Author Topic: Melissa Jane Letain - February 13, 1987 - Age 24 - Murdered - Edmonton  (Read 147221 times)

whodidit

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Re: Melissa Jane Letain - February 13, 1987 - Age 24 - Murdered - Edmonton
« Reply #15 on: August 03, 2010, 10:11:49 PM »
Does anyone recall the brutal murder of Brenda Mclenaghan in 1986 in or near Edmonton? Was the guy caught? I remember reading about it and it seems to me she was strangled with a chord or something and I think it happened in a wooded area? Does anyone know where she was found?

whodidit

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Re: Melissa Jane Letain - February 13, 1987 - Age 24 - Murdered - Edmonton
« Reply #16 on: August 10, 2010, 07:48:02 AM »
I have never seen the Genesse bridge before so I went for a drive yesterday to have a look. At this point I will stick to my previous theory that if the killer was coming from Edmonton and if had I been in his shoes, I would not have stopped in the southbound lane because as the highway countiues south off the bridge it rises and turns to the right and quickly becomes somewhat of a blind corner with not a lot of visiblity. That would seem like a very vulnerable place to stop and actually drag a body right across the other lane. Had it been me, I would probably have driven up the south side, check for traffic and then quickly hit the bridge again and stopped. Coming from Edmonton there is a fairly long stretch of road that you would be able to monitor in your mirror for lights behind you to make sure no one was going to surpise you from behind. My other thought is that the killer could've crossed the Devon bridge and then come across back roads to the genesee bridge where he would then be in the north bound lane, quickly thrown her off and then kept going.

whodidit

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Re: Melissa Jane Letain - February 13, 1987 - Age 24 - Murdered - Edmonton
« Reply #17 on: August 10, 2010, 08:17:52 AM »
I came away with more questions than answers. The question that stuck out for me was: why take such a chance as to stop on the bridge, dump a body and risk being seen? Why not dump the body on some little back road where the chance of being seen is, in my mind, a lot less? I understand the part of hoping the body would disappear beneath the ice, but looking at the recovery video, the ice appears to be snow covered and thus frozen. What I'm saying here is that there appears to be no large, open water under the bridge. This certainly all appears to be planned to some extent, if the killer was hoping for the body to disappear, wouldn't he have scouted the area in broad daylight first? To make sure the river below was in fact open, and in the process see that it was not thawed. Why take such a chance?
Maybe he was just stupid? It made me wonder if he had planned on hanging the body from the bridge railing but it didn't work out for him (horrible thought, but the rope appears long enough) If he did plan on hanging the body from the bridge then, why? To taunt the police? To punish Melissa? To punish someone very close to her? Just more questions that need answers. I have never heard mention of the fact there is a minimum security prison only nine mile southwest, across country from the Genesee bridge. It's now closed but it was open for business in the 80's right up until Apr 2009. Interesting indeed!

whodidit

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Re: Melissa Jane Letain - February 13, 1987 - Age 24 - Murdered - Edmonton
« Reply #18 on: August 11, 2010, 08:37:00 AM »
Ok, after watching the recovery video over and over again I've now come to believe that the killer had full intention of dumping the body into open water below. In the video one can see only one or two spots that "appear" to be open water, the rest of the width of the river is covered with snow, thus froze over. There is no water visible whatsoever on the upstream side of the bridge, only a couple of smaller spots around two of the pillars on the downstream side. On a cold and somewhat foggy February night, that river valley is darker than the inside of a cow, the killer would never have been able to see where the river "appeared" to be open. He had to have been there sometime earlier on, whether the day before or even days before, to scout the place. Not only that, he would have somehow marked or measured off exactly on the bridge deck where the water was open below. The open water target below was small and in the pitch blackness he would never be able to see it, especially when I'm sure he was in one hell of a hurry. The planning that went into this is eerie, I cannot for the life of me understand why this hasn't been solved yet. It's pretty obvious the guy knew her and that she was the target
One would think that somebody would have seen this guy scoping the bridge out, maybe driving slowly over it and getting out to look below or walking across it

