From the Globe & Mail:
Read the complete article here: http://tinyurl.com/2ua747WINNIPEG — For 23 years, Wilma Derksen has wondered what happened to her 13-year-old daughter.
Candace Derksen was walking home after school on Nov. 30, 1984, when she was abducted from a busy Winnipeg street. She wasn't seen again until mid-January when an employee looking for an old saw found her frozen body in a remote shed, less than half a kilometre from her parent's home.
More than two decades after the mystery began, Winnipeg police believe they've cracked Candace's case through DNA testing.
As police detailed the arrest Wednesday of Mark Edward Grant, 43, Ms. Derksen sat glassy-eyed, her mouth in a thin line until asked about her daughter.
This moment came because their daughter's case was assigned to the newly formed Winnipeg police Cold Case Unit in 2006, said Chief Jack Ewatski.
Chief Ewatski said investigators re-examined the forensic evidence in the case, sending the results to an independent Canadian lab for testing. He gave few details.
Based on DNA tests, officers in the unit arrested Grant Wednesday morning. Grant has been charged with first-degree murder.
I remember this case like it was yesterday. I grew up in Manitoba, and it was on the news every night from shortly after she went missing until 7 weeks later when they found her body. I was the same age as Candace, so all us kids were following the case closely. It was probably the second-highest profile murder ever to happen in Winnipeg, after the 1981 Barbara Stopel murder.
I'm reading the book written by Candace's mother, Wilma Derksen, right now. It's called Have You Seen Candace? It's an hour by hour account of what she and her husband went through after her daughter's disappearance. It's been on my shelf for a couple years, but I just opened it up after news of this arrest.
The police incompetence and arrogance early in the case really jumps out at the reader. They kept insisting she was a runaway for days after she went missing. Meanwhile, she was freezing to death, bound and gagged in a shed about 500 yards from her home. It was the community that rallied around the family early on, organizing search parties while the police were still telling them that Candace would likely show up for school on Monday morning. After the body was found, they decided that Candace's own father was their chief suspect. They really didn't have a clue.
Thank God for DNA. I hope this scumbag spends a long and miserable existence in prison, and I hope the other prisoners use him to satisfy their own perverted desires.
how did candace die? Did she freeze to death? If so, I would blame the police, partially at least, for treating it so lightly......the poor child.....amazingly, her parents stayed together.....
In fairness to the police, back in 1984 in Winnipeg, abductions "just didn't happen". None of the police had even run across an abduction case before. They had zero experience with it. But of course they had all seen runaway teens, lots of them.
Winnipeg is a city on the Canadian prairies of about 650,000, (it's not much bigger today) and was considered a low crime city. No one even really considered predators would be prowling the streets looking to abduct a teenager. The journalists all refer to this crime as "the one that stole Winnipeg's innocence". Today, Winnipeg is known as a fairly high crime city by Canadian standards, although this is mostly due to the gang problem in the inner city. There's never been a high-profile serial killing there.
As to your question, yes, Candace froze to death, either that night or the next morning. It was frigid that night and on the following days. By the time the search parties were organized the next day, she was probably dead. She was not physically or sexually assaulted. It is believed that the guy that tied her up had planned to return to rape her and probably kill her, but for some reason didn't come back. Here's some more articles from the Winnipeg Sun and one more from the Globe & Mail:
Are there other cold cases this guy might be guilty of?
That poor girl. I hope the rest of his life is absolutely miserable.
Ranter, I wonder what kind of DNA they tested if he did not rape her.
SewingDeb, they had collected strands of hair from the the shed that did not belong to Candace. Exactly where those hairs were in the shed (on her body? in her hands?) and whether they found his DNA elsewhere on her or around her, the police aren't saying. They've actually had the entire shed stored in evidence all these years.
