Author Topic: Tommy Price -13- found Feb. 03, 1958 - Murdered - Campbell River BC - Unsolved  (Read 4690 times)

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Axe killing a 50-year mystery


No motive, suspect ever discovered in teen's 1958 death in Campbell River

ROB SHAW / THE VICTORIA TIMES COLONIST
SEPTEMBER 27, 2008 01:00 AM

 
Who: Tommy (Babe) Price, 13

What: Homicide -- broken neck and axe wound to back of head

When: Last seen Feb. 2, 1958, leaving a bowling alley in Campbell River

Where: Body found Feb. 3, 1958, floating in the ocean near Campbell River's Argonaut Wharf

Tommy (Babe) Price's watch stopped at 9:26 p.m. on Feb. 2, 1958, and likely so did his life.

Four hours earlier, he'd been leaving his job at a bowling alley in Campbell River. But instead of arriving home to family at the Weiwaikum First Nation, the 13-year-old was found floating in the water the next day with a broken neck and an axe wound in the back of his head.

What happened in the four hours between when Price left work and when his watch stopped -- probably as he was thrown in the water?

The mystery is now 50 years old. The Price case remains one of the oldest unsolved homicides on Vancouver Island, according to a past RCMP Island District unsolved homicides and missing persons report obtained by the Times Colonist.

(The RCMP did not provide a more recent and comprehensive list, saying it would be unfair to the families of the victims.)

A teenager out on a fishing trip found Price's body floating offshore near Campbell River's Argonaut Wharf on Feb. 3, 1958.

At first, police thought he might have fallen into the water. But an examination by a pathologist concluded he was dead before ending up in the ocean.

Someone had broken Price's neck and left a five-centimetre gash in the back of his head, the pathologist found.

"The wound was clean, indicating it had been caused by a sharp instrument, such as an axe," the Victoria Daily Times reported at the time.

Police appealed for help from anyone who had seen Price that night. The teenager set pins at the local bowling alley in an age before machines took over the job.

He was last seen around 5:15 p.m. on Feb. 2, the Times reported. The bowling alley was only a four-minute walk from his home at the Weiwaikum First Nation.

A coroner's jury blamed persons unknown for the death of Price.

Dr. Ross G.D. McNeely told the jury Price's death had been caused by "severe injury at the back of the head and a clean cut about three inches long at the level of the ear, possibly made by a single blow, maybe by an axe or sharp instrument," the Daily Colonist reported.

Thirty-three years later, police decided to take another look at the case.

Campbell River RCMP opened a file on his death in 1991.

Detachment commander Insp. Lyle Gelinas told the Times Colonist his officers recently researched the Price file at the newspaper's request.

However, Gelinas did not return a call for comment yesterday to explain what, if anything, the RCMP discovered in its search.

Price's nephew Larry said it would be nice to get closure on the case after all these years.

Other family members and friends said they'd prefer not to talk about it because the case stirs up too many bad memories.


debbiec

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Is there a link that can be posted with this article?

Thanks,
Debbie


debbiec

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Thanks SAP. :)

SAP

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YW. These historic cases are interesting but where would be we get more info than what is posted above. BCID sometimes posted historic cases as well but many of these were before the time of the Net and not all libraries will have more info. Unless someone confesses or has a tip, this case will never get solved.

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Unfortunately I really don't know where to get more information at this time but I thought Unsolved Canada may be a good place to start. :D

SAP

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Libraries in Vancouver, possibly a large main library may have newspaper articles on microfilm. There may be posters here who have library cards and be able to get some info, however I don't know anyone off hand.

SAP

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As soon as I read about the way Tommy was killed, I thought of this monster ...

 http://www.unsolvedcanada.ca/index.php?topic=5804.msg85535#msg85535

However, Carignan only killed females iirc. He was an American who crossed the border at Vancouver.

Who would want such a young boy dead and in such a vicious manner? He was only 13 and a working boy at that. Only minutes from home. Was there someone who wanted his job?
I noticed his nickname was "Babe", and he was a handsome young boy. Was there someone jealous of him? At that age girls and boys have crushes and have favorites to look at ... in school or the community, etc. My thoughts are possibly someone jealous ... maybe a girl whom another boy liked, was having a crush on Tommy and he couldn't handle the rejection. Just guessing here. If this was a random act by a serial killer, wouldn't there be other such murders with similar MO's?

eta:
Axe murders in the '50's:
 http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/unsolved-stanley-park-babes-in-the-woods-case-still-haunts-a-city/article16122339/
This does not appear to be the same MO. Detectives think the mother killed these boys.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2014, 02:50:25 AM by SAP »

jellybean

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This is heartbreaking.  Here we have a young lad who earned a little extra money by working at the bowling alley at age 13.  A boy that any parent would be proud of.
Whomever did this, I hope their life has been miserable all of these years, and even that would not be enough punishment.

I wonder if he was murdered simply because he was native, who dared to take a job from a white kid.  I can't help but wonder.....Was the boy taunted and bullied in the past?

This case will never be solved, unless the guilty steps forward and confesses.  But I won't hold my breath.
jb

modified - rewritten to truly reflect how I feel.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2018, 08:56:46 PM by jellybean »