Who are Canada’s latest alleged serial killers? – National Post

DNA

One case revealed an alleged serial killer in Winnipeg and the other potentially solved a 40-year-old cold case in Toronto with the help of family tree DNA

Last week, police in Canada announced they arrested two men they say are potentially serial killers.

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In Winnipeg, a 35-year-old man has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder. Police say they believe he killed four women last spring, although three of the bodies have not been found.

In Toronto, police say they used DNA to crack a 40-year-old cold case involving the murders of two women.

Here is what know about these suspected killers and their alleged victims.

On Dec. 1, Winnipeg police announced they are charging 35-year-old Jeremy Anthony Micheal Skibicki with three more counts of first-degree murder.

Skibicki has been in police custody since May 18 for the alleged murder of Rebecca Contois, a 24-year-old Indigenous woman from O-Chi-Chak-Ko-Sipi First Nation in Manitoba. He is accused of killing Contois and dumping her body in a dumpster.

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According to Winnipeg police Chief Danny Smyth, investigators now believe the Winnipeg man was also responsible for the deaths of two other Indigenous women and one woman who has yet to be identified. Smyth said these murders took place between March and May 2022.

At a press conference, Smyth identified the women as Morgan Beatrice Harris, 39, who was killed on or around May 1, and Marcedes Myran, 26, who was killed on or around May 4. Both women were living in Winnipeg at the time of their murders but were also members of the Long Plain First Nation in Manitoba.

The fourth woman’s identity has not yet been confirmed, but investigators believe she was killed on or around March 15. Inspector Shawn Pike of the major crimes division at the Winnipeg Police Service said the victim is believed to have been an Indigenous woman who was likely in her mid-20s.

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The bodies of the three latest alleged victims have not been found.

After his arrest in May, CBC reported that according to court documents, Skibicki’s estranged wife was granted a protection order against him in 2019

The 41-year-old woman, who is not identified in the CBC story, was trying to serve Skibicki with divorce papers before his arrest. After the divorce was granted, CBC reports that he applied to have the protection order set aside, but was denied by a Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench judge.

Skibicki has also been found to be a follower of far-right ideologies. Posts on two Facebook pages linked to Skibicki show white supremacist, misogynistic and antisemitic material as well as violent attitudes.

In the bio on these Facebook pages, Skibicki identifies as an “official member of ‘Holy Europe.’”

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According to its website, Holy Europe, or the Alliance of Patriotic Parallel Movements of European Folks, demands the re-Christianization of Europe and its colonies. Among their seven pillars of life and the foundations of their struggle are the preservation of blood, restoration of the patriarchy and doctrine of attack — a supposed “conquest strategy.”

Rebecca Contois, one of the alleged victims of accused serial killer Jeremy Skibicki. Photo by Family handout

Smyth said police do not know whether Indigenous women were specifically being targeted by Skibicki, but “clearly the victims in this are all Indigenous women.” Police would not speak to any possible motives for their murder.

With the additional charges for these three murders, Skibicki now falls under the definition of a serial killer, someone who has committed three or more killings.

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“It is always unsettling when there is any kind of a serial killing, this isn’t the first time in our history that we’ve encountered this,” said Smyth. He also emphasized how particularly unsettling these murders are “because it does involve Indigenous women.”

In the killing of Contois, on May 16 partial remains were found in a dumpster near an apartment building in the Winnipeg neighbourhood of North Kildonan. In June, additional remains were found at the city’s Brady Landfill.

At a press conference on May 19, Const. Rob Carver of the Winnipeg Police Service said Contois and Skibicki “were known to each other,” but did not provide any other details.

Winnipeg police are asking for help from the public and media to identify the unidentified victim. At the press conference photos of a reversible black and white Baby Phat branded jacket were shown. Pike said police believe the unidentified victim wore this type of jacket in those colours.

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“This investigation is not over. Our officers will continue to search for information with the goal of identifying this fourth unknown victim,” said Pike. “The last thing we want is for this victim to remain a Jane Doe.”

They said they are not searching the landfill for the bodies of the three women and would not say whether they were looking anywhere else.

Police said they were not aware of any other potential victims of Skibicki.

“He was arrested as soon as we were aware of what was going on. He has been housed in a correctional facility since that time, and he has, not to my knowledge, been released at any given moment,” said Insp. Shawn Pike.

Early last week, the Toronto Police Service announced an arrest in the 1983 homicides of two Toronto women.

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Ontario Provincial Police arrested 61-year-old Joseph George Sutherland on Nov. 25 in northern Ontario. He was transferred to Toronto, where he is charged the first-degree murders of Susan Tice and Erin Gilmour.

Tice, who was 45 years old at the time of her murder, and Gilmour, who was 22, were both sexually assaulted and stabbed in their bedrooms in August and December of 1983. The two lived close to each other in downtown Toronto, only three kilometres away, but police say they did not know each other.

At the time of his arrest, Sutherland was living in Moosonee, Ont., a small town on James Bay that is 850 kilometres north of Toronto, said Homicide Det. Steve Smith of the Toronto Police Service at a press conference held on Nov. 28.

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“There was no issue with the arrest,” said Smith. “I think when you commit these crimes, you’re just waiting for that knock to come at the door.”

Over the past 39 years, Sutherland moved and lived throughout the province. At the time of the murders Sutherland was living in Toronto, said Smith, but he did not indicate if the alleged killer had a connection to the victims.

Smith said Sutherland has family and extended family, most of whom are living in northern Ontario but would not provide details on them.

Police were able to connect Sutherland to the women’s deaths using genetic genealogy testing.

In 2000, police determined through analyzing DNA found at the crime scenes that the cases of Tice and Gilmour were linked and the same man was responsible for both murders. In 2019, they began working with Othram Inc, a Texas-based company specializing in forensic genealogy to resolve unsolved murders, in the hopes of finding a match.

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Erin Gilmour and Susan Tice, alleged victims of accused killer Joseph Sutherland. Photo by Files

Smith said this involved having the DNA from the two crime scenes analyzed to show potential familial connectivity with those that have uploaded their DNA to Family Tree DNA, a genetic testing company also based in Texas. Police then used this information to build family trees and once they had their suspects narrowed down, they used one-on-one DNA testing through the Ontario Centre of Forensic Sciences to ensure they had the proper person.

Police served Sutherland with a DNA warrant on Nov. 24 to obtain a blood sample, which they used to connect him to the murders, said Smith.

Before the DNA testing, Smith said Sutherland had never been a suspect or person of interest in the cold case.

CBC reported that police were unable to surreptitiously collect DNA from Sutherland before issuing the warrant, but convinced a judge that it was reasonable to believe he had committed the killings.

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Sutherland comes from a family of five brothers, according to the CBC, and police had already cleared the other four before they went to Sutherland for a DNA sample.

Police said they are going to look into “every possible connection” that Sutherland may have to other cold cases in Ontario within the 39 years he has been living in the province.

In Toronto alone, there are over 700 cold cases, said Smith. Of those, 43 have known offender DNA.

Sutherland is in police custody in Toronto and will appear in court on Dec. 9.


  1. Accused Manitoba serial killer charged with murdering three more Indigenous women


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