just say it the way it is, and then we pick Doctor MIKE Webster, who was a local psych psychologist and MIKE had been asked to comment on these things before, and it appeared that this guy had responded prior to one of my, these comments, so it looked like he'd, be a good guy to deliver the message. What do you mean? Sorry? What do you mean? He had responded to some of his earlier earlier comments,
like one of the phone calls he'd be they come on the heels of comment that, after MIKE, whether to admit a comment in the paper. At one point, I you look at it made another phone call. So the message that was published by making the pay for we was asked by the media. 'cause there's been a long absence of contacts from this individual and he was after you think, he's. What do you think is going on here and he says: well, I think, deep down inside. He knows that every time he makes a phone call he's putting himself in jeopardy of being caught and he's smart enough to know that his survival depends on him not calling- and I think that you know the user fees afraid to all a little bit- and this is making him afraid to Call- and that's what's happened here- is he's, in other words, you're being a little bit of a check and you're, not you're, not making phone calls anymore. 'cause you're scared too, so that was sort of the challenge that was put out to him and
after the challenge was put out. We run surveillance, steady on on the phone booths for a couple three days and no response. He didn't. He didn't make a phone call after that and then a few days later there was our response in as much as there was a theft of the head stone off of Tanya Smith's grave and it was written all over. It was scribbled all over with threats next time misty and that sort of thing she wasn't the first she won't be the last and the head stone was left on the Hood of Radio station vehicle in the middle of a parking lot right next to a restaurant, it's about one hundred and sixty pound. One hundred and eighty pound headstone put on the hood of the
are right. Next to a restaurant, talk about high risk activity, sure nobody saw as well. That's why the book I compare this guy to a shot away because he was he was there. We knew he had been there, but nobody saw you know at the phone booth. Nobody saw so we were started. Thinking he's gotta, be very, very cool too, you know, cook cool operator and very stealthy to be able to do this sort of stuff. Nobody sees him. You know it picks his exact time to make his move doesn't gets update so anyway, he thought as sorry did. He call the radio station and form there, or did he call nine hundred and eleven again and actually not occasion. He never called nine hundred and eleven again after at that point he called the radio station and he says, go look out in the hood of the radio MAX Car and the station operator went out and had looked and saw was the head stone of Tanya Smith and knew what it was right away. 'cause, it always obviously big new.
Our community shirt, so he called out in and we had officers down there and things being investigated in and so on. So it was. It was quite a carry on So what you do with the potential threat to Misty Cockrel? How serious did you and your department take that threaten and as a result, what plans did you put into motion concerning the cargo. That was a big deal for us. It was big deal for Misty too, because she was obviously she was in hospital. She was going surgery on her head? Because she had to have holes drilled in her skull to let the pressure off her brain could she was had internal bleeding and broken arms, and so she was in the house.
Cool for a significant time. In the whole time she was there. She was living witness, only living witness to a homicide, so we had her under armed guard the entire time that she was there and then, when she eventually did come out of hospital. Now we put her entire family into witness protection and she was varied around from one part of the province of BC to the other and hidden away in various play. The solid this person could not get to her. It was. It was quite an ordeal for her and she had the younger sister may I end and your mom and dad and they went through it. They were actually very, very good sports about it, and you know So TAT was to this day and there they are, they still saucy wilder close on the most horrible things they ever had to go through, because of course they were waiting for this person to get caught. What do you ever get caught? When could they come out of hiding a constant threat to their daughter and their whole family actually and
I was able to recover them now. What was your reaction when you you right of beet, this killer any comes out and definitely Efforts are rewarded by this guy contacting you directly I'll, be, albeit but still fuck you. Now what is your reaction? What is your? What is your thought about? The planet you have put ahead. Are you? Are you happy with the success or you? Obviously you gotta pay, these people in Witness protection program. That's unsettling to four. For I cannot describe, and I mean the weather action. Program was unconnected to. It was connected to him, obviously in the threat that he pose, but our communication,
