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Author Topic: Melissa Jane Letain - February 13, 1987 - Age 24 - Murdered - Edmonton  (Read 124750 times)

James W

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Re: Melissa Jane Letain - February 13, 1987 - Age 24 - Murdered - Edmonton
« Reply #330 on: October 20, 2012, 09:18:14 PM »
Hi Craig. Nice to know I am not the only one who remembers Melissa.
Ok so I am the guy in the news video from the school.
 I am going to say a few things about the school and I hope that hearing these things again from a second person will put to rest some of the misconceptions on here.
 The school was NOT a prison. End of story. There was NO prison nearby. Also end of story.
 No one at the school had anything to do with the murder. To leave the school and get to Edmonton to abduct and murder Melissa would mean leaving at a time that people would see you leave. Getting back late would also draw attention. ALSO anyone who was coming to the school for the race the next day would know that there would be a high traffic count that night and would not take a chance on dumping a body.
 If I remember correctly the night before was a fairly clear one, and it was warm for Feb as well.
 The bridge itself had a sidewalk on the sides of it with a railing between the walkway and the roadway.
 Taking a student out on the ice to see if they could help is not a suspicious act at all in these circumstances because at St Johns your taught to do the right thing. In this case trying to help. Plus it was the 1980s, dont try to put todays morals on yesterdays events.
 The glove was indeed school issue. We all had the same kind and our number was sewn on it to identify it in the laundry. Carrying extra socks was also normal because if you have ever had wet feet in winter you know that all you want is dry feet.
 That is it for now. It took me almost two hours to read this whole thread. Feel free to ask me any questions you want but lets focus on the facts here. A terrible thing happened to a beautiful young woman and only through the grace of God her body was found. Had we not found her that day I dont know if she WOULD have been found truth be told. As was stated earlyier, we left the school for about a week after and then when we came back we were gone again out in the bush on a dog run or a winter camping trip. To Melissa's family I again give you my condolences and I hope that one day this will be solved and you can have the peace you deserve.

SAP

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Re: Melissa Jane Letain - February 13, 1987 - Age 24 - Murdered - Edmonton
« Reply #331 on: October 21, 2012, 12:08:33 AM »
Thank you James for weighing in. I too think we went way off track here for some reason. I never heard anything untoward about the school and what happened there. My cousin's boy went there and that was mainly b/c his dad wanted him to get stronger as he was a mommy's boy and very tender. He grew there, into a well rounded man. 

SAP

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Re: Melissa Jane Letain - February 13, 1987 - Age 24 - Murdered - Edmonton
« Reply #332 on: December 10, 2012, 12:30:12 PM »
Old pair of pantyhose not belonging to Melissa ... from another victim? I'm hoping they were preserved for testing.
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http://www.edmontonsun.com/2012/12/09/hairdressers-valentines-day-slaying-in-edmonton-remains-unsolved

Melissa Jane Letain unsolved February 1987 homicide. Letain was last seen leaving work at a popular West Edmonton Mall hair salon where she worked as a hair stylist on Feb. 13, 1987. She was carrying Valentine�s Day gifts for her boyfriend. It is believed someone abducted her from the walkway leading to her apartment, which was near WEM. Her body was found on Feb. 14, 1987 west of Edmonton under the Genesse Bridge on the ice of the North Saskatchewan River. She was spotted by a 14-year-old boy and his friends from the Saint John's School of Alberta. An autopsy revealed she died of asphyxiation, ligature strangulation. The killer used a hangman's noose made of 7 coils from looks like standard yellow nylon rope. Items of Melissa's never recovered was a CN Trucking key chain (a clear rectangular acrylic key chain) with a single key, a woman's gold tone watch with a rectangular face, a blue leather or leather looking woman's wallet and a green clutch purse with a gold clasp. Edmonton Sun/QMI Agency

Article

Cold cases

 
It was a cold winter night in 1987 when Melissa Jane Letain left work, carrying a rose, card and pennant in a plastic bag for a romantic evening with her boyfriend on Valentine’s Day.

She left work at Champs Elysee hair salon in West Edmonton Mall, walking home around 9 p.m., headed for the apartment she shared with her boyfriend at 17744 81 Ave.

The 24-year-old hair stylist took her normal route home along the cement walkway between houses in the area of 87 Avenue and 177 Street, unaware that a predator was stalking her movements.

Lurking in the shadows was a killer, who grabbed Letain and dragged her to a waiting vehicle, leaving the Valentine’s gifts scattered in the snow.

A woman walking in the same area later told police she became aware of the assault when she heard a groan or gurgling sound. She turned and saw a man clutching a woman and hushing her to be quiet before she was dragged away. It was the last time Letain would ever be seen alive.

