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Question:

Why are many people unwilling to provide tips to police that could solve a murder?

Author Topic: Peter Sopow & Lorraine McNab - Unsolved Murder - Pincher Creek (1997)  (Read 10870 times)

Chris

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Rifle may hold clues to slain RCMP officer
Updated Thu. Jul. 19 2001 3:50 PM ET


Ballistics experts in Calgary are hoping a rifle found in a tangled pile of junk may hold clues to the four-year-old unsolved murder of a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer.

The .22-calibre rifle was found in southern Alberta on the bed of Chin Reservoir after the water dropped lower than it's been for many years. That's less than a two-hour drive from the scene of the 1997 slaying of RCMP Sgt. Peter Sopow and his girlfriend Lorraine McNab.

At the moment, this is simply a found gun, and it would be speculation only to link it to any crime, Taber/Vauxhall RCMP Sgt. Chris Griffin told the Calgary Sun.

Sopow, 52, was shot dead along with McNab, 45, on McNab's acreage. Police believe a gunman waited in ambush for them on Dec. 13, 1997.

No one has ever been charged and until now no weapon matching the murder weapon's calibre has ever been found.

http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/1027387919331_22797119//

debbiec

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This case still remains unsolved after ten years.

Chris

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This is a real mystery. I am surprised nothing has been said about this in years. Must be a POI in this though.

debbiec

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I don't know if the rifle was ever matched Des. It's funny how in 2001 there was an article that talked about trying to match the rifle and then you never hear another word about it. That's what I find about a lot of cases.   

Chris

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I guess it did not match then. Even if it did, it would be hard to figure out the owner I soppose.

chet

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Re: Peter Sopow & Lorraine McNab - Unsolved Murder - Pincher Creek (1997)
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2009, 08:34:36 PM »
http://www.edmontonsun.com/News/Canada/2008/05/25/pf-5664766.html


May 25, 2008

Small town double murder unsolved 10 years later
Alberta teacher, Mountie boyfriend found shot
By BILL GRAVELAND, The Canadian Press


It's been 10 years since the popular school teacher, Lorraine McNab (top), and her boyfriend, RCMP Sgt. Peter Sopow, were found murdered. The case is still unsolved.

PINCHER CREEK, Alta. — The simple plaque in the middle of the small garden in front of Canyon Elementary School pays homage to a beloved teacher.

Carved in stone, it reads simply “Lorraine McNab” and includes an etching of the breathtaking Rocky Mountains that dominate the view from the picturesque town of Pincher Creek in southwest Alberta. A small cameo of a horse in the top right-hand corner completes the memorial.

Students from the popular teacher’s kindergarten class are now in junior and senior high school — a long way from the December day in 1997 when McNab and her boyfriend were found shot to death inside a horse trailer on her rural property just south of town.

The case remains unsolved despite intense investigations into the double homicide and thousands of hours of police work. But although McNab and RCMP Sgt. Peter Sopow may be gone, they are definitely not forgotten.

“I think we’re up the creek without a paddle on this one,” sighed Lorraine’s brother, Grant McNab, in an interview with The Canadian Press. “It’ll be 11 years this December and after this long we’re beginning to think this will never be solved.

“Life goes on. We all sit here and wish something could get solved. Whoever did it is basically walking around as a free man. If it doesn’t get solved I guess it goes down in the history books as another unsolved mystery.”

No murder weapon recovered

McNab left behind two children, a boy and a girl, and anxious townsfolk shocked that something so violent could happen in such a small, close-knit community.

Speculation has long been rampant about who could have committed the crime and why. Police have wondered about a local suspect. But suspicions mean nothing without evidence and investigators haven’t even recovered a murder weapon.

McNab had originally expected that the case would be wrapped up in no time, especially considering it involved a Mountie as well as his sister.

“They even said that `one of our own is involved and we’re going to get to the bottom of this,”’ remembered McNab. “It sounded like it would be in short order and here we are nearly 11 years later.

“The bottom drawer in this case must be closed, but they say ’No, no, no. We’re still working.’ Supposedly they’re waiting for modern technology or something.”

Investigation hits a dead end

Police have not given up on solving the case but they concede the investigation has hit a dead end.