some wouldn't matter one way or the other. We would have had them in witness protection, regardless the fact that he was making the phone calls and things like that and continuing to be a threat to the entire community was very concerning and very disconcerting in the way that he he continued to communicate and continue to to Taunton. Carrion was was very, very disconcerting for everybody that everybody that heard what was going on. I had the same fear and this guy is going to kill again and he is genuinely I've centre like this is. This is not somebody that's thinking in a rational way. He sees enjoying what he's doing he's getting really perverse pleasure out of this communication is a matter of fact. The psychologist we talked who said that in one way it was good that he was doing this because he was getting some sort of
faction out of making these phone calls. Someone is some sort of release, and there it was. It was a sort of satisfactory says it's like he's. Gettin is getting his jollies like this. It might inhibiting from going on killing again. He this might be enough form for a while to be the sort of center of attention this wake, as he obviously like the attention that he was getting from over. All the media, and it made by this time, had been dubbed the abbots for Keller, so even had his own. You haven't had his own brand name. If you all right, you know, did he know specifically who you were and did he refer you by name or reserve, any indication he didn't know that he did not do you didn't you didn't associate with any of us in a at a personal level. It was him versus sort of the police in general and when he finally one of his one of his next stunts, was to actually write a letter to us and take that
letter to a wrench and throw it through the front window of a house in Abbottsford at around eight hundred o'clock, one night and just picked a host at random and threw it through their front living room window. Spanish. The window was young mother home with her kids and she found this and the letter set on it. Abby killer call nine one one at directions on it for her, and so she phoned, of course, in our officers went there guys was that communication right away and absolute properly brought it back to the idea fighter examined by our identification, forensic people and the they also through the area and see if anybody saw anything it again. This guy's a ghost stay. Nobody saw and brought the envelope and wrench back to the office officer had been tat. This was a clenching red had been taped to our blue envelope and inside the blue envelope
was a letter that he had written along with some newspaper articles and newspaper articles included pictures of Misty and Tanya from the newspaper, but they also included pictures of three women who were murdered in nineteen. Eighty five in Vancouver and they'd. All three of them had been murdered in a very similar way, stabbings and they were also stranger type. Homicides, sexually motivated type, homicides, unsolved killings and they came. These three pictures that were put in had come from a nineteen eighty, nine addition of the Vancouver Sun so he'd been saving these pictures, since one thousand nine hundred and eighty
right somewhere, the pictures of Misty and Tanya were from fairly recent issues of our local papers, but so this guy and in his letter he referred to his other conquests, here's some of my other conquests and, and then he talked about he says, I'm surprised you haven't clued into others that I've done and then he referenced three attacks on women, three other sexual assaults on women in abbottsford that he described and he was cool credit for, and they were very well described well enough describe that we were able to find them in our files and look at them if they are these. These are what is the ones he's talking but want to protect.
I had happened only three months before busy italian or attack happened in front of the embassy hospital, and this woman had been knocked knocked unconscious, obviously hit with a blood object. She said with a baseball bat and he's actually said: hey, that's the same bat that I used on Misty Italian. As I stole that woman's person. I threw it on top of the old bridge building and, as it turned out, the up up. The least purse had been found on top of the old bridge building,
several months after the attack or a couple months after the attack had taken place, so he had all the details down on on that particular attack and on two others. One was the attempted adduction of a young twelve year old girl across from Mcdonald's in broad daylight, and the other one was the attack of a a woman that was leaving a halfway house and she was punched in had to knock knock consciously was dragging her away in a car came along and he dropped her and ran away, and those were both confirmed. This incidents that had taken place, so he was a busy busy guy. He was doing. All sorts of these kind of crimes are opportunistic type of crimes where he looks for an opportunity to step in do something tat I get away with it. Doesnt work run away like an and he's had been obviously quite successful with now the information information You got from this note the especially about the three unsolved murders in Vancouver. Were you able,
if you are, you just mentioned that he gave you sufficient evidence or background information to say that he was a likely perpetrator in the sexual assaults in abbot. So you believe them with that part of the story. What about the three murders in Vancouver? Were you able to get any background detail that would cooperate? What he had said? Did you take the dna sample and the through the the dataset, the data back and and and check it against? You already had a dna sample, you said, and so we had. We had dna samples, but unfortunately these three homicides did not have any dna. They They were from nineteen, eighty five and nineteen. Eighty five was breathe dna era. I mean a lot of a lot of left over there. There was, there were homicide from eighty.
