Author Topic: I Just found the bodies, accused says-Purdy & Staples story.  (Read 2963 times)


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I Just found the bodies, accused says-Purdy & Staples story.
« on: January 13, 2008, 12:30:47 AM »
 "People die, people get killed. It doesn't mean you're a serial killer."

I Just found the bodies, accused says Two prostitutes dead: Alberta suspect says God, rotten luck drew him to remote site

Chris Purdy And David Staples CanWest News Service
Thursday, January 04, 2007

EDMONTON - Thomas Svekla says it is a coincidence he discovered the bodies of two murdered prostitutes.He stumbled upon Rachel Quinney's body in the bush near Sherwood Park, Alta., in June, 2004, he says, then found Teresa Innes's body in a hockey bag in his pickup truck in High Level, Alta., two years later. He never looked in the bag, he says."I didn't know who it was in the package. It felt human." Mr. Svekla is now in custody in Edmonton and charged with murdering Ms. Innes and Ms. Quinney.

He says he has answered investigators' questions about both cases for hours and has repeatedly told them they have the wrong man.
"I said, 'You guys are nuts. You're just wasting your time." He has nothing against women, he insists. "I have six sisters. I love them all. I have lots of female friends."

Mr. Svekla maintains Project Kare -- which is hunting for a serial killer (or killers) who has murdered numerous northern Alberta prostitutes -- unfairly targeted him as a suspect two years ago after he reported finding Ms. Quinney's body.Detectives have shown him a list of many murdered and missing women, he says. He took a polygraph test on the Quinney case and passed, he says.The police have put many scenarios to him, Mr. Svekla says, including the notion he enjoyed having sex with his dead victims."They told me I had sex with the body, but that's sick," Mr. Svekla says. "I don't do that kind of sick stuff."

Born in April, 1968,Mr. Svekla was the youngest of seven children, the only son of a Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., couple, George and Emily Svekla. He graduated from high school, then became a mechanic, working throughout northern Alberta. He was married, had a child, but later divorced. He says he has had a number of long-term girlfriends.In June, 2004, he came to the attention of Project Kare when he told police he'd found the body of a woman in a clump of trees in Strathcona County. Mr. Svekla led Project Kare detectives to Ms. Quinney's remains.

"I became a suspect immediately. [But] I had to come forward. No one deserves to be left out in the bush like that."Mr. Svekla now says it's simply "rotten luck" he found Quinney's body. The body hadn't been there long, he says, which is why the police suspected him.He says finding Ms. Quinney was a wake-up call for him, because at the time he was hooked on crack cocaine."I thought God was saying, 'Tom, you're going to wind up dead.' God brought me to that remote location to show me if I continued with the drug use, more awful things are going to happen."

In regards to the Innes homicide, Mr. Svekla says he had just got back to his home in High Level on May 4, after being out of town for a few months. For two days, he partied at a motel with girlfriend Diane Kipling and a few other friends.On Saturday morning, May 6, he says he found Ms. Innes's body in his truck. He was shocked, he says, but refuses to say much else about it."I can't tell you details in case they find the right guy."He didn't go to the police to report Ms. Innes's body, he says, because he had been harassed so much after reporting to Project Kare about finding Ms. Quinney's body. He feared he would be sent back to jail.

"I just found the darn thing. I knew I was going to be a suspect," he says. "I don't know how she died or the condition of her body. I don't know if it was cut up or not. All I've heard was rumours from other inmates. I'm still waiting for the results from the coroner."
Mr. Svekla now says it was a mistake not to report his discovery of Ms. Innes's body. "I panicked because of Rachel Quinney. It was the wrong thing to do. I decided to hide the [Innes] body. I made a mistake."There was no way I was going to come forward when I found that body Saturday morning. I was leaving High Level that day. No plan of moving a body. I felt I had to. I needed time to think what to do."

His truck was broken down, so Mr. Svekla got a ride home to Edmonton with a family friend, taking the hockey bag with him. He says his friend had no idea Ms. Innes's body was on-board.When he got to Fort Saskatchewan, he went to stay at his parents' home, but his father was upset with him, so he stayed with his sister instead.On Sunday, May 7, someone found the body, alerted the police and Mr. Svekla was arrested. He is hurt and angry that he was turned in."It was a big betrayal, but it was better this way. Teresa got a proper burial. I didn't know what I was going to do."

Mr. Svekla now spends his days in a six-by-12-foot cell. One of his prison nicknames is "Hockey Bag," a reference to the Innes case. He says he was attacked three times before he was placed in protective custody.When not watching TV, Mr. Svekla says he reads crime novels and the Bible. "I pray," he says. "I've always been religious."