whodidit

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Re: Melissa Jane Letain - February 13, 1987 - Age 24 - Murdered - Edmonton
« Reply #19 on: August 12, 2010, 08:08:40 PM »
After some digging through old archives, this is what I came up with in regard to Brenda Mclenaghan:
Jan. 12, 1986. Brenda McClenaghan, 20, was abducted as she got in her car after visiting a lounge at the Convention Inn on the Calgary Trail. Her body was found two weeks later on the outskirts of the city by a man walking his dog. She had been raped, tied to a tree and strangled.
This case was eventually solved, some guy from Ontario was convicted.

bestcho

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Re: Melissa Jane Letain - February 13, 1987 - Age 24 - Murdered - Edmonton
« Reply #20 on: September 05, 2010, 10:02:39 AM »
There are obviously some very odd facts about this case, and just as many theories as to what occurred that evening.  Interestingly, though, Everyone close to Melissa were (i assume), extensively interviewed with no concrete info arising. Thus, leading one to believe that the person is either a complete stranger or someone with an arms length connection as previously mentioned.  Another point may also be some things that were not recovered. Odd little mementos perhaps?. As we worked on the ice that day, it was evident that personal things were missing. Things that the RCM Police have not divulged(and as such, I don't think it would be proper for me to do it). Not even the type of vehicle involved, (which they likely know due to paint chips). Or whether they are looking for one or perhaps more suspects, (which should be apparent based on DNA evidence).
As all my notes were turned over to the RCM Police, I don't remember the exact weather that night Melissa went missing. As such, I can't comment on what the visibility would have been that night. As the entire occurrence happened on the upstream side of the bridge, and faced south, with a full moon, the visibility may have been quite good.  Standing on the bridge the following morning, it appeared that there were two bits of open water. one very near the shore, and one at nearly the center of the bridge. That she was dropped near the center, would indicate to me that visibility was at least fairly good.  Additionally, even in the daylight, the water under the bridge appeared to be open, even though it was not.  There was a two layered opening. That is to say that there was water flowing over another layer of ice submerged about eighteen inches below it. Her body was only partially submerged, which allowed us to collect many samples but also did not wash away what is likely valuable evidence. From what we could see, there were no obvious signs such as cuts, bruising or swelling or injuries other than those already mentioned.  Perhaps the release of some of this info, might jog a few memories.....Lets hope

Chris

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Re: Melissa Jane Letain - February 13, 1987 - Age 24 - Murdered - Edmonton
« Reply #21 on: September 05, 2010, 10:39:41 PM »
I do hope so. This case seems to solveable IMO.

A Pink Flower

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Re: Melissa Jane Letain - February 13, 1987 - Age 24 - Murdered - Edmonton
« Reply #22 on: October 21, 2010, 04:49:57 PM »
Hey everyone. I'd like to introduce myself as a member of Melissa's family. I have been interested in the details of this case for quite a long time. From what I know from talking to family, there are a few interesting facts that have not been mentioned. February 13, 1987 was Friday the 13th (and also a full moon I guess as someone already mentioned). It was also the day before Valentines day (which someone also already mentioned.) Our family has kept a record of all the print news stories about the case and also a few similar cases around the same time. One of the things about Melissa's murder that bothers me the most is this that on her way from work, Melissa was carrying home some Valentine cards she received. Apparently the Valentine cards were destroyed by either the RCMP or the Police because they were deemed insignificant. Those Valentines could have have DNA on them or one of the cards could have been from the killer himself. Throughout the case the RCMP and Edmonton Police had been arguing about who should investigate the case because the body was found outside of Edmonton but the people involved were from Edmonton and that is most likely where she was kidnapped. Now speaking about kidnapping, I don't think that she was kidnapped. I believe that the person who killed her was someone she trusted (as someone already mentioned) and my theory is that this person she trusted offered to give her a ride to meet her sisters (they were supposed to meet that night) who were at a restaurant (or maybe it was a bar they were at.) As you can probably guess, Melissa never made it to see her sisters one last time. Well anyways the Letain family has not contacted the Police on solving the case any time recently because yes it would be great to have the murder solved, it will only bring up a sadness that we all have kept with us since Melissa left. Thank you all for your insights on the case.