“I can’t tell you that it’s under active investigation. We haven’t had anything of significance for quite some time as far as tips from the public,” said Sgt. Patrick Webb from the RCMP in Calgary.

“There are tips that come in every once in a while, but their values are not very high,” he added. “It’s a cold case. It has a special meaning for us, but is not any more special than many other cases we’d like to solve.”

Webb agrees with McNab that the best bet for solving the double homicide probably lies with technology.

“We are still holding out that future technological advances will allow us to re-examine evidence that we currently hold, and that re-examination will give us the final pieces that will get us to the point of actually laying charges.”

There’s a new resident now on Lorraine McNab’s property. The quarter-section of land she had so proudly purchased has been sold and subdivided. Her life in Pincher Creek is fading into a memory.

But her brother remembers, and he’s haunted by questions.

“Her last minute, two minutes, five minutes of her life? Was it God-damned horrific?

“I wish somebody could be arrested and then maybe we could get a couple of more questions answered,” he wonders out loud.

“Whether we want the answers? In the long run, I do.”

And if a suspect is arrested?

“He’ll never answer the question, but I would like to stare him in the eyes for a couple of minutes and have him just a little bit scared of what I’m thinking.”



chet

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Re: Peter Sopow & Lorraine McNab - Unsolved Murder - Pincher Creek (1997)
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2009, 08:50:18 PM »
“It’s a cold case. It has a special meaning for us, but is not any more special than many other cases we’d like to solve.” - RCMP Officer commenting on the case in the previously posted article.

Odd thing to say about one of their brethren gunned down, wouldn't you say?

Someone on the Melinda White thread(a woman killed in Pincher Creek, 1-2 years later I believe) suggested Lorraine McNab's ex may also have been in law enforcement. Also suggested this individual could have been a suspect in Melinda's killing, and that this individual died in a plane crash a week or so after Melinda's body was found.

Why would the RCMP not be all that hot to solve a murder of one of their own? I don't know...but maybe if the POI was ALSO one of their own...? Hmm...


chet

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Re: Peter Sopow & Lorraine McNab - Unsolved Murder - Pincher Creek (1997)
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2009, 08:58:35 PM »
http://www.lethbridgeherald.com/content/view/15271/71/


Still unsolved       
Written by Pamela Roth      
Thursday, 11 December 2008

Amber Sopow will never forget the day she received the phone call that opened a wound so deep it has still yet to heal.

On Dec. 13, 1997, the 23-year-old was at a friend’s house in Vancouver when she received an unusual message from her mother on the answering machine.

Amber knew something was wrong by the tone in her mother’s voice. When she returned the call she learned her 52-year-old father, Peter Sopow, and his 47-year-old girlfriend, Lorraine McNab, had been found shot dead inside a horse trailer on her quarter section of land just south of Pincher Creek.
The news was crippling, and even though it’s been 11 years, Amber still has problems coming to grips with the senseless murder of her father.
“I was completely shocked. I just went into a trance. I remember flying home the next morning and the people on the plane having a newspaper and it was on the front page,” said the 34-year-old, who now calls New York City home and still thinks about her father every day. “It’s like we are walking around in a daze. We are living and doing what we think we need to do in life, but it’s hard to celebrate things and have good times without thinking he should be here with us.”
According to Amber, her father, an RCMP sergeant in Fort Macleod, was supposed to be in Edmonton that fateful day to meet with the head of the RCMP. He never made it, nor would he follow through on his plans to return to B.C. for the Christmas holidays.
Peter failed to show up for work at 9 a.m. on Dec. 15. A missing person investigation was launched and less than three hours later the bodies were found by an RCMP officer at the McNab residence.
Police believe the couple, who had been dating for a few months, were murdered on Dec. 13, although their bodies weren’t found until two days later. The murder weapon, believed to be a .22-calibre rifle, has never been found and neither has the killer.

 Even though it’s believed the double homicide was not a random attack, the incident  sent a wave of fear throughout Pincher Creek.
Less than a week after the murder, police arrested a Pincher Creek man as a suspect, but later released him without laying any charges.