I don't think the case is as tight as they'd like it. Finding hair in shed isn't exactly an airtight case. Presumably they've got other evidence on him as well. Another possibility is they questioned him about being in the shed and he denied it, thus catching him in a lie. I don't know that for a fact, but that's fairly standard police questioning - to let the guy paint himself into a corner with his own words.
Trial set to start for 26-year-old murder
By QMI Agency
A trial is set to begin this week for the man police and prosecutors allege killed 13-year-old Candace Derksen 26 years ago. (QMI Agency file photo)
WINNIPEG - Her killing haunted Winnipeggers for decades, a 'cold case' whose secrets many feared would never be revealed.
Now, 26 years later, a trial is set to begin for the man police and prosecutors allege killed 13-year-old Candace Derksen.
Mark Edward Grant, 46, is charged with first-degree murder.
Derksen disappeared while walking home from Mennonite Brethren Collegiate on Nov. 30, 1984, sparking a massive search effort.
The search ended Jan. 17, 1985, when an Alsip's Industrial Products employee found Derksen's frozen body in a rarely-used tool shed near the Nairn Avenue overpass, about 500 metres from her home. Her hands and feet were bound behind her back, making it impossible for her to escape. She died of exposure.
Police arrested Grant in 2007 after he submitted a blood sample to the national data bank. Grant was interviewed by police in the during the initial investigation into Derksen's disappearance, but was not deemed to be a suspect at he time.
Wilma and Cliff Derksen told QMI Agency in 2007 that they had come to terms with the fact they may never find out what happened to their daughter. Grant's arrest nearly four years ago shook their world.
"Wilma and I have to admit that we had actually given up hope. We were already prepared to live with this mystery that has shadowed our family for so many years," Cliff Derksen said, reading from a statement, after police confirmed they had a high-risk sex offender in custody for the 1984 slaying.
Grant was arrested three years ago after police reopened the investigation into Derksen's slaying. The teen was allegedly grabbed off the street on Nov. 30, 1984, bound with rope and left to freeze to death inside a shed. Her body was found on Jan. 17, 1985, following an exhaustive search that included hundreds of volunteers.
Three pubic hairs were found on or near Derksen's body, although police have said she wasn't sexually assaulted. Four scalp hairs that appeared to have been lightly bleached near the roots were on Derksen's clothing. Police weren't able to test the hairs for DNA until technology improved in 1993. By that time, police were looking at a dangerous sex offender as a potential suspect in what proved to be a false lead.
Police took another crack at DNA testing in 2001 -- but no known profiles were obtained. In 2006, police learned a private lab in Thunder Bay, Ont., had the ability to run more extensive hair-shaft DNA tests. The testing involved identifying the maternal lineage of the subject donor, which is DNA passed from mother to child.
Trial starts in 1980s Winnipeg schoolgirl death
Hearings begin on 26th anniversary of discovery of girl's body
Last Updated: Monday, January 17, 2011 | 7:04 AM CST
Mark Edward Grant's first-degree murder trial in the Winnipeg death of Candace Derksen begins Monday. (CBC)
A first-degree murder trial for a man accused in one of Manitoba's most notorious homicide cases begins Monday in a Winnipeg courtroom.
Mark Edward Grant, 46, has pleaded not guilty to killing schoolgirl Candace Derksen more than 20 years ago.
Derksen was 13 when she vanished while walking to her East Kildonan home from the Mennonite Brethren Collegiate on the afternoon of Nov. 30, 1984.
Her disappearance triggered a massive search that ended on Jan. 17, 1985, when her body was found — wrapped in blankets and with hands and feet bound — in a rarely used supply shed near the Nairn Overpass.
'I want to visit Candace's grave and just close it, no matter what happens.'
—Wilma DerksenPolice said she died of exposure but considered her death a homicide.
The shed where the body was found was less than half a kilometre from The Derksen family home.
Despite an intensive police investigation at the time, the case languished until the file was assigned to a newly formed cold case unit within the Winnipeg Police Service in 2006.