Her co-workers knew something was wrong when the reliable Letain failed to show up for her 10 a.m. shift the next day. They called her boyfriend to see if they could find her, but he didn’t know where she was.

That same day, Letain’s body was found 75 km southwest of Edmonton under the Genesee Bridge on the ice of the North Saskatchewan River. She had been physically and sexually assaulted, then dumped over the bridge.

The killer used a yellow nylon rope with a hangman’s noose of seven coils to strangle his victim. A pair of old pantyhose that didn’t belong to Letain were found beside her body.

Craig Gordon was 14 years old when he attended the all boys private school near the Genesee bridge. The school hosted snow shoe races every year around Valentine’s Day. The races began early in the morning and crossed over the Genesee bridge.

On the morning of Feb. 14, 1987, Gordon set out with his team of six classmates for the 25 km trek that would take all day to complete. He lost one of his gloves when he was goofing around on the bridge railing, but he couldn’t see where it fell due to the morning darkness.

Later that day, Gordon and his group crossed back over the bridge on their way back to school. He looked over the railing to see if he could spot his glove. It was lying in the middle of the ice, along with the body of a young woman.

“From first glance you could tell that something was seriously wrong with the situation. The way she looked was disturbing,” said Gordon, noting there was a yellow rope and some other items in garbage bags that were strewn around the body. A pair of pantyhose was tied to the opposite end of the rope.

The rest of the team went back to the school, but Gordon, with the adult chaperone, headed down below the bridge to try and reach the lifeless woman. The pair attempted to crawl on the ice on their hands and knees, but the ice was too soft. There was no way to reach the body other than to call police. Gordon had no doubt the girl was already dead.

“It was sickly disturbing,” said Gordon, who spent the week with his family in Edmonton following the discovery of Letain. “I was a wreck. I slept with my sister the whole time when I was home. I had dreams and mind games just playing with my head that the guy saw us or the guy knew it was us that saw the body. I was fortunate to have a father who could sit down with me and say as much as it’s affecting you, imagine how it’s affecting the family of Melissa.”

A few Letain’s belongings were never recovered, including a CN trucking key chain with a single key, a woman’s watch, a blue leather or leather looking woman’s wallet and a green clutch purse with a gold clasp.

Her death sent a chill through the city that winter. In less than seven weeks between February and March, three local women disappeared or were found slain, including Letain. But police said none of the cases were connected.

Cpl. Rick Jané with the RCMP historical homicide unit is now the lead investigator on the case. He’s still waiting for the missing link that could lead police to Letain’s killer.

“Some unsolved are solved due to advances in forensic science and the RCMP continues to evaluate potential forensic testing as new technology emerges,” said Jané. “Unsolved homicides are often solved when a member of the public who has information about the murder makes the decision to come forward to police and provide that information.”

pamela.roth@sunmedia.ca

@SUNpamelaroth

« Last Edit: December 10, 2012, 12:34:12 PM by SAP »

Q

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Re: Melissa Jane Letain - February 13, 1987 - Age 24 - Murdered - Edmonton
« Reply #333 on: December 10, 2012, 04:54:59 PM »
Garbage bags, yellow rope, pantyhose, and other items in the garbage bags strewn around the body...

Does the culprit really not know that the river freezes in the the winter?  If he was trying to get rid of evidence, why not just dump body then burn all other items like the rope, pantyhose and the items in the garbage bag?  That sounds like an awful lot of stuff to throw into the river if his intention was really to get rid of evidence.  What's his true intentions? 

One guy alone managed to drag Melissa into the car and drive away without drugging or knocking her out first?  Was there any signs of drugs intake or concussion when they found her?  If she was conscious and the culprit was driving I can definitely see her freaking out and punch and kick the culprit while he's driving correct?  If there's no sign of any of the above then I would venture to believe that there's at least 2 culprit.

Something I want to point out is that the hangman's noose has a variation used commonly in fishing as well and Genesee is a good area for fishing.  The culprit could potentially be an avid fisherman. 

debbiec

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Re: Melissa Jane Letain - February 13, 1987 - Age 24 - Murdered - Edmonton
« Reply #334 on: December 10, 2012, 05:14:52 PM »
Quote
Something I want to point out is that the hangman's noose has a variation used commonly in fishing as well and Genesee is a good area for fishing.  The culprit could potentially be an avid fisherman. 


It would take reading through the entire thread to understand what's been discussed. I recall there was a lot posted in regard to the rope.

SAP

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Re: Melissa Jane Letain - February 13, 1987 - Age 24 - Murdered - Edmonton
« Reply #335 on: December 10, 2012, 05:21:16 PM »
One perp could have subdued Melissa long enough to put the noose on and tie the rope end to her bent leg, at the ankle. (with hands bound as well). They did get dna but have no match, suggesting the rapist/killer was from another area. The sob got away with it!