SAP

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Re: Melissa Jane Letain - February 13, 1987 - Age 24 - Murdered - Edmonton
« Reply #23 on: October 21, 2010, 05:11:51 PM »
Welcome Pink Flower. I'm sorry for your loss and do hope you will have some answers soon. My heart is with you all.
You have brought up some very interesting points...the Valentine cards...if the Police had them at one point, do you know they destroyed them? I am under the impression they keep a container of the victims possessions until the case is solved, at least that's the way it should be. I too think that a card would hold prints and possible clues. If they did destroy them, it wouldn't be the first time in Police history that possible evidence was destroyed. Possibly evidence was destroyed while the two Police depts were arguing whose case it was. >:(
Also you say you feel she knew and trusted the person she accepted a ride with...do the Police have a list of people whom she knew well, as well as possibly more recent acquaintances? Or even if family don't know, maybe friends can remember if she met someone in their outings that may have made a sort of impression?
I wish your family some closure, and peace.

A Pink Flower

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Re: Melissa Jane Letain - February 13, 1987 - Age 24 - Murdered - Edmonton
« Reply #24 on: October 21, 2010, 05:27:15 PM »
I don't know 100% that the cards were destroyed but from what I hear from Melissa's mother, they were destroyed. Yes the Police have a list of people she knew and trusted. Most of those people were interviewed multiple times and they did have some suspects back in the 80s and then again in the 90s but as far as we know, they don't have any current suspects. A few years ago the police gave us an update on the case but it was mostly what we had already known. There isn't much evidence that could help them find the murderer because the DNA that they do have does not match anyone in the database. There is a police officer with the Edmonton Police who is in charge of the case but it doesn't seem like they are interested in trying to solve the case since it was over 20 years ago. I don't mind if people share theories about what happened. It makes me feel better that there are people who still remember her.

SAP

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Re: Melissa Jane Letain - February 13, 1987 - Age 24 - Murdered - Edmonton
« Reply #25 on: October 21, 2010, 05:40:07 PM »
There were other instances near the time of Melissa's murder. The perp could have been in town for a time and moved on down the line to other places where his MO is unknown, across Canada or even USA. I would hope that Police would cross reference the DNA with other jurisdictions.
Not having a current suspect doesn't always mean they have no one, possibly just don't have enough evidence, etc.
Do you know if the family have asked the local Police whether they have cross referenced? I don't know if the data base city police use would be the same as what the RCMP use or whether it's all combined. Also wonder if USA would use the same data bases...I don't know. Perhaps this was a one time thing for the perp. Melissa is a beautiful lady and she probably had many admirers and it could have been anyone that noticed and watched her at work. I hope the work colleagues were grilled on whether they noticed anyone hanging around.

debbiec

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Re: Melissa Jane Letain - February 13, 1987 - Age 24 - Murdered - Edmonton
« Reply #26 on: October 21, 2010, 06:07:13 PM »

I've posted a picture of Melissa below.

A Pink Flower

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Re: Melissa Jane Letain - February 13, 1987 - Age 24 - Murdered - Edmonton
« Reply #27 on: October 23, 2010, 09:31:16 PM »
Do you know if the family have asked the local Police whether they have cross referenced?
No, I have no idea if the police cross referenced the DNA. It would be something to look into though.

Chris

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Re: Melissa Jane Letain - February 13, 1987 - Age 24 - Murdered - Edmonton
« Reply #28 on: October 25, 2010, 02:24:19 AM »
Sorry about your loved one. I find it is effective if the family starts to bug the police a little more about looking into this. It does seem solveable. After this much time, it is probably a good idea to start from scratch and see if they can solve it.

