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Serial killer from US attacks young women in Canada

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Serial killers do not hide their tracks. Over the course of a year in the 1970s, he dumped the remains of four young women in various locations outside Calgary in western Canada—along roads, in gravel ditches, and under underpasses.

They were fully clothed, all strangled, and DNA evidence showed they had been sexually assaulted.

Still, it took Canadian police nearly 50 years to sift through 853 possible suspects on Friday before finally revealing the women were victims of a serial killer.

Police identified the killer as Gary Allen Srery, who fled to Canada while on bail after being charged with rape by Los Angeles police in 1974.

He died of natural causes in an Idaho prison in 2011 at the age of 68. Sentenced to life in prison for rape in that state. Authorities believe he may have killed other women in Canada and the United States.

Despite Mr. Sreli’s brazenness, there were few witnesses to the massacres in 1976 and 1977.

The investigation lasted for decades. Supt. In the 1990s, four separate working groups combed through clues, which included approximately 800 tips and 500 statements from the public. David Hall of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said at a news conference in Edmonton on Friday.

Superintendent Hall said: “No investigation, no matter how successful, can undo the harm caused by a crime of this nature.” However, he added that investigators’ persistence over the years “enabled us to build a case for four people who were deprived of their futures.” The young woman’s family brings answers.”

Three of the four victims were teenagers.

On February 15, 1976, 14-year-olds Eva Dvorak and Patricia McQueen went to visit friends after school and were last seen together at midnight hours. Less than 12 hours later, their bodies were found in an underground passage.

Seven months later, police found the body of 20-year-old Melissa Rehorek in a gravel ditch west of Calgary, a day after she went missing. Hotel housekeeper Ms Rehorek told her roommates before she disappeared that she was going to hitchhike to the mountains.

Five months later, police found 19-year-old Barbara MacLean, a bank worker who had gone to a Calgary bar with friends to watch a cabaret show. Witnesses last saw her walking home from the bar in the early hours of February 26, 1977.

Police said a dog walker stumbled upon her body, suggesting she had fought back against her attacker.

Semen was found on all four victims, but investigative tools to analyze semen were limited at the time. It was not until 2003 that laboratory tests linked the same unidentified offender to DNA samples from two victims, Ms Rehorek and Ms MacLean.

A breakthrough in the case came with the help of genetic genealogy, a forensic technique that uses DNA samples to identify a suspect’s relatives and further target them. In 2022, DNA from the killings of Ms. Dvořák and Ms. McQueen was used to link all four killings to the same man, Mr. Sraery.

When Mr. Sraery arrived in Canada in the mid-1970s, he was already a convicted rapist in the United States.

Gary Allen SraeryCredit…Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Detectives are now piecing together a detailed timeline of Mr Sreary’s life, tracing his movements between 1979 and 1998. His transient lifestyle, the nine aliases he used and his history of violence suggested to police that he may be guilty of other killings.

“We do believe the suspect was involved in more than just four homicides, but he is likely responsible for many more homicides, whether in Alberta, British Columbia or the western United States,” said Staff Sgt. Travis McKenzie, commander of the Mountie’s Historical Homicide Unit, told reporters.

Mr. Sraery has never been questioned in connection with the investigation into the Calgary killings. However, in 1998 he was convicted in another rape case in New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada, and was deported to the United States in 2003.

Sergeant McKenzie said in an interview that because Mr Sreary was dead, police briefed relatives of the victims in detail on their findings and what had led them to zero in on Mr Sreary.

“I know they’re grateful, they’re thankful,” he said, “but I also know their grief never stops, either.”

Sraery was born in the affluent Chicago suburb of Oak Park and moved to California with his family and three younger siblings, authorities said. He married in 1960, had several children, and divorced in 1969.

Genetic genealogy has become a more commonly used technique by law enforcement trying to solve long-standing cold cases. But its use in Canada is limited because the laboratories needed to do such work are primarily located in the United States.

“Given the growing demand for genetic genealogy testing in Canada, we need to reassess where we do this work,” said Nicole Novroski, a forensic geneticist and professor at the University of Toronto. “It’s a really powerful tool.”

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