Posts Tagged ‘bradley matheson homicide’
21 Year Old charged in 3 more murders – sex workers feel safer after accused serial killer charged BC
