Author Topic: Debbie Silverman (21) - Murder (Aug. 12, 1978)  (Read 52034 times)

Chris

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Debbie Silverman (21) - Murder (Aug. 12, 1978)
« on: September 24, 2007, 10:58:37 AM »
Twenty-five years ago today the body of Debbie Silverman, 21, was discovered in a shallow grave near the Village of Sunderland off Highway 12 outside of Beaverton. She was found exactly three months to the day after she had been abducted from her apartment building hallway in Toronto, Aug. 12, 1978.

Her murder is a quarter of a century old, but it's a case the Ontario Provincial Police has never closed. Investigators continue to follow up any information that comes forward.

Debbie Silverman was beautiful, outgoing, vivacious, and eager to grab onto everything life had to offer. She had a good job, lots of friends, and a nearly new maroon Cordoba. She'd gone into debt to buy the car, but felt it was worth every penny. Life was good. Debbie looked forward to a future that was full of promise and hope. And then she was gone. Snatched from a hallway near the main foyer of her apartment building at 4854 Bathurst Street, she left behind little more than some broken jewelry and broken dreams.

Toronto Police conducted an extensive investigation into her abduction. Buildings were searched, neighbours canvassed, and reservoirs dredged. Every tip was considered vital, and followed up.

When her body was discovered north of Toronto, the investigation into the abduction of Debbie Silverman quickly turned into a hunt for her killer. Because her body was found in the jurisdiction of the Ontario Provincial Police, the OPP took the lead with the assistance of neighbouring police forces. Efforts were re-doubled, but to this day her death remains a mystery. The OPP, like her family, has no intention of forgetting Debbie, or of resting until the person or persons who ended her life are brought to justice. Modern technology and new leads hold the promise that that may yet happen.

Backgrounder

Debbie Silverman lived with her mother at 4854 Bathurst St. in Toronto.

On the evening of Friday, Aug. 11, 1978, Debbie went on a double date in downtown Toronto with friends from work, returning to one of the friend's homes at approximately 2 a.m.

Between 4 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 12, she left that residence alone and headed home in her car, arriving at her apartment building, police believe, at approximately 5 a.m.

She parked her vehicle in the apartment lot and entered the building through a side entrance that opened into a narrow hallway leading to the main lobby.

Her purse and some broken jewelry were later found in the hallway.

On Nov. 12, 1978, her body was discovered by a passerby in a shallow grave on a farm near the Village of Sunderland.
Her background

Debbie Silverman had attended Grade 10 at the Hebrew School on Bathurst Street but had switched to Northview Secondary School for Grade 11.

After taking a year off to work at the Papaya Hut on Yonge Street in downtown Toronto, she returned to Northview Secondary School and graduated with her Grade 12 diploma in 1977.

She worked for a short period of time at Travelways Bus Company, Fran's Restaurant on Yonge Street, and at the Zum Rhein Restaurant at Ontario Place. At the time of her death, she was employed at Thorncrest Ford at 4865 Dundas St., West in Islington.
 

Contact Information:
Anyone with information regarding this case, is asked to contact the OPP at (905) 671-5960 , or contact Crime Stoppers at 416-222-TIPS.
 
http://www.drps.ca/internet_explorer/whatsnew/unsolvedcases_view.asp?ID=49

Woodland

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Re: Debbie Silverman (21) - Murder (Aug. 12, 1978)
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2009, 08:53:40 AM »
Have spent some time reading what I could find on this case and asking a few questions of the local historical society, due to my interest in the location Debbie was found.

If newspaper reports at the time are accurate, then Debbie's panties were also left at the side door of the apartment building she was abducted from (Bathurst and Finch area of Toronto), along with her purse, keys and a broken necklace.  A neighbor found these items early in the morning and took them to his apartment!  He kept some jewellery, folded the panties inside her purse and left the purse in front of the Silverman unit.  Debbie's sister found the purse about 11:00 am and her mother called police.

I can't help but think 2 guys were involved - how does 1 guy keep her from screaming and struggling and remove her panties?  Then she has to be put in a waiting vehicle (her car was found in her usual parking spot).  If she was knocked unconscious, it's alot for 1 person to take the time to remove her panties and then move her into a vehicle.  Would someone have taken the time to assault her at the side door of an apartment complex and then drive off with her?

It's August, about 5:00 am so the sun will soon be up.  What does he/they do now?

3 months later Debbie is found in a shallow grave on a farm, by the farmers son, located at Concession 2 in Sunderland.  The route from one place to the other is far from direct, and there were many places to have left her along the way.  Where did he/they get the shovel or whatever tool was used to dig with?  If he/they were from Toronto, did they drive all the way up there and then back?  Or did he/they live closer to the area she was found, and went to Toronto that weekend (the famous Ex would have just opened)?