Investigators reviewed the file and garnered new leads resulting in Grant's arrest in May 2007. He was committed to stand trial in the Court of Queen's Bench in the fall of 2009.
Timeline of the Candace Derksen case
•Nov. 13, 1984 — Candace Derksen, 13, fails to arrive at home after school. A missing persons report is filed and police and community members begin actively searching for her.
•Jan. 17, 1985 — Derksen's body is found in a shed less than 500 metres from her home. A homicide investigation is opened and police begin interviewing potential suspects. No arrests are made.
•April 1995 — Wilma Derksen incorporates Child Find Manitoba. The group provides services to families that didn't exist when Candace disappeared.
•2006 — The homicide probe is turned over to a new Winnipeg police unit investigating cold cases. Police say new leads are established and pursued and the investigation is given the official title of Project Angel.
•May 25, 2006 — The Canadian Centre for Child Protection is formed.
•May 16, 2007 — Winnipeg police Chief Jack Ewatski and Insp. Tom Legge announce the arrest of Mark Edward Grant.
•Aug. 24, 2009 — Grant pleads not guilty and his preliminary hearing begins in provincial court.
•Sept. 15, 2009 — Grant is formally indicted on a charge of first-degree murder. He remains in custody.
•Jan. 6, 2011 — 12 jurors and two alternates are selected for Grant's trial.
•Jan. 17, 2011 — Grant's trial begins, 26 years to the day after Derksen's body was found.
No testimony is expected in the first few days of the six-week-long trial as Crown and defence lawyers argue several preliminary motions in the absence of jurors.
A publication ban prohibits the publication of any information given at those hearings.
The teen's mysterious disappearance sent ripples of fear through the city, and later waves of grief through her family after her body was discovered.
In its wake, Wilma Derksen began advocating for greater resources for families of missing kids. She also wrote books on her family's search for answers.
Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/manitoba/st...#ixzz1BIr7wByX
During a break from the morning's evidence, Derksen's parents, Wilma and Cliff, spoke about the emotional impact of hearing certain details.
"It is very stark. It's bringing Candace back to us in a very different way," Cliff said.
"The dirt floor — that bothered me today, I don't know why," said Wilma, referring to evidence from retired police Sgt. Ronald Allen, who photographed the scene the day Derksen's body was found and again later on in the year.
While it might be hard to hear, it's "terribly important to our healing," she added.
Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/manitoba/st...#ixzz1Bblk0xC0
Slain schoolgirl alive up to 24 hours
By DEAN PRITCHARD, QMI Agency
Schoolgirl murder trial on after 26 years
WINNIPEG - Thirteen-year-old Candace Derksen may have remained alive up to 24 after she was tied up and abandoned in a freezing tool shed 27 years ago, but she likely didn't suffer any pain, a jury heard Friday.
"She lost consciousness pretty fast but it may have been hours before she died," said retired chief medical examiner Dr. Peter Markesteyn.
Markesteyn was testifying at the first-degree murder trial of Mark Grant.
The Winnipeg Sun also has a twitter feed from the court room but the Winnipeg Free Press one is better.
Retired Winnipeg police deputy chief Menno Zacharias told court he interviewed Grant at the provincial remand centre after receiving a tip from his girlfriend at the time, Audrey Fontaine.
"She had claimed to have seen Candace Derksen after her disappearance," said Zacharias, who was then a detective-sergeant assigned to the youth division. "We had some concerns whether she was being truthful with us."
I found the published information about the girlfriend confusing and did not see what purpose it served.
KMouse, I'm thinking CYA on the part of the police because if they had taken the girlfriend seriously, this case could've been closed 26 years ago? I'm not sure either though ... it is confusing.
I am assuming there is a lot of stuff about the girlfriend that didn't make it to trial???
The girlfriend says she saw Candace a couple of times around the neighborhood. So then I was wondering if Grant was with the girlfriend any of these times. That was not asked of the gf on the stand. I am going to assume it was asked way back when and then again for this trial.