Police exhausted thousands of man hours in the field, utilized several different police labs from Oregon to Winnipeg, and the expertise of several specialists including an ex-FBI officer. They have re-visited evidence countless times and police dives were also made in bodies of water around the Pincher Creek and Lundbreck areas, all without any success.
By 1998, frustration had mounted and the family was prepared to offer a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. In 2001, it looked as though investigators had finally received their big break  in the form of two anonymous letters sent to them in regards to the murder. Despite pleas for the writer to come forward with more information, police never heard from the tipster again. The contents of those letters has never been revealed to the public.

The fact Peter and Lorraine’s killer has gone unpunished troubles the families, but so does the fact they haven’t heard anything from police in years. The silence has led them to believe the case has gone cold and justice will never be served.
“I don’t expect there will ever be a conviction or a charge laid. I don’t remember the last time I heard from police. It makes me feel like it’s all a lost cause, it’s in the bottom drawer of the filing cabinet and this thing will never get solved,” said Grant McNab, Lorriane’s brother. “Every year the anniversary comes up we get a little more testy. A member of our family was taken away from us and we have to deal with that for the rest of our lives. All we can do is hope and pray that maybe some day some body out there will pay the price. It would turn the page in the book and on with another chapter.”
Even though it’s been more than a decade, investigators say the case had hardly gone cold.

Staff. Sgt Sandy White, of the Calgary Major Crimes Unit, has taken over the file and said an officer just recently finished some new interviews regarding the case and tips are still being added to the thousands already received.
Police believe the suspect is still living in the area, but there has never been enough evidence to lay a charge. There are other persons of interest as well, said White, with one interview scheduled to be conducted in Great Britain. Technology may prove the ultimate tool in bringing the killer to justice.
“We are hoping science will ultimately lead to the detection of the person responsible and, unfortunately, we have to wait on science and advancements in DNA technology before we can move forward,” said White, who is hopeful the case will be solved. “It’s one of the most thoroughly investigated homicides that I am aware of. It’s expended a lot of time and effort and resources. We are still moving forward with the investigation. Certainly there should be somebody out there with information that they are fearful, for whatever reason, to come forward.”

As the days turn into weeks, months, and then years without any updates, it’s apparent Amber’s patience with investigators is wearing thin. Now that she has a daughter of her own, she can’t help but think how her father would have loved her child and how it would have warmed his heart to see the woman she has become.
“I refuse to believe that a regular person can go out and do what they did and not leave a trace. It’s been 11 years and nothing has been solved. I  think it’s utterly ridiculous,” said Amber. “It’s just a puzzle. Me and my family sit here on a daily basis thinking this doesn’t make sense. It’s very frustrating. We can’t understand why we are being kept in the dark and why this isn’t solved yet. It’s almost like they want us to forget about this.”
Although the lives of Peter and Lorraine were taken much too soon, their memories have certainly not faded.
A memorial plaque sits in the middle of a small garden in front of Canyon Elementary School, where Lorraine was a beloved kindergarten teacher.
Her brother, Grant, thinks about Lorraine nearly every day in one way or another and sometimes hears members of the community talking about the murders, wondering who has the missing piece of information and if the case will ever be solved as well.

“We always think about different things we happen to be doing and Lorraine will pop into my mind,” said Grant. “I love to talk about her. She was a good person and she’s not here anymore.”
Even though they may be miles apart, every year on Dec. 13 members of the two families stop what they are doing to hold a small candlelight memorial at 6 p.m.
It’s a tradition that brings a few moments of peace to a family that is still trying to come to grips with a horrific tragedy from more than a decade ago.
Still, the only possible outcome that would allow the family to finally heal is to receive a phone call from police, informing them they have found the killer.
It’s an outcome Amber and many other members of the family don’t believe will ever occur. It’s an outcome, at this time, that seems too good to be true.
“I don’t know how to explain the feeling. The more time goes by the more frustrated we get,” she said. “It’s been so long now. The times we shared, the times we spent together, the memory of him, it’s like a dream.”

« Last Edit: April 30, 2009, 09:02:38 PM by chet19 »

chet

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Re: Peter Sopow & Lorraine McNab - Unsolved Murder - Pincher Creek (1997)
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2009, 09:05:56 PM »
http://pincher.siteseer.ca/PrintArticle.aspx?e=1352392

RCMP to re-interview witnesses in Sopow/ McNab case
Posted 4 months ago

Eleven years have passed since the tragic murder of local kindergarten teacher Lorraine McNab and her boyfriend Sgt. Peter Sopow.