6 years later the body of a little girl is found barely a five minute drive away, who was not from this area.  Why Sunderland?

« Last Edit: November 05, 2009, 09:00:38 AM by Woodland »

Woodland

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Re: Debbie Silverman (21) - Murder (Aug. 12, 1978)
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2009, 10:37:27 AM »
Have received an incredibly accurate description of the location Debbie Silverman was found from the local historian - he has been incredibly helpful.  He is trying to get one more important piece of info soon.

The legal description where her body was found is Concession 2 Lot 12 the north side, which means the exact location was accessed from Concession 3.  For anyone wanting to look this up on a map, this lot is the first one west of Highway 7-12.  C3 is the only paved east-west concession nearby and the only one that is continuous between the north-south roads, so it it widely used by those living in the area.

Debbie was taken from an apartment complex on Bathurst Street in Toronto.  Bathurst Street happens to be continuous all the way up to Queensville.  From there it's relatively easy to get to Sunderland, but not a direct route by any means.

There are no houses near Concession 3 and Highway 7-12.  There is dense bush coming right up to the road.  The land is swampy. The shoulder of the road is very narrow on the side she was left.  It would have been very suspicious to see a vehicle parked there at any time.  There was one small level opening though - where someone use to keep beehives.  One cannot see the hive area from the road, you would have to know it's there.

The information being sought now is - could a vehicle have been pulled into this level opening, and exactly how far is it from there to where the shallow grave was dug.  Swampy land is easy to dig.

To repeat a line in my last post - Christine Jessop was found on Concession 4 (one road north) and one lot west of the next major north-south road 6 years later.  I'm not seeing much that is random here for some reason - no one goes to Sunderland unless you have relatives to visit.  There are no hotels or motels, no amusement parks, no lakes or beaches and only 1 small diner.  It's mile after mile of farmland - nice, but just farmland.

I'm just thinking out loud - it would be a real coincidence if you lived in Queensville and had relatives that lived on a street that intersected with Bathurst immediately below where Debbie was taken from.  The world would then get a little smaller if the same family could trace their roots back to the same swampland where she was found.
Debbie's mother worked at a restaurant - would a regular patron get to know a little bit about her life and circumstances?
« Last Edit: November 11, 2009, 05:13:34 AM by Woodland »

Woodland

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Re: Debbie Silverman (21) - Murder (Aug. 12, 1978)
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2009, 06:25:32 AM »
Is someone able to link the following map site here?  It would be much appreciated.

The intersection of Regional Road 13 (also Concession 3) and Highway 7 and 12, in Sunderland (Brock Township, Durham Region).

Debbie's body was found just west on Concession 3, from Highway 7 & 12, on the southside.

Shwa

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Re: Debbie Silverman (21) - Murder (Aug. 12, 1978)
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2009, 09:07:31 AM »
I put in the address in Google; interesting results:

http://www.onthighways.com/hwy_7_images/Hwy7_p2d_images.htm  Scroll to the bottom of the page for images of that area.

Here is the Google map of the area, although it is not pinpointed at the location of the site where the decedent was recovered:

http://maps.google.ca/maps?hl=en&safe=off&rlz=1R2GGLL_enCA335&q=Sunderland,+ON+map&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=Sunderland,+Brock,+ON&gl=ca&ei=83_5SqnJAYeslAej4vXKDQ&sa=X&oi=geocode_result&ct=title&resnum=1&ved=0CAoQ8gEwAA

So where from here was this site?



Woodland

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Re: Debbie Silverman (21) - Murder (Aug. 12, 1978)
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2009, 10:36:39 AM »
Thanks Shwa!  The google map opens at Highway 7 & 12 and Regional Road 10 - also Concession 6.  Click down (south) to Regional Road 13 - which is also Concession 3.  You will be looking at the site - on RR13/C3 just west of Highway 7 & 12 the south side of RR13.  The large bush area that comes right up to the road is where she was found - cannot pinpoint how many meters at the moment - but intend to try.  I plan on taking a drive there shortly to look for the level opening where the beehives were kept - it should be relatively easy as apparently there is nothing else around there even now.

From here click up (north) to Concession 4 then right (east) to Regional Road 2 (running more or less parallel to Highway 7 & 12).  On Concession 4, just west of RR2 is where Christine Jessop was found.  Will post better directions if required under her thread when a map is there.