Drive error that had leftover blood samples and semen samples that they were profiling dna on, but these were not among them, so we had three murders that he was sort of into mating and he didn't come right out and say hey. I did these here's some some hidden facts which, if he had given some of the hidden facts or some hold back on one of them, that would have That would have been a critical piece, but he didn't so they were look that he was looked at as a possible suspect in them and remains a possible suspect on those three homicides to this day, and you know those are three that may never be solved. 'cause, you know you deal with the critical need for physical evidence. Sometimes it's not there. So now. What is your next step once you have all this information? He sent you this threatening note. You did say that your forensic team does this. However, something it's a bit.
Being his crucial mistake, tell us why this contact with police this time why it was his fatal mistake. But it was actually it was. It was a real turning point for investigation, because, He was obviously quite proud of the fact that he was careful about leaving his fingerprints behind. He said you think I'd be stupid enough to leave fingerprints behind. When I make a phone call and in fact we weren't finding fingerprints on any of the phone booths or any of that stuff. So here we have a situation where this individual was was very conscious of his fingerprints. But on this particular note our forensic person was very, very clever and he took apart the tape that held the note the other, take it apart layer by layer and on the backside on the sticky side. One of the pieces of tape he actually found a fingerprint and it was a remarkable fingerprint, it was like almost an entire whole fingerprint, which made it searchable against the national data
basin in Canada and in the United States, and with that we thought. Well, we've got him now I mean we thought this guy and end our psychological, profilers, etc. Said to this. Guy has daisies been around, he's, probably had come, that is probably gonna have a criminal record of some kind right tat. We ran him and he didn't. There was no criminal record. No, no previous figure bring up the individual. So here we now have an individual that has never been fingerprinted and he's. He doesn't have a criminal record in the canadian system or the american system so. We have to turn our whole investigation on its nose and say: ok, all the people per before I mean previously convection sexual predators and previously convicted convicted people that do that kind of a salt and stocking are now that's the way of eliminating it. You don't. Even
the record. You know debated added value, for some of them have no record at all while and bad. I became sort of a scary part again, because who could be anybody in the community could be any any good join in and again making him that much more visible. Again too, who are investigation, and so we were, we were rolling in evidence. We had tons of evidence. We just need to be pointed at the right individual to do this say who was who is doing this and we had started a strategy early on in the investigation. After the phone calls came in within a few weeks of the phone calls coming in, we decided that we were going to release voice tapes of those phone calls and ask people. Do you recognize it? Just like you don't want your friend calls up or somebody you know. Well, you don't have to ask who that is? You recognize their voice immediately. We were hoping to get that response. Somebody would say: hey, you know, I know who that is and
by playing it over the playing it over the radio and that I never happened right away. So we went on for months playing these tapes and running the back and forth for the through the media, and we even had a call in line where people could phone in and listen to tapes as many times as they wanted one eight hundred number. They listened the tape all day if they wanted, and so we were doing that as well trying to trying to get somebody to identify. So we had that way. We were generating tips. We had people over calling. I think it sounds a little bit like sullen soy and eventually, when the time came, we we decided we're going to do another media strategy in April of just a nineteen ninety six
because things are starting to slow down a little bit and we had a whole lot of other information now from these other cases. So we want to do a really comprehensive media strategy. Talk about some of the other cases talk about some of the new descriptions we had him 'cause. We now had other people have. Also see em I'll, be at briefly, and we had a couple of vehicle descriptions of Pontiac said: sedan type vehicle that we thought could be our suspect vehicles. We have ceased to churn out, so we did. We also had the tapes and has whatever
theaters got it and it says that you know there's a lot of white noise there. I bet you. I can get that cleaned up, so he took it to a sound lab and got them to get the white noise out which really helped enunciate the voice. Make it much more clear, and so we had re edited to tape, so we really re release them, and that happened on April with 30th of nineteen ninety six, and that same afternoon we got phone calls. We got a phone call from