On Dec. 15, 1997 the bodies of the couple were found in a horse trailer at McNab’s home, one kilometre south of town. Both had died of gunshot wounds two days earlier.

During the early investigation 32 RCMP officers were involved in the case. More than 200 tips were reported and several major leads were given, yet 11 years on and the families of McNab and Sopow are still in the dark.

Today the case is in the hands of investigator Sgt. Della Flood from the Calgary District Major Crimes Unit.

McNab and Sopow’s murders are two of 90 unsolved homicides in the province of Alberta.

Flood inherited the case in October. She says she remains hopeful that the case will be solved and that more information will come to light on the killings in the future. Flood said she was actively looking at the case and was in the process of re-interviewing witnesses.

If you have any information on the murders you can contact Flood directly at 403 699 2640 or leave an anonymous tip with Crimestoppers 1-800-222-8477.


chet

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Re: Peter Sopow & Lorraine McNab - Unsolved Murder - Pincher Creek (1997)
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2009, 09:09:17 PM »
This is an older article, 1998, but it's the only one I've found that references a vehicle...


http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/1998/01/13/murder980113a.html


Double murderer eludes police
Last Updated: Friday, November 13, 1998 | 11:03 PM ET
CBC News

Investigators are still looking for the killer in a southern Alberta double murder.
It's been almost a month since the bodies of a veteran RCMP officer and his girlfriend were found in a horse trailer near Pincher Creek.

The victims were Sergeant Peter Sopow and Lorraine McNab. She was a kindergarten teacher who owned the property where the murder was discovered. He was a popular police officer.

RCMP Corporal Walter Coles says a former FBI agent who specializes in metals has been brought in to search the crime site. Investigators are searching for an older model red car.

Chris

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It would not suprise me if at this point, they know who probably did it, but are not able to move forward without a little more evidence. It is such a complex case yet I think the motive is easy.

Thanks for posting all this info.

Jason van Rassel

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Re: Peter Sopow & Lorraine McNab - Unsolved Murder - Pincher Creek (1997)
« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2010, 05:53:09 PM »
I usually monitor the Calgary threads, but I had a little extra time today and started reading some of others.

The RCMP definitely has a POI -- and it's not a Mountie. I won't say any more because I don't know how much was ever released publicly but I know from covering the case over the years that the POI is a civilian.

chet

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Re: Peter Sopow & Lorraine McNab - Unsolved Murder - Pincher Creek (1997)
« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2010, 06:10:03 PM »
Well JVR, you've piqued the interest yet again!
Can you possibly speak to:

Is the POI dead? In jail?
Local? Still in the area?
Same POI as Melinda White?
Reasons they cannot arrest?


Jason van Rassel

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Re: Peter Sopow & Lorraine McNab - Unsolved Murder - Pincher Creek (1997)
« Reply #13 on: July 31, 2010, 09:19:07 PM »
As it turns out, one of my predecessors at the Herald, legendary crime reporter (and now crime novelist) Rick Mofina, wrote a few stories that identified the POI. I worked at the Sun in 1998, and their crime reporter at the time, Pete Smith -- something of a mentor to me -- also knew POI's identity. However, the Infomart database I have access to doesn't archive the Sun that far back, so I can't say for sure whether they published the name or not....

Double-murder probe centres on car, gun
Calgary Herald
Sun Apr 12 1998

Rick Mofina, Calgary Herald

The gunshots fired in the murders of veteran Fort Macleod Mountie Sgt. Peter Sopow, 52, and his girlfriend, Lorraine McNab, 47, a Pincher Creek kindergarten teacher, echo in the hearts and minds of investigators trying to solve the five-month-old case.

Mounties feel they are close but aren't ready to arrest anyone.

``I can't elaborate further,'' said RCMP Sgt. Perry Kuzma of the Calgary-based major-crimes south section.

But Kuzma, who heads the investigation, will confirm that RCMP are investigating a mysterious car and the disappearance of a 22.-calibre rifle as part of an exhaustive probe into one of the most sensational multiple homicides in Alberta's history -- a case Mounties are convinced is solvable.

The bodies of Sopow and McNab were found Dec. 15, locked in a horse trailer on McNab's secluded property on a majestic site in the Rocky Mountain foothills overlooking the town of Pincher Creek, about 200 kilometres southwest of Calgary.