Woodland

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Re: Debbie Silverman (21) - Murder (Aug. 12, 1978)
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2009, 07:37:30 PM »
Went to Sunderland today and walked along the south side of Concession 3 at Lot 12 where Debbie was found.  I spotted the wooden boxes used for beehives right away since the leaves are gone - they look abandoned.  They are sitting on a narrow roadway that has been built across the property.  This would be the level opening the local historian told me about.  A vehicle could very easily be driven onto it and would be concealed in the summer months.

There is literally nothing around and the bush does come right up to the road.  There is a metal gate across this roadway about 3 meters or so back from the road - in August with all the greenery that would be covering it, one would have to be looking at it when passing by in a vehicle in order to see it.  Do not know if the gate was there in 1978, but I could have easily opened it today - it's nothing more than a deterrent.

This roadway is exactly 320 of my normal steps, or 506 feet, back to Highway 7 & 12.

D1 maybe you could move your red dot further to the right - almost to the Highway.

I then drove the 9 km's to where Christine Jessop was found (7 km's east and almost 2 km's north) and walked the distance along the south side of Concession 4 back to RR 2 - by coincidence it's 320 of my normal steps.  Strange.

lostlinganer

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Re: Debbie Silverman (21) - Murder (Aug. 12, 1978)
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2009, 08:03:03 PM »
not so strange imo.... I am one who does thinks unconsciously "the same" all the time....somewhat obsessive compulsive....for instance, I always seem to park the same distance from the curb.....I always take the same no. of steps away from the door to shake the mat. .... I always seem to grab the same no. of napkins to put in the napkin holder.   If I go into the brush to look for berries, I only seem to walk so far and then turn back....but the same distance every time, I'd say.    We all have those habits.
Whoever committed those two crimes might have that same way .....a distance he considers safely away from the main path or road.  ........two different people walking the same distance for that purpose though....more than strange!

Real dedicated sleuthing Wood!

D1

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Re: Debbie Silverman (21) - Murder (Aug. 12, 1978)
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2009, 08:19:07 PM »
Agree that says something about the perp, maybe one of those obsessive compulsive types even. At minimum, the location was likely known to or scouted out prior to Debbie being left. Didn't happen to have a camera with you Woodland? New picture of location below:

Woodland

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Re: Debbie Silverman (21) - Murder (Aug. 12, 1978)
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2009, 08:31:21 PM »
Did not take a camera today - could not have possibly captured the area with any clarity from my point and shoot model.

Map is great.

As I posted under Christines thread - what are the odds that 2 killers, unknown to each other, brought a homicide victim to Sunderland, victims that were not from the area, 6 years apart and end up disposing of their bodies with the same geographical coordinates?

lostlinganer

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Re: Debbie Silverman (21) - Murder (Aug. 12, 1978)
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2009, 09:08:50 PM »
.....unless the first killer bragged in detail to the second killer.....
or.. maybe there is some other connection.... like related or both took part in the first crime in some way!

D1

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Re: Debbie Silverman (21) - Murder (Aug. 12, 1978)
« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2009, 09:28:23 PM »
There may be somewhat of an explanation for the 320 feet distance; provincial regulations likely dictate how close a driveway can be from the intersection of a secondary highway. Still it's the first driveway on the left off a main road with the same conditions found a few miles away with another victim..
If you click on the little blue jpg identifier (not on the picture) under the picture below, it should open in a picture viewer to allow you to zoom in and look around the area a bit closer. I couldn't find a driveway, right spot? Note there is some sort of an off road driving area right across the street.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2009, 10:15:14 PM by D1 »

Woodland

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Re: Debbie Silverman (21) - Murder (Aug. 12, 1978)
« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2009, 07:03:27 AM »
It is the right spot and it is very difficult to see this private laneway/road/driveway.

It begins at the shallow ditch lining Concession 3 (in other words back from the road), enabling a vehicle to drive into it.  It does not stand out in any way, rather it looks like part of the natural landscape.  The bush comes right up to it on both sides, as well as the Concession and the trees overhang from above.  It was meant as a way to get across the property north-south without using the roads.

In August, you would not see it at all - the perfect spot
« Last Edit: November 15, 2009, 07:29:41 AM by Woodland »

D1

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Re: Debbie Silverman (21) - Murder (Aug. 12, 1978)
« Reply #13 on: November 15, 2009, 11:25:22 AM »
Given the description, how hard would this spot have been for the perp to just come across? If he were driving around looking for a spot, would he have been able to spot the driveway? Or would he have to have known that it was there? If for instance he had pulled in across the street on the dirt trails, would he have been able to see down the driveway from there?

solvy

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Re: Debbie Silverman (21) - Murder (Aug. 12, 1978)
« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2009, 02:39:17 PM »