a woman identifying or so she said. I know that boys ass, my son and day he fishes at the better river, where the girl was body was dropped and he actually went to her. Funeral he'd had gone to the girls funeral. She told you that yeah well and ultimately we had this individual identified as and his name was Terry driver and he was the son of a retired police officer
and the decorated police officer, and he was living in our community, worked as a printer is a married man with two kids and so no more criminal record, and when we try to do what we called our cold approach on him, which was to go and knock on his door and say hey. Somebody pointed you out as possibly being a suspect in this we'd like you to come in and give your dna and fingerprints and stuff he refused, and our investigators who were at the scene thought ya. His voice sounds pretty good. His own mother thought it sounded exactly like it and with the other pieces that we had to see, you know fishing at the better river and haven't gone to the funeral. We were very suspicious of it and what did you do from? What do you do from there? Did you put him under surveillance? You obviously didn't have this mythical. Do you have enough for a warrant? We
heading up for a warrant to go, we were getting warrants to go and search his business premises where he was a printer and we were able to get his records for when he was at work and we were able to determine that he was not at work. He had punched out of work during the times of critical times, with some of the phone calls were made and found out that he was a fisherman at the better canal. He used that particular area, the better canal. He had a sedan that fit the description of the vehicle that we were looking for, brown sedan and so We stayed on him and all this checking that was going on was very annoying to him. His own family were putting pressure on to go in and and go get this cleared up. If you're, not the guy go clear it up so eventually we got a call from his lawyer in his lawyer, said: look my client wants to come in and get this cleared up, you're not going to
any dna, but he'll give your fingerprints and, on the condition that you take his fingerprints and after you compare him, they get ripped up and thrown away 'cause. He doesn't want you guys. He doesn't trust the cops. He doesn't want you guys to have his fingerprints. So, of course, we agreed to that and him and his lawyer came into the police office and his fingerprints were taken, and I guess he really thought that he had been careful enough, that he hadn't left any fingerprints behind did know about the piece of tape. We haven't told anybody where we got it from the fingerprint that we had and we did the comparison and it was and he never left the police station. After that day, he was arrested on the spot, and course the dna profiles were done and a bite mark profile, we're done and found to be him. Dna profile was found to be him up to a likelihood of one in seventeen trillion. I think it was or one point one and one point: seven trillion so very high odds, share and.
So that was that was the evidence that we had to go to court with, along with his own mother, identifying his voice on that in his brother involved as well. Don driver in Turkey got there like either reward actually identified his voice as well, and. Eventually, the family came to believe in adopt his story 'cause. He came up with the defense later on that he, in fact was not the killer. Little girls had actually been attacked by somebody that he'd seen running from the scene. Sure you got up in court eventually and testified that he was driving down the street doing what he called scanner chasing, which was going out tonight and listening to the police scanner and driving around watching the police go to various calls and helping them out. If he could, he was sort of a wannabe cop Shanda on the night in Kwa
and that's what he had been doing and he had ended up over in the area where the girls were attacked and he was driving down that street and he saw some mail come out of the Bush is and run across the road and jump over the fence and that made them suspicious. So we stopped and went look through those bushes and when he saw the two girls there, one of them being Tanya was nude and immediately thought. He'd go and call for help, but then he thought better of it and he decided he was going to have sex with this unconscious girl and which he did and then he thought she died. 'cause. She has some spasms when he was having sex with her and you thought she had died. So he put the body in the trunk of his car and took it to the better canal, and he said he also put misty in the front of his car and took her to the front of the house,
little, where he dropped Rob but tat. She said that that's not true and end the there's no blood ever found in the front of his card. It is proper that so, but he got up and actually testified in court in his own defence. That's what had happened share Obviously the judge didn't refer referred historian fantastic story, implausible didn't believe him are leaders. No marital story tell us a little bit about Misty cockerel, and you know this is. This is quite a story that sixteen year all this little show them really a big woman ring for her life escaping, even though she had a gaping head wound. A real fighter tell us a little bit about her appearance at the at the trial and the your appearance at the trial as well. Just give us.