At about 10:30 p.m. Saturday Dec. 13, the couple returned to McNab's property after having dinner with her family.

But they made it only as far as the driveway of McNab's small mobile home when someone with a .22-calibre gun shot and killed the Mountie of 32 years with the force and McNab.

``They never even made it inside,'' Kuzma said.

He would not discuss how many shots were fired or how many shell casings were recovered.

There was no break-in, no thefts from Sopow's wallet, no sexual assault. The murder weapon has not been found.

The bodies of Sopow and McNab were dragged into a nearby horse trailer. Then the trailer's gate was locked.

On Monday, the tragedy was discovered and the hunt began as 30 Mounties from across Alberta assembled to chase leads, including one that remains crucial.

At about 6:30 p.m. Dec. 12, the night before the shootings, according to a witness, a car similar to a red or maroon 1973 Mercury Cougar was seen parked near McNab's property.

It was driven by a man with a slight build, grey hair and wearing a light brown coat with a smooth finish, according to the witness.

A public appeal by Mounties generated tips leading them to check 50 to 60 vehicles registered in Alberta and similar to the one reported by the witness. Two such vehicles are from the Pincher Creek area.

One, which turned out to be a Mustang, was cleared. The other, a red 1972 Mercury Cougar, has not been cleared, Kuzma said.

The registered owner lives in the tiny community of Cowley, 15 kilometres west of Pincher Creek. His description, according to investigators, ``is general but not inconsistent'' with the witness's description.

``The owner of that particular vehicle has not co-operated with us,'' Kuzma said.

``But we're keeping an open mind. . . . Hey, there may still be another person who occupied that vehicle that night, and maybe we haven't spoken to that person.''

Another key element is the unrecovered murder weapon.

At the outset of the case, Mounties followed the routine procedure of clearing every .22-calibre gun reported missing, lost or stolen in the area, which has involved about a dozen files. All but one have been cleared.

A .22-caliber rifle is missing from Cowley. Mounties will not confirm if the rifle and car belong to the same person, but the gun's owner was questioned on how the gun vanished.

One of the strangest twists in the case came two days after the murders were discovered. On Dec. 17, RCMP arrested and questioned -- without laying charges -- Wally Sparks, a local elementary schoolteacher who, according to his neighbors in Cowley, knew McNab.

The next day, Sparks was detained under the Alberta Mental Health Act and transferred to the psychiatric unit at Lethbridge Regional Hospital for assessment. He was released in February and lives in Cowley.

The Herald tried to interview Sparks, but he said ``I'm not interested in talking to you. I don't want to talk.''

The Herald has learned he owns, or owned, a red 1972 Mercury Cougar.


These factors are among others being studied by the investigators working in the crammed second-floor room of the Pincher Creek RCMP detachment, where the case is being co-ordinated.

Charts of data, news clippings and photos of Sopow and McNab, stare from the walls as Mounties pore over 850 files related to the case.

At least eight work exclusively on the murders.

``The toughest part is being away from home, living in a hotel all this time,'' said Const. Derwyn Lowe of the Calgary-based RCMP major-crimes south section.

Squad member Cpl. Barry Leith of the Pincher Creek detachment reached into a stuffed filing cabinet. He opens a folder as thick as the Calgary white pages.

It stems from one lead. ``It's a grinding process and all of our sympathy goes to the families. We'd like to see this come to a conclusion.''

The biggest frustration for investigators is that they have not been able to charge someone.

``Unfortunately, sometimes these investigations take time.''

But like those on his team, Kuzma believes the case can be closed.

``We do not believe this was random. We believe the murderer(s) knew the victims.''

chet

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Re: Peter Sopow & Lorraine McNab - Unsolved Murder - Pincher Creek (1997)
« Reply #14 on: July 31, 2010, 09:35:27 PM »
Thanks Jason.

Hmm.
Cursory google search confirms a man with the same name still residing in Cowley.
Does anyone from the area happen to know if there were issues between Sparks and Mr. Sopow? Or Ms. McNab?
Sparks was an elementary teacher. So was Ms. McNab I believe. Same school?
« Last Edit: July 31, 2010, 09:37:08 PM by chet »

 

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