Author Topic: John Crofts | Huntsville | Missing | 1998  (Read 11061 times)

Carol-Lynn

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John Crofts | Huntsville | Missing | 1998
« on: December 24, 2007, 10:40:56 AM »
http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20070315/wfive_muskoka_070315/20070317?hub=WFive

In March, 1997, Barb Anderson helped her 69-year-old brother John Crofts board a bus to Toronto from her hometown of Peterborough, Ontario. She would never see him again.


John Crofts had been a drifter -- living in men's shelters and seedy rooming houses in Toronto's downtown. Over the course of Croft's troubled life, his family had tried to care for him but mental illness had made that difficult.


Barb Anderson says she received a shocking phone call from the Ontario Provincial Police in 2001. Police told her that John Crofts was missing -- in Huntsville, Ontario. In fact, he'd been missing from there since the winter of 1998.


But why had he been in Huntsville? And why had the disappearance gone unnoticed for so many years?


The answers to those questions may be connected to a string of disappearances in the Muskoka area north of Toronto between 1998 and 1999. Four senior citizens went missing without a trace -- and their whereabouts are still unknown.


For the first time in their nine-year investigation, the Ontario Provincial Police tell W-FIVE what they think happened. "We're treating this as a homicide investigation," says Detective Inspector Dave Quigley.


Four senior citizens missing and presumed dead:

John Crofts, who was 70 years old at the time of his disappearance;
89 year-old John Semple;
69 year-old Ralph Grant;
and 77-year old Joan Lawrence.
All had something in common. They were alone in the world -- cut off from family and friends because of mental illness and old age.


No one has ever come forward with key information about what happened to them.

But all four of the seniors did share one other thing in common, a connection to a family -- the Laans -- who owned and administered Christian seniors' residences near Huntsville. The three men lived at one of these residences before they disappeared. Joan Lawrence, a local celebrity known as the Cat Lady for her dozens of cats, lived in a garden shed on the family property.


In 2003 and 2004, the Laan siblings -- Kathrine, Walter and Paul, were convicted for embezzling money from seniors who had resided at their retirement homes. The Laans had been depositing old age security and pension cheques from their elderly clients into their own accounts -- stealing from people who had died of natural causes and from the three men who had disappeared. They had never reported them missing. The Laans were given conditional sentences.


For almost a decade, the OPP have interviewed dozens of people regarding the disappearances. The police have heard many stories about what supposedly happened to the four missing seniors, and have told W-FIVE that they've thoroughly investigated the leads. "They have not been returned to family members, they have not been brought to group homes or hostels in Toronto," says Dave Quigley of the OPP.


Did the missing seniors wander into the bush? Did they die of natural causes, their bodies dumped? Or were they killed? And who, exactly, is responsible? The secret seems protected by a conspiracy of silence.


Barb Anderson, John Croft's sister just wants to know what happened to her older brother. "We want to give him a proper burial and we can't put a closure to it," she tells W-FIVE.


Dave Quigley of the OPP believes that the mystery can be solved. "We need someone to come and help us because somebody knows what happened to these people, someone knows where they are -- and I'm optimistic," he tells W-FIVE.


Barb Anderson also remains hopeful. "It's been eight years -- but I hope somebody does find some of the remains up there. Eventually they will, you know," she says.


But, until the Laans or someone else can shed some light on what happened to the missing seniors -- when they last saw them and where they were headed -- this case will likely remain a mystery.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2007, 07:02:58 PM by Chris »

capeheart

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Re: John Crofts | Huntsville | Missing | 1998
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2008, 01:59:40 PM »
This sounds like they were killing the elderly and taking their pension cheques. The police should have gotten a warrant to search the property where they were living. Betting that there is probably a graveyard of the missing persons. I mean what is wrong that people are getting away with all this, especially when they found that they were guilty already of taking cheques from the elderly. More and more across Canada the elderly are missing.  8) 8) 8)

goNgo

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Re: John Crofts | Huntsville | Missing | 1998
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2011, 08:34:27 PM »
I just stumbled across this case.  How horrible that the suspected perpetrators have never been brought to justice!  >:(

I am attaching a couple more links that I came across while poking around the case.


1)  A blog post from a local blogger.  Excellent comments and information.

Murdered old folks. Who gives a damn?
http://dwightdailynews.blogspot.com/2006_11_01_archive.html

2)  A news article about Walter Laan being charged with a home invasion near Huntsville and assaulting an elderly man.

http://www.newsdurhamregion.com/article/28759

3)  an on-line paper in Guelph reporting on the conviction of Walter Laan in 2005 for several home invasions, including one in Rockwood (near Guelph). (He was sentenced to 13 years.)

http://www.thefountainpen.com/cgi-bin/showstory?id=4298

Really, this case is totally shocking.  Where are the 4 missing seniors?????



debbiec

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Re: John Crofts | Huntsville | Missing | 1998
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2014, 04:18:38 PM »
from goNgo:
Quote
I just stumbled across this case.  How horrible that the suspected perpetrators have never been brought to justice! 

I've just finished reading this short thread. I agree goNgo. It's terrible that these people were given conditional sentences and allowed to go on with their lives. IMO those who prey on vulnerable seniors are almost in the same category as those who prey upon children.

Quote
But all four of the seniors did share one other thing in common, a connection to a family -- the Laans -- who owned and administered Christian seniors' residences near Huntsville. The three men lived at one of these residences before they disappeared. Joan Lawrence, a local celebrity known as the Cat Lady for her dozens of cats, lived in a garden shed on the family property.


In 2003 and 2004, the Laan siblings -- Kathrine, Walter and Paul, were convicted for embezzling money from seniors who had resided at their retirement homes. The Laans had been depositing old age security and pension cheques from their elderly clients into their own accounts -- stealing from people who had died of natural causes and from the three men who had disappeared. They had never reported them missing. The Laans were given conditional sentences.

debbiec

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Re: John Crofts | Huntsville | Missing | 1998
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2014, 06:12:33 PM »