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  1. #1
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    Canada - Kathy Potter, 13, & Lee Kirk, 15, Toronto ON, 1 October 1971

    http://www.opp.ca/Intranetdev/groups...opp_000947.pdf

    The Government of the Province of Ontario is offering a reward in the amount of fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the murders of 13 year old Catherine “Kathy” POTTER, and 15 year old Lee Kirk, both of TORONTO, Ontario.
    On Friday, October 1st 1971, Kathy POTTER and Lee KIRK ate supper with their foster family on Rochell Crescent in TORONTO. At about 6:30 p.m., they left home and were dropped off at the bus stop at the corner of Yonge Street and Finch Avenue in TORONTO. The two girls were going to visit Lee Kirk’s biological father in RICHMOND HILL. The girls never made it to their destination and were not seen again until Sunday, October 3rd, when their bodies were found in a gravel pit in PICKERING, Ontario.

    The Ontario Provincial Police urge anyone with information regarding the murders of Kathy POTTER or Lee KIRK to communicate immediately with the Director of the Criminal Investigation Branch, Ontario Provincial Police at 1-888-310-1122 or (705) 329-6111, their nearest Police Authority, or Crimestoppers.
    This reward will be apportioned as deemed just by the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services fro the Province of Ontario and the Commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police.
    Sadly, very little to go on, but I wonder if these murders were committed by the same person responsible for this: http://www.websleuths.com/forums/showthread.php?t=46963
    A double murder is rare in itself, but to have two double murders with victims who are the same gender and similar ages, within a two-year time period and in the same general vicinity, must be especially uncommon. The locations where the two duos were "snatched" are only about 6 km distant (Yonge/Finch and Keele/Wilson), not a significant distance in a large city. The only noticeable difference I see between the two cases, on the surface at least, is that, in this case, the killer drove the girls some distance to where he disposed of them, whereas in the later case he left their bodies in-situ. Because of its multi-jurisdictional nature, this case is being handled by the provincial police. I wonder if the OPP has compared notes with the Toronto police over these two cases. Certainly the other case seems to have more hope of ever being solved.

    Incidentally, Rochelle Crescent is misspelled in the bulletin above. "Rochell" does not exist. Rochelle Cres. is about 5 km east of where the girls were dropped off and last seen.

  2. #2
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    Double Murders/Abductions/Disappearances

    The other two victims you refer to in your post are 17 year old Donna STEARNE and 17 year old Wendy Ann TEDFORD, whose case is discussed at the link you provided.


    You are right about a "double" murder being somewhat rare, but there are quite a few such crimes discussed on these threads.


    Whether or not one could make connections just because they were a "double" is debatable. I would tend to think that rather than it being a "signature" or modus operandi (MO), abducting and killing two victims together is more likely something that a killer would do to heighten his thrill. He might see it as a challenge, or he might just decide to take a chance because he wants one of the victims and his sense of caution (taking on two) might be lowered for some reason.


    You do, however, point out some similarities which seem more than just coincidence. And the taking of two victims might tend to indicate a few things, like their killer is either very powerful, or very persuasive - or both.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for you input, Richard. I agree a connection between the cases is uncertain. But this type of thing doesn't happen too often in Toronto. In fact, I don't think there has been a double murder of girls in this city in the 35 years since. Of course, back then carefree hitchhiking was a popular way for teen girls to get from A to B, so the pickings for perverts and killers were abundant.

    It just occurred to me that there was an unsolved disappearance of a teen girl from the Yorkdale area (a highway off-ramp I believe) in the mid to late seventies that might be related to the Tedford/Stearne case, and/or this one. I don't remember any details, but I'll see if I can scare up a link.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
    Whether or not one could make connections just because they were a "double" is debatable. I would tend to think that rather than it being a "signature" or modus operandi (MO), abducting and killing two victims together is more likely something that a killer would do to heighten his thrill. He might see it as a challenge, or he might just decide to take a chance because he wants one of the victims and his sense of caution (taking on two) might be lowered for some reason.
    Or he doesn't want to leave any witness behind.

  5. #5
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    I wonder if these girls were shot. If so, it's a long shot, but ballistics evidence might link the bullets to the gun in the Tedford/Stearne case.

  6. #6
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    I have looked at newspaper articles from the days, weeks, and years after the crime (The most comprehensive and interesting article about the case in the Toronto Star archives is from October 7th, 1976), and will post some relevant facts and theories contained therein. My editorializing comments (just brainstorming) to these facts are italicized:

    -Kirk and Potter were strangled with a ligature, so that avenue of potentially tying this crime to the other, which I postulated above, is closed. One of the girls had also been beaten. As an aside, an interesting correlation - that might mean nothing - between this and the Tedford/Stearne case is that neither set of victims was sexually assaulted, and both were found fully clothed. Perhaps more intriguing is that the girls were found in a conspicuous side-by-side position, which is how, I believe, Tedford and Stearne were discovered in 1973. Police found this careful positioning reminiscent of a motorcycle gang killing.

    -Examination of the girls' stomach contents indicate they were murdered within three hours of their last meal, which occurred between 5 and 6 pm on October 1st, 1971.

    -Police at the time believed the killer(s) picked them up hitchhiking. They suspected the girls may have used the money given them by their foster home supervisor for bus tickets for cigarettes, because found on one girl's body was a pack of Export A's with four cigarettes missing.

    -Their bodies were found in a gravel pit "3 miles north of Liverpool Rd./401", so somewhere around Taunton Rd. and Brock Rd. Looking at GoogleMaps, there is something that appears like it might be a gravel pit southwest of the Taunton/Brock intersection, but who knows?

    -"Tests conducted at the Centre for Forensic Sciences showed flecks of auto body paint in colours...(orange, yellow, red, and pale green)...most likely used by youthful hotrodders. Light engine oil and grease were also found on the girls' clothing, (hands), and on the soles of their shoes...Also found were round blobs of metal consistent with welding". These discoveries led police to theorize the girls were killed at a garage, auto body shop, or general car repair shop, or at a motorcycle or car club. Or they thought the girls might have been transported in the back of a van or truck. Police at the time appealed for the public's help in locating such a site.
    Investigators were stymied by the discovery of tiny crystals on the sole of Potter's foot. Tests determined they were composed of silicon, aluminum, iron, and titanium, but could not conclude their origin. My question is, if the girls were found fully clothed, and we assume they were not sexually assaulted, and thus never naked in the presence of their killer(s), of what importance are crystals on one of the girls' (bare?) feet? I guess they're just trying to cover all the bases.
    Further tests on the clothing showed both girls had bled, and the direction of some of the stains indicate they were standing up at the time. There were also soil stains indicating the girls may have been dragged. Blood tests "of both girls showed no signs of alcohol, carbon monoxide, barbiturates, sleeping pills, or compounds such as aspirin"

    -On the clothing of both girls were found grey, wavy hairs between 1 and 5 inches. Have these hairs been DNA tested in the meantime (I assume they're still in evidence)?

    -Police speculated the murderer would have belonged to one of four categories:
    ~Someone known to the girls.
    ~Sexual pervert, although there was no evidence of sexual attack.
    ~Someone trying to prove his mettle to his buddies.
    ~A motorcycle gang initiation ritual.


    As part of their investigation, police questioned 225 known perverts, and took over 2,000 statements from people in the area where the girls were last seen.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrimeSolver View Post
    Thanks for you input, Richard. I agree a connection between the cases is uncertain. But this type of thing doesn't happen too often in Toronto.
    I would tend to think that sex murders involving two victims at once is indeed very rare even in cities the size of Toronto (over 5 million according to Wiki) but I could be wrong. However I do agree with Richard that statistically, events happening a few miles apart in a densely populated area is not in itself an indication that two such occurrences are related. In a small town or rural area a few miles can be considered the "same area" due to similar population profile and limited suspect pool but in a large city the same distance can be worlds apart.

  8. #8
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    Question

    Quote Originally Posted by CrimeSolver View Post
    I wonder if these girls were shot.
    Didn't the media report autopsy results at the time?

  9. #9
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    ^KarlK, it wasn't until after I wrote that single-question post that I managed to do more intensive media research on the case (read post #6). Up to that point, I was relying on only Google-cached data on the case, which is negligible. As it happens, the girls were strangled with a ligature, not shot.

  10. #10
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    Titanium alloy (the crystals found on one of the girls feet) are a clear indicator that they were in an autobody/motorcycle workshop. Obviously at some point, she had taken her shoes off and just because they were found clothed, doesn't mean they had not undressed as they could have gotten dressed again. I hope a rape test was a the very least performed. Motor oil on their hands indicates they might have been on all fours at some point. One girl beaten, both girls strangled. Hmm, was the older one the one that was beaten?

    So what we have is the following:

    1. No evidence girls rode the bus
    2. Evidence indicating they were hitchhiking
    3. Evidence of an older killer (grey hairs)
    4. Evidence killer worked in an autobody/motorcycle shop (my money is on autobody)

    I wonder if they have gone back and done any DNA residue testing on the clothing. How far did they have to travel (from the LKP to Richmond Hill). Where were the bodies found in conjunction with the LKP?
    John 3:16

    Everyday it is my fervent prayer that these cases are solved


  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anubis View Post
    3. Evidence of an older killer (grey hairs)
    I don't post much, more of a lurker. But I did want to point out that grey hair may not mean someone older. I know a number of people who had some grey hair, or were even fully grey, by their mid-twenties. Of course, I think that would make someone stand out all the more.

  12. #12
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    Thanks for the interest and input, Anubis and Lyn1001. It would be nice if someone privy to the investigation would stop in and answer some of our questions. After all these years, I don't see any reason to keep anything close to the vest, but what do I know?

  13. #13
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    Thank you

    Hello, I knew Lee Kirk when she was at a foster home in Rexdale. We spent many hours together as kids and I recall her being very protective of me. She was a tough girl. If anyone one was being picked on or bullied, Lee would jump in to fight the battle! I also remember her waiting in the driveway of her foster home on saturday mornings waiting for her dad. She would tell me he was bringing her a bike but he never showed up. She left Rexdale for a new foster home not long before she was murdered. I've often wondered, in my older years, if this case would ever be solved. Thank you for keeping it alive.

  14. #14
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    Thank you for sharing your memories, HisFox.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by HisFox View Post
    Hello, I knew Lee Kirk when she was at a foster home in Rexdale. We spent many hours together as kids and I recall her being very protective of me. She was a tough girl. If anyone one was being picked on or bullied, Lee would jump in to fight the battle! I also remember her waiting in the driveway of her foster home on saturday mornings waiting for her dad. She would tell me he was bringing her a bike but he never showed up. She left Rexdale for a new foster home not long before she was murdered. I've often wondered, in my older years, if this case would ever be solved. Thank you for keeping it alive.
    BBM: That breaks my heart............

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