Ragtop

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Re: Melissa Jane Letain - February 13, 1987 - Age 24 - Murdered - Edmonton
« Reply #336 on: February 08, 2013, 08:33:56 PM »
Where can one find the composite sketch that was published in the newspapers back then of a possible suspect.  This case disturbed me a great deal, as I was a single mother, working in the restaurant of a hotel on Stony Plain Road at that time, and my brother called me on the night of February 14, 1987 and asked me to have someone from the hotel to walk me to my car after my shift.  My child and I lived with that brother at Edmonton Beach, so it all hit close to home.  Also, at that time I knew someone who looked like the composite sketch, and I did call crime stoppers back then about it.  Guess it never went anywhere.

kdngirl

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Re: Melissa Jane Letain - February 13, 1987 - Age 24 - Murdered - Edmonton
« Reply #337 on: July 23, 2013, 01:12:50 PM »
I too am brand new to this.  I have never forgotten this murder although I couldn't remember a name, etc.  At the time of the murder I lived down the street from WE Mall.  My townhouse faced a little stripmall with an old empty Safeway in it.  Also, that mall had a bar located in it.  I could look out my front window and watch that bar.  Around that particular time, for a few days, I was getting very scared about being home alone to the point that my father and brother made sure that the doors etc were locked.  They thought I was kind of crazy but they wanted me to feel safe.  I was 27 at the time and walked everywhere as  I didn't own a car.   

I remember that night she was killed because I was going through some things and not feeling too sane.  I remember turning off all the lights and lying on the floor looking out the window at the parking lot and watching the comings and goings.  I remember this one particular vehicle parked in the lot with someone sitting in it.  It scared me and gave me the creeps.  I remember it was an old camaro although I believe it was a dark colour but it was at night and the parking lot was dark.  It has always bothered me that I never contacted police about it.  I guess I'm another one of those people that just never believed that what I could tell them would mean anything.  However, it has bothered me to this day.

My father worked nights at that time.  I remember he brought the paper in and showed me the story about the murder and that she disappeared so close to where we lived.  It kind of freaked him out that I had been talking about being scared when I never had before.  To this day we both believe that I was picking up on some weird vibe out there.  It sounds so crazy even today to talk about that weird scared feeling I felt for several days.  My hope is that now that I have put this out there I can release it.  It's one of those things that just stays with you.  I've carried that little bit of information with me all those years that I still feel means nothing but I never told anyone.  i can't say I knew anything more about the case until now after reading the threads.  It was the Thorncliffe mall - across from Thorncliffe school.  I never forgot and something every once and while comes up in my head about it and why didn't I tell the police about that. 

Alder

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Re: Melissa Jane Letain - February 13, 1987 - Age 24 - Murdered - Edmonton
« Reply #338 on: July 24, 2013, 12:08:05 AM »
Welcome kdngirl !
Very interesting…  follow your intuition.  Something in you wants to tell this to the police, that’s what I see in what you wrote above.
The logical part of your mind tells you it’s meaningless…  but intuitively this event keeps surfacing in you…  so, once again trust your intuition and tell the police what you saw.

Annastaisha

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Re: Melissa Jane Letain - February 13, 1987 - Age 24 - Murdered - Edmonton
« Reply #339 on: October 10, 2013, 11:27:32 AM »
kdngirl - I hope that you did take the info to the police. It may be just the little tip off they need... perhaps they have a couple of good suspects but can't quite make the pieces match up...  In all press releases by the police - for any serious crime - they always say that no detail is too small. Melissa needs justice and her family needs answers. You may be able to tip the scales in that direction.

RaeH

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Re: Melissa Jane Letain - February 13, 1987 - Age 24 - Murdered - Edmonton
« Reply #340 on: December 09, 2013, 06:01:35 AM »
I'm glad to see that people are still talking about and interested in this case. It has been a few month since anyone has posted and I would really like to know if anyone has come up with any new information? Though this murder happened almost 5 years before I was born, after reading about it in the Edmonton sun in 2012 I have felt a very personal connection to the case. Another story relating to the facts of the murder of a young girl named punky is to be published tomorrow, and it reminded me of this case. I'm not sure how it hasn't crossed my mind for so long, as I was almost obsessed with it for weeks after first reading about it. I am going to try to do some digging of my own, But I would really like to know about this so called "person of interest" someone has suggested, as well as if there is any actual documentation relating Melissa's case to the case of the woman from Vegreville.

discus

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Re: Melissa Jane Letain - February 13, 1987 - Age 24 - Murdered - Edmonton
« Reply #341 on: December 09, 2013, 09:47:58 AM »
No link available, found through library search.
GREG OWENS Journal Crime Writer. Edmonton Journal [Edmonton, Alta] 10 Apr 1993: C2.