His mother Emily and sisters, Susan and Maryanne, visit him in jail. He tells them he's innocent."In my mom's eyes, I could do no wrong. She keeps telling me that I'm in God's hands now."He intends to fight the charges and implores people not to judge him just because he found himself, by chance, at the scene where the bodies of two dead prostitutes were found.

"People die, people get killed. It doesn't mean you're a murderer or a serial killer."

? National Post 2007


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Re: I Just found the bodies, accused says-Purdy & Staples story.
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2008, 06:09:24 PM »
Stumbled over body in bush, Svekla told police
Has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and interfering with human remains in the slaying of another woman

Trish Audette and Karen Kleiss, with files from Chris Purdy, David Staples and Ryan Cormier, The Edmonton Journal
Published: Wednesday, January 03, 2007

EDMONTON - Thomas George Svekla was charged Tuesday with the murder of a second Edmonton woman, which RCMP say raises the possibility they have caught a serial killer who preyed upon prostitutes. "In 2005 we came out and said a serial offender is responsible," for the deaths of sex-trade workers in the greater Edmonton area, said RCMP spokesman Cpl. Wayne Oakes. "Today ... confirms that initial belief. Now, (with Svekla) having been charged with two deaths, with a cooling-off period in between, that does fall within the definition of a serial offender. A serial killer."

Svekla, 38, was charged with second-degree murder Tuesday in connection to the killing of Rachel Quinney, 19, a sex-trade worker whose body was found in a grove of trees northeast of Sherwood Park in the spring of 2004.Court documents indicate Quinney was killed between May 25 and June 11, 2004, in or near Edmonton or Fort Saskatchewan. Between the same dates, Svekla is accused of interfering with human remains by mutilating Quinney's body and improperly disposing of it. Svekla will answer to the new charges Thursday morning. He has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and interfering with human remains in the killing of Theresa Merrie Innes, 36. A preliminary hearing on those charges is set to begin Monday.

The causes of the women's deaths have not been released.Over the course of several interviews with the Edmonton Journal since his arrest last May, Svekla has denied killing anyone. "I'm not that person. I'm not a killer. I'm a good person," Svekla repeatedly said. He said he stumbled upon Quinney's body in the bush near Sherwood Park in 2004 and found Innes's body bundled in a hockey bag in his pickup truck in High Level two years later.

He said it is simply a coincidence he discovered the bodies of two murdered sex-trade workers.


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Re: I Just found the bodies, accused says-Purdy & Staples story.
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2008, 06:12:10 PM »
January 10, 2007

Svekla charged in second prostitute murder

by Dave S. Clark
Wednesday January 10, 2007

Thomas Svekla, who is already facing murder charges, was charged last week with second degree murder and offering an indignity to a human body in relation to the death of Rachel Quinney, an Edmonton prostitute who was found in a field in Strathcona County two years ago. Svekla faces the same charges concerning the death of another prostitute, Theresa Merrie Innes. Because of a tip from the public, Innes? body was found in a Fort Saskatchewan home last May. Days after the discovery, Svekla was arrested and charged.

The new charges were laid because of the efforts of Project KARE -- an RCMP-led unsolved homicide and missing persons task force.
Svekla appeared in Edmonton court Jan. 4 and pleaded not guilty to both charges concerning the death of Quinney.A preliminary inquiry began on Monday at the Fort Saskatchewan provincial courthouse. Originally, the inquiry was scheduled to last three weeks but with the additional charges and Svekla?s not guilty plea, the inquiry is scheduled to last six weeks.

Columnist called to testify

Edmonton Sun columnist Andrew Hanon, who?s been called to testify in Svekla?s preliminary hearing over the alleged murder of Theresa Innes, said he saw the charges coming. ?Given the chilling conversation I had with him (Svekla) two years ago, I?m not surprised by Project KARE?s announcement,? he said. Late in 2004, Svekla asked Hanon to help clear his name in the death of Quinney, a teen prostitute whose body was found in a clump of trees in near Township Road 540 and Range Road 224 that June.

Svekla told Hanon he stumbled on Quinney?s body after taking a prostitute out to the country to do crack. He said he later told police about the grim discovery and they?d been suspicious of him since. Svekla reported finding Quinney?s body to police June 11, 2004.
Now that he is charged with two murders, police said Svekla could fall into the category of a serial killer.

?Having been charged with two deaths with a cooling-off period in between, that does fall within the definition of a serial offender, a serial killer,? said RCMP spokesman Cpl. Wayne Oakes. Last year, police announced they may be looking for a serial killer and offered a $100,000 reward for information that led to a conviction.However, Oakes stressed Project KARE?s $100,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction for the murder of someone living a high-risk lifestyle remains available.

Over two dozen bodies found since 1975