Little bit of that 'cause, I thought it was real, interesting aspect of your story: yeah. Well, she she's an amazing young woman, she's a fighter right from day one She is one of these people that, although she was a victim, she refuses to be seen. She doesn't want to be seen in the role of victim she's, a survivor, and she survived this and she fought her way through it, and she I've got up in court and pointed this guy at the preliminary hearing, and she got up at the trial and pointed him out again and gave her story, and this ran for sixteen year old. She was sixteen when this happened, and it was eighteen by the time the trials of place two years later, and just a really really strong young individual very, very focused- and this was her best friend that was murdered and does she
through a lot a lot of people? A lot- and you know this is this- is this? Is the big a human being, and this is a hard thing to take like I've. I've seen murder victims before that and survivors of these kind of attacks, and this very, very difficult for people to get over and ass. She was a shining example of the survivor, and now she speaks for civil rights or for one of the commitments of violence and violence against women, and thus she's actually received a scholarship from the canadian crime, victims Foundation and the Foundation of war, the directors of that foundation. To because when I saw what they were doing and support that they gave to Misty it's a privately funded foundation that provides- and I have tried to scholarship money for survive
birds of violent crime and is based on the fact that criminal to go to jail and receive an education Weller jail, but there's no kind of funding like that for victims of crime, so that this foundation are containing crime. Victims foundation is seeking to create a balance certain and provide that so. Mrs had her education paid for she went through her school and she just graduating this year down as and she was looking actually becoming of all things- a parole officer, probation officer- and it was like now she might go into teaching she's a young mother herself she's got to two kids and still we worked work way through school
she's out without visit residual problems from her injury. She still has a side effects from these injuries, but that just let him get to her or not visibly anyway, and she speaks at our canadian crime, victims, foundation, fund, razors and he's really quite a remarkable individual. She was part of the mission process, my vote this book. The book was written in honour of the italian and there was written to support victims of crime. So the funding for funds from the book don't come to prophesy company profits or are a big donated back to the committee, cried victim foundation and to leave of absence or victims services foundation. So what we're trying to do here is make something out of the story. The story got a lot of notoriety and there's actually been for documentaries done on this case, since it had
and there you know what our crime documentaries- and it just occurred to me that you know that There is no money that ever came back to the victims of crime or that in such an interesting story, though, I just thought it was a really need opportunity to tell it until it from the police perspective, because the other thing about this is, as could be, more proud of team of police officers. I work with these guys were great and there were people who put their lives on all four seven months. Will this case went on in order to get it done to make it work, and so was. It was really quite a feat, and these police agencies working together, cooperatively, like they did, which was quite a feat. So there's not a lot to be said
about it- that I I wanted to get in there and make the public aware of an end to tell a story so as a sort of where it comes from so Misty continues to work for victims, rights and Thou were were friends to this day and her family, as lively recovered from there there are about with the whole thing, is to devote difficult thing for other found is a family of terrorist methods. They ve lost a daughter that will never be backing, and it's very, very hard thing for any family to deal with. Losing a family member. Like that, the insult added to the injury with sea, the insulting with this individual behaved against everybody was just disgusting beyond you know the story tools, disgusting beyond belief. So, yes, you know it's an interesting thing about this story is that there is again
happy ending what MR cockerel to a certain degree, obviously Detenus, Macedonia's never going to recover and miss. The Cockrel is just a unique individual to be able to pick yourself up and brush yourself off and continue, but the interesting thing. 'cause I've covered a lot of these books and read so many true crime books that the police we come across a lottery, I'm not so purposely in a book lots of times they misleads go down the wrong road or just take a long time not make all the necessary right moves in this particular case. You guys really can give yourself guys credit for doing the right things at the right time and achieving the best possible resolution in a short period of time, relatively short period of time. I'm sure the city of atmosphere was relieved and you do really describe the terror that grip the city during seven months period, but you did take this serial killer off the street basically and put him away forever he's been deemed today.