Letain's killer knows area, experts say: [Final Edition]


Author

GREG OWENS Journal Crime Writer


Melissa Letain's killer was probably a white male now in his late 20s or late 30s, says a psychological profile of the killer.

Letain, 24, was found Feb. 14, 1987, in the icy waters under the Genesee Bridge, about 70 km southwest of Edmonton.

She had been abducted while walking home from her job at West Edmonton Mall on the night of Feb. 13.

Letain was sexually assaulted and strangled with her own panty hose along with a rope that had been placed around her neck.

The profile, prepared by various police organizations when they met recently in Edmonton, says the killer probably isn't married.

He may have had one or more brief, superficial relationships with women.

The suspect likely resents direction of supervisors on the job or criticism by friends, family and neighbors

". . . this tendency may well have generated disputes resulting in an erratic employment record and/or family or neighborhood disputes."

The killer was familiar with West Edmonton Mall and the nearby area where Letain was abducted. He may still reside in or near the area.

Profilers believe releasing more than this amount of information may overwhelm anyone in the public who might be able to help.

Police are still checking several leads but are hoping for more.

"Investigators hope it will prompt somebody's memory or someone may recognize the traits of the suspect," said RCMP Const. Bill Farrell, a homicide investigator working on the case.

Credit: THE EDMONTON JOURNAL


Word count: 246

debbiec

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Re: Melissa Jane Letain - February 13, 1987 - Age 24 - Murdered - Edmonton
« Reply #342 on: December 09, 2013, 09:59:32 AM »
Thanks discus. :)

I find it's helpful to see where an article originates from. Date it was written, source, etc.

discus

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Re: Melissa Jane Letain - February 13, 1987 - Age 24 - Murdered - Edmonton
« Reply #343 on: December 09, 2013, 03:47:08 PM »
The newspaper articles are from in the 1990's.

In the case of  Brenda McClenaghan, this man "Roy" who confessed to the crime, is this the same Roy Sobotiak from Susie's case? Most likely not I just thought it was strange no last name was used.
One letter went to Reg Tame of Brandon, who had been in town with his brother Roy, 35, to buy a car. Reg knew Roy had been convicted of a vicious rape in Brandon. When Reg asked Roy about Brenda, Roy confessed and the city police were called in.

discus

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Re: Melissa Jane Letain - February 13, 1987 - Age 24 - Murdered - Edmonton
« Reply #344 on: December 09, 2013, 04:26:33 PM »
THE SLAYING OF SUSIE: [FINAL Edition]
Author
DIANA COULTER Journal Staff Writer
Edmonton Journal

Publication date

Jul 13, 1991

On Feb. 8, 1987, Roy Sobotiak strangled Susie Kaminsky, a 34-year-old mother of two. He then butchered the body and threw the remains in two nearby garbage dumpsters. The murder haunted Sobotiak, who could not get Susie's face out of his mind. And it haunted the police, who were not going to relax until they had the case solved.

But in the Kaminsky case, Sobotiak, then a 23-year-old unemployed laborer, had the answers. That was what was keeping him up nights. He couldn't get Kaminsky's face out of his mind.
snip
The next person to run across Sobotiak was his mother. Donalda was just coming off her shift as a waitress at the Northgate Pub in the Rosslyn Motor Inn on 97 Street near 136 Avenue. She had a headache. As she was passing through the lobby at about 1 a.m., she spotted Roy waiting there.
"He seemed overly intoxicated and high and trying to act neither one," she later testified.
Hoping that a few beers would help her headache, Donalda invited Roy into the pub. She had two, and bought him two, but he didn't touch his.
"Shortly after we got in the pub, Susan came over to our table and introduced herself to Roy. He immediately recognized her and she immediately recognized him."
Five-feet-six-inches tall with long, blonde hair and a fringe of bangs over her brown eyes, Kaminsky was an attractive young woman. At age 34, she hadn't changed much since age 16 when she first started babysitting for the Sobotiak family.
Kaminsky was the mother of two children herself now, Lisa, 9, and Shane, 14. She had been divorced from their father for about eight years. Out for a relaxing night on the town and a fan of country music, she had brought her friend, Linda King, along to the pub.
Roy hadn't seen Kaminsky since he was a child.
Outgoing and friendly, Kaminsky was eager to catch up on old times. She offered to give Sobotiak and his mother a ride home.
King later recalled that Sobotiak gave her a "funny feeling" that night. The man appeared to be "on something" like drugs or alcohol, she testified.
"Roy seemed like he was not altogether there," King told a homicide detective.
The four piled into Kaminsky's 1977 green Mustang and set off at around 2 a.m. King was dropped off first. Then the others went on to Donalda Sobotiak's home near 152A Avenue and 59th Street.
snip

Jaime Cifuentes/ `The car gave police their first clue' (G)