But I do not understand what significance any of the girlfriend testimony is. All it did was get it out there that Grant had escaped on an unrelated charge and that their relationship ended when he was apprehended on the unrelated charge.
or maybe even she could've been saved, if they had done more questioning earlier ...
ETA: never mind the above - I think I need to do more reading to interpret her testimony and the police reaction to it
Last edited by LadyL; 02-01-2011 at 01:37 AM. Reason: eta
That's the golden question we will never know.
Now we are dealing with older memories, old notes if they exist, on top of the difference in forensics.
Updated: Thu Feb. 03 2011 13:26:21
The jury at the Candace Derksen murder trial heard more complex scientific testimony when proceedings resumed on Thursday morning.
Mark Edward Grant faces a charge for first-degree murder in the case, which dates back to November 1984.
He has pleaded not guilty.
The case has focused largely on DNA evidence so far, and the lawyers on both sides argued about the reliability of the scientific investigation into the death of 13-year-old Derksen almost 26 years ago.
Testimony began Thursday with Arlene Lahti, a scientist who specializes in mitochondrial DNA and who was a founder of a company called Molecular World.
In spring of 2007, Lahti received samples from the Derksen case. They were blood samples taken from numerous people, she testified.
That group included Dave Wiebe and Audrey Fontaine, who have previously testified about being suspects years ago in the Derksen case.
In cross examination, defence lawyer Saul Simmonds questioned Lahti about the possibility of contamination of mitochondrial DNA.
Simmonds also asked Lahti about the data that can be learned from mitochondrial DNA, which can rule out a person as a match to another DNA sample, but cannot specifically single out one individual as a match, without the use of additional information.
DNA expert accused of 'wing it' approach
By DEAN PRITCHARD, QMI Agency
WINNIPEG - Scientists entrusted to analyze DNA evidence allegedly connected to accused killer Mark Grant played loose with procedural protocols and wasted valuable evidence that could never be tested again, Grant's lawyer alleged Friday.
On Thursday, DNA scientist Curtis Hildebrandt told court seven hairs found on Candace Derksen's clothing and in the shed where she died shared the same DNA profile as Mark Grant.
On Friday, defence lawyer Saul Simmonds suggested Hildebrandt had a vested interest in developing a DNA profile that would connect Grant to the murder, as Hildebrandt had bought stock in his publicly traded employer, Warnex PRO-DNA.
Guilty verdict in 1984 schoolgirl murder
By DEAN PRITCHARD, QMI Agency
Wilma and Cliff Derksen outside the courtroom after Mark Grant was found guilty of second degree murder in the death of Candace Derksen more than twenty years ago. (Chris Procaylo, QMI Agency)
WINNIPEG - After 26 years, a five-week trial and three days of tension filled deliberations, Wilma and Cliff Derksen finally know who killed their daughter Candace.
Before a courtroom packed with relatives, friends and media, jurors convicted Mark Edward Grant of second-degree murder
"We'll lay down roses and we are going to cry again and we are going to move on. Start something new. Start a new life," Wilma said.
Jurors deliberating Grant's fate did so with no knowledge of his violent criminal past, which included three convictions for rape in the past 23 years.
Grant will be sentenced at a later date to life in prison. The only question to decide is when he will be eligible for parole.
A couple of interesting articles about what the jury did not hear.
"No one believes a word out of your mouth, why do you keep talking?" --Ryan Owens (ABC News)
Mark Edward Grant, the man convicted of murder in the death of Winnipeg schoolgirl Candace Derksen, won't be eligible for parole for 25 years, Manitoba Chief Justice Glenn Joyal ruled Thursday.
Grant, 47, was found guilty of second-degree murder by a Queen's Bench jury on Feb. 18, following a five-week trial that focused on DNA evidence.
More to come