14 back then

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Re: Melissa Jane Letain - February 13, 1987 - Age 24 - Murdered - Edmonton
« Reply #29 on: October 28, 2010, 03:00:32 PM »
Well, I am not sure where to start, as this has been an ongoing memory for so long, would you believe that it even haunted me for close to two years. i signed in to this site as "14 back then", and now i am 38 yrs old, life of coarse has gone on, but the thought has always been there. I f I could shed some light on this at all I will, as well as my memory allows.
My actual name is Craig, and i was 14 at the time. I was not the best behaved teen, but probably not the worst. My parents made the decision to send me to an all boys private school, known for its strict influence, and a reputation for cleaning up bad behavior. I was first enrolled in '86, and continued through 87. Among many activities that the school did, snow shoeing was a main winter sport. We would set out from the school (which I should mention is about a Km away from the Genesee bridge) at a crazy early time in the day, and venture on a all day excursion of snowshoeing. The day in question was a different day, as it was our main race, where the teams were set depending on grade, and all of our families came out for the big event. I was in grade 9, and our trek was a long one, some 25kms, which would take all day to do. I cant remember how many teams there were, but we had a team of five or six. As we were virtually kids, we were sent out with an alumni adult as our guide. It was extremely dark when we left, and our route passed over the bridge, we travelled on the same side both ways. Being the little trouble maker I was, as we were crossing the bridge in the morning, I was goofing around on the railing, and ended up losing one of my gloves over the side. As I said, it was dark, and there was no way i could see it after it fell. I spent the whole day without my glove, and really hated myself for my stupidity. Forward to after a very long day of snowshoeing, it was the later afternoon when we were racing back to the school, fighting for first place and making great time. When we got to the bridge, i wanted to see if my glove was visible from the deck. It was a high bridge, now maybe not as high as I thought, but it seemed like a hundred feet. When i looked over for my glove, there she was. A sight at first I thought was a prank, and not ever expecting to see such a sight. When I saw her, I was mid sentence rambling about my lost glove, and stopped as I looked. The rest of the team must have caught on somehow, as we were all glancing down at her from above. At this point, as expected, our adult leader, made the decision to send the team back up to the school to get help. he kept myself with him, and once the team left, we went down below the bridge. You have to remeber that we were in a mode of fright, and excitement; fright that we had just found a body, and excitement as to whether this girl may be alive and need help. We came off the bank of the river onto the ice, now down on opur hands and knees as we were fearful of ice break. Crawling out to Melissa, we could only go so far. As we went further out, the ice was getting less stable, and our safety was now a concern. I rember many things, but the details would be both hard for me to explain, but I fear also difficult for any family members/friends to read. If it is needed, I will answer questions at a later time. The time that it took for the school officials to come down, and for the first emergency response eludes me, as I know it seemed like an eternity. i remeber looking up to the bottom of the bridge, where there was a catwalk(I am guessing for the original construction and maintenance) and wondering to myself if Melissa had been discarded from that catwalk, and not the road surface of the bridge. The whole time thoiughts were streaming through our minds as to what happened, and how. Then, as expected, we were removed from the premises to go back to the school. After the snowshoe race, we were on a week long break, and went back to our perspective homes. I was a wreck, i was scared, and I was playing mind games like mad. i slept in my older sisters room, for that whole week, as it was the only way i felt better. My nightmares started, foolish thoughts of the killer, and how he knew who I was. The worst was the reoccurring dream of me looking up at the catwalk, and he was there, starring down at me with a grin, like he knew he would find me. As I said before, it did haunt me for a time, and eventually stopped. I remember the police contacting me on a number of occasions, to clarify my glove being on the ice, and to get my detailed testimony. But then nothing. For years I have watched for any stories, breaks or arrests in this case. Nothing. I only stumbled across this site a few days ago, and that is where I decided to log on.
The memories of my nightmares, or the actual finding, are nothing compared to the distraught the Letain family has endured. I have always wanted to say it to them, and now is my chance if they may be on this thread; my heart goes out to you for your loss, twenty some years later wouldnt make it any easier. I have children, and i would be devasted to have to endure what you have.

I only hope one day the culprit will be caught.

Craig