Yours offender. You can't get any better and Canada, so no it'll be they'll, be away through the rest of his natural life. That's that's a good thing, that's where it needs to be Well, it's the very least. It should happen, you know, I think the thing is that uh for american audience, we do have a little diff system, even though that the legal system is based on the same system, but we do have a little, as you know it. It's fairly difficult to put someone behind bars rest of their life with no actual per se. Life said, and so it is in resting that that you weren't able one way or another through this person's now. This is a much needed to be famous that through the technique, the criminal profiling end, and you know the walking beaten doing the necessary canvassing, all the all the work, the the hard work and the work you do, the psychological profiling to be able to capture this individual was all worked. It was energy well spent
to come to this conclusion. So it's it's great story of objects in light of a very disastrous it women in the great story. With that I'd like to let people know basically can tell us about the canadian crime victims Foundation, how they can contact that organization. Maybe you have a website, or we can repeat information and all tell our audience where the best place to get your book as fast as possible and get it from the pub. Sure. Maybe controls will give us a little bit about information. Please. You bet ya the canadian crime Victim foundation. You couldn't vizir website, it says C c: the F Canadian Cry Victim Foundation, dot net sepia, dot net
and we get donations over over the internet and the girl just visit in and see what we're about. This are very interesting concept. Is to get the balance my book and again, the profits by profit school to the victims of crime is available through take publishing company tee. Eighty publishing are, what were homer and they can also be purchased through Amazon, dot com and dies again titled through the valley of the shadow, the search for the abbottsford killer and by rod. Gail last name is spelled Gehl, so there's lots of different ways to search for it. But if you type in abbottsford killer, it'll come up right, ok, right now. What was the effect of of this? We've got about three minutes, so maybe you can just tell us what first, what was the free! I know you're, not you're a cop
at first. You know your inspector you're you're a policeman at heart, but you became an author. I understand the motivation for reading this book, but what was the overall effect for you is it positive, was a negative tell It's about your overall conclusion. After doing all this research going through the trial living, you know very pretty well very, very close to the killer himself Tell us about your overall experience. Why? I think every cop that worked on this case will tell you the same thing. It was a huge feeling of relief when we, when we caught him when we finally brought it to a conclusion- and there was there- was another huge, relief when he was connected. So we had several high points in the investigation.
A number of points where we sat back and wondered. Oh, my god is this guy gotta. Is he gonna kill somebody or we are we not doing everything we can to to get em? So there is a big feeling of responsibility to the community to like every everybody that work from the case felt this like gets this? Is we gotta get this person he's out there he's very, very dangerous, and it wasn't. It wasn't any kind of Hollywood. Fantastic kind of in all made up thing: it was a joy it within with genuine feelings of the people, had an agenda and they issued. It really showed when all things came down at the people were were emotionally charged, and I remember the day that we caught the guy
And we call the investigators in off the street were talking about season cop, saying people coming in with tears in their eyes so yeah I told you something yeah, you know it's a great story to for the community of Abbottsford. I'm sure it will be legendary story about really the whole community getting together. Finding this guy and lock him away forever, making sure that he could never flecked any more pain and sore on any one else. It was. It was truly a community pull together as well in as much as the community response in a way that people were walking each other. Their cars. People were being very careful about not letting their kids out at night, and I think that, to a great extent that illuminated the opportunity victims that he had normally been praying on, so it was out there looking chances are that he wasn't seeing the opportunities that he normally would have seen in a community that had not been so sensitized and he was responsible for creating that sensitivity himself.
So it's a little bit of paradox there, but yeah sure ironic, yeah yeah yeah. Well, I want to thank you very much ROD Gail for a great book. Through the valley of the shadow, to search for the abbottsford killer by ROD, Gail, and thank you very much for a very, very informative interview, and I want to say thank you for agreeing to this interview and have operating great evening. Thank you very much. I wish you the best of luck and you have yourself a good evening. I will sir thank you very much too bye, bye, goodnight,. Even listen to the programme to murder the most shocking killers in true crime, history and the authors that have written about them with your whole stanza pesky good evening.
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Transcript generated on 2019-12-05.