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Author Topic: Barbara Stoppel - Unsolved Murder (Winnipeg 1980)  (Read 32895 times)

Chris

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Barbara Stoppel - Unsolved Murder (Winnipeg 1980)
« on: April 06, 2007, 12:29:47 AM »
The Barbara Stoppel Murder
At approximately 8:45 p.m., on December 23, 1981, 16-year old Barbara Gayle Stoppel was found strangled in the woman?s washroom of the donut shop where she worked as a waitress after school. Several witnesses, who observed a suspicious male leaving the women?s washroom and exit the store only seconds earlier, found her body. She was immediately rushed to the St. Boniface Hospital where she was put on life support, however due to a lack of oxygen it was determined that she had suffered massive brain damage and she died a few days later when her life support systems were disconnected.

The male seen leaving the donut shop was variously described as being a white male, 21-30 years old, brown hair, scruffy looking, scraggly sideburns, poor complexion with some noticeable acne pimples or pock marks on the left side of his face, brown mustache, tall, slim build, wearing prescription glasses, a dark brown or black cowboy hat, a  dark coloured waist length coat, blue jeans and round toed or cowboy boots. A composite drawing of the suspect was prepared by a police sketch artist and circulated to the media.

One of the witnesses who observed the suspect inside the donut shop followed him around behind the shopping centre and across the Norwood Bridge where there was a confrontation. Unfortunately, the suspect escaped, but not before he threw a box, some gloves and some extra twine used in the killing, over the railing. It is believed that the suspect may have lived in the area and sought revenge on Barbara for some perceived wrong.

Investigation determined that the braided green and yellow nylon twine used in the murder was unique and may have been used as shot line for pulling wires through conduits in underground hydro or telephone installations. It was originally believed that the twine came from a producer in Washington State and as such police centered their investigation on the west coast. However, a recent analysis of the twine confirmed that it contained a chemical tracer used by a former Portage la Prairie rope manufacturer named Berkley Twine.

Based on the original belief that the source of the twine was along the west coast, the police identified Thomas Sophonow, a 28-year old Vancouver resident who frequently traveled to Winnipeg as a possible suspect. He was similar in appearance to the composite drawing and was in Winnipeg on the night of the murder. He was eventually charged with the crime, however in 1985 after three trials, the Manitoba Court of Appeal acquitted him of the murder. On June 8, 2000, Jack Ewatski, Chief of Police, exonerated Sophonow of any wrongdoing after an internal analysis of the case determined he was not responsible.

As a result of Chief Ewatski's exoneration, a Public Inquiry was called by the Minister of Justice to determine how the Justice system may have prosecuted an innocent man. The Inquiry, chaired by former Supreme Court Justice Peter Cory, released its findings earlier this year and made several recommendations on to improve police procedures.

The case currently remains unsolved and anyone with information as to the identity of the true suspect is requested to contact police.

If you have any information about this case, please contact Crime Stoppers at 786-TIPS (8477), or e-mail Sgt. Al Bradbury and Det. Jon Lutz of the Cold Case Homicide Unit.

The Commission of Inquiry Report into the Investigation and Prosecution of Thomas Sophonow is available online at the Manitoba Department of Justice.
   
 
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kindheart

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Re: Barbara Stoppel - Unsolved Murder (Winnipeg 1980)
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2008, 06:29:06 PM »
Man not allowed to read son's suicide note

Watchdog rules that releasing letter would invade privacy of son, an accused serial killer who died in Victoria in '05
 
Lindsay Kines, Times Colonist
Published: Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The father of a suspected serial killer has been denied a chance to see his son's suicide note.Afton Arnold, 71, said in a telephone interview from Ontario on Monday that he asked for a copy of the note after his son, Terry Samuel Arnold, 42, took his own life in Victoria in March 2005.At the time, Terry Arnold was the prime suspect in the 1981 unsolved murder of Winnipeg waitress Barbara Stoppel - a crime for which Thomas Sophonow was wrongly convicted and served time in prison.

Victoria police said Arnold left a note in which he denied killing anyone, but the note has never been released.

"In order for me to put it behind me, I've got to get it," Afton Arnold said. "I've got to get a copy." But, in a recent ruling, the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for B.C. upheld the chief coroner's decision to deny the father's request on the grounds that releasing it would unreasonably invade the dead son's privacy. The suicide note sheds light on the son's state of mind before he died, and thus contains personal information about his medical or psychological condition, senior adjudicator Celia Francis wrote in an order posted last week on the privacy commissioner's website.

"While I sympathize with the applicant's wish to understand why his son died and to put this sad event behind him," she says, "his motives, while undoubtedly sincere, do not in my view overcome" the requirement to protect the son's right to privacy - even in death.
Afton Arnold disagrees. "They're dead wrong," he said. "I don't believe they have any right to do that. I mean, I'm his father. How can they stop me from reading his last letter?" Afton Arnold said he continues to have "grave doubts" about his son's death, and wanted to compare the handwriting in the suicide note with other letters that Terry Arnold had written to him.

"Why are they hiding it?" he asked. "They say to protect. Protect who? I even told them that if there's anybody mentioned in there that's going to hurt anybody, to take that out of it and send it to me."He added: "The kid's dead. He killed himself. Maybe." Victoria police announced in March 2005 that officers had found Terry Arnold dead in his apartment. Police said Arnold had written a note in which he denied killing anyone and blamed media harassment for his suicide.

 
http://www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/news/story.html?id=a806e4fc-fb51-4aa4-94a2-e41596dd399e&k=71341

Chris

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Re: Barbara Stoppel - Unsolved Murder (Winnipeg 1980)
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2008, 06:58:13 AM »
What do they have to hide? Why would they deny his fathers request?

This smells like a coverup and since it is in BC, the coverup captail of Canada, I am very very suspicious.

This note obviously contains some valuable information.

D1

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Re: Barbara Stoppel - Unsolved Murder (Winnipeg 1980)
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2009, 08:55:50 PM »
From Kelly Cook unsolved?
http://www.unsolvedcanada.ca/index.php/topic,53.msg26377.html#msg26377

Quote
I recall seeing a photo of Barb Stoppel on the internet at one time wearing a figure skater outfit. That connection always struck me.

Anyone have a copy of that picture? A side by side of Barb in her skaters out fit and the skater targetted in Kelly's murder I think would be hard to ignore. Two consecutive murders, both figure skaters..
« Last Edit: May 23, 2009, 12:58:12 AM by D1 »

debbiec

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Re: Barbara Stoppel - Unsolved Murder (Winnipeg 1980)
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2011, 05:32:08 PM »


December 23, 2010 marked 29 years since Barb Stoppel was murdered.

ferris

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Re: Barbara Stoppel - Unsolved Murder (Winnipeg 1980)
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2011, 05:30:27 PM »
I was living in a small town at the time of this murder and clearly remember the picture of Barbara in the paper, very close to my age at the time and so pretty and to this day she still  comes to mind.  Somewhere in about that time, i was walking home from school and a pickup truck stopped and asked me where the nearest gas station was, which was clearly visible.  When i approached the vehicle I noticed the younger person in the passenger seat (about 14-15) had a cloth wrapped around either of his hands and didn't make any eye contact with me.  I backed away and pointed to the gas station.  This still scares me to this day......was it something or nothing? Probably nothing, just a shy teenager and maybe the driver really didn't see the gas station.  Then years later after moving to Winnipeg, i met a relative of hers (in passing).  I knew exactly the donut place where she was murdered and every time i passed it, i would think of her and her poor family and friends.  I hope they have found some peace in their hearts.

Chris

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Re: Barbara Stoppel - Unsolved Murder (Winnipeg 1980)
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2011, 11:47:29 PM »
Quote
Probably nothing, just a shy teenager and maybe the driver really didn't see the gas station.

Wow taht is weird. Small towns everyone knows someone, and gas stations are pretty easy to find.

It also is a very good chance the man saw a young lady and thought he'd try to size her up. Could also explain why the young guy would not look, his father might have done that a lot.

It must have been a spooky experience back in those days, when something like that happened.


MSprenkels

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scotsquine

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Re: Barbara Stoppel - Unsolved Murder (Winnipeg 1980)
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2011, 04:21:04 PM »
Ferris - The two people in the truck, could it have been Arnold and his younger brother Lynn?

MSprenkels

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Re: Barbara Stoppel - Unsolved Murder (Winnipeg 1980)
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2011, 05:31:26 PM »
http://www.gov.mb.ca/justice/publications/sophonow/intro/factual.html

Lots of solid and well collaberated info on this site..

D1

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Re: Barbara Stoppel - Unsolved Murder (Winnipeg 1980)
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2011, 01:19:31 PM »
I met Barb Stoppel back in the summer of 1981. I witnessed an event and was  told a story by her that has importance to her murder and may have a bearing on some other cases as well. I've posted a brief summary before but I am leaving a more detailed accounting of that encounter here.

D1

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Re: Barbara Stoppel - Unsolved Murder (Winnipeg 1980)
« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2011, 12:36:36 PM »
Seeking anyone from Winnipeg who knew Barb Stoppel and who may be able to provide details of her work activities for the year leading up to her murder. In the above story I left it as being 1981 but I attended the Armstrong fair for several years and my own personal circumstance could just as easily fit with 1980. There are enough details left here that should be able to determine that.

That young girlfriend for instance who visited Arnold at the Armstrong fair. 

ferris

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Re: Barbara Stoppel - Unsolved Murder (Winnipeg 1980)
« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2011, 03:42:20 PM »
Scotsquine:  I have asked myself that question many times.  It seemed to me that the man driving was older, however 25 appeared old to me at the age i was back then. 

lostlinganer

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Re: Barbara Stoppel - Unsolved Murder (Winnipeg 1980)
« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2012, 01:28:03 PM »
ain't that the truth..... I think police got a little more credit than they deserve in the beginning.... they didn't do a smart or honest investigation in any way, shape or form.  The hardest work they did was mold a case against the easiest target... the least work they had to do, the better.  I don't think Arnold tricked them.  I think they (like all cops) are leary about real homicidal maniacs.  They prefer easier targets - someone a lot more tame and less danger to them.  If they had any guts, they could have made the job a lot easier by going after the real killer.  Bet they are sorry now.... and all that crap at the tax payers expense! 

They definitely didn't do right by poor Barbara Stoppel or her family.  I really wish the day would come when all cops jjand LE, who take part in such travesties of justice, loose their jobs and their pensions.  Then maybe we wouldn't have thousands of unsolved casesm and billions of tax dollars spent on wrongful convictions.  The bottom line here never changes.  Our justice system (just us system) serves the cops, the judges, the politicians and the rich man.  Will we ever see the day that all the former are held accountable.  .... not as long as we have a government the keeps everything they do ... right or wrong .... under wraps.  There's no accountability, no transparency in this country's system.... so how can there be any real justice.  It is all a joke and another form of organized crime as far as I'm concerned.

SAP

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Re: Barbara Stoppel - Unsolved Murder (Winnipeg 1980)
« Reply #14 on: April 28, 2012, 02:35:57 PM »
I removed the link. Perhaps I should have posted that in Kelly Cooks thread instead b/c that's where Arnold is pegged for another murder and he was living in Winnipeg. Clearly, I didn't think when I posted it. It wasn't for the purpose degrading police as a "whole".
Arnold had a long string of offences behind him and it's possible police wanted to get him off the street on whatever method it took to do the job. I'd want a rapist off the street too.

The blog is written by someone who calls himself a journalist. I have no idea if he has other reasons for being a cop hater however he is clearly biased and angry sounding in his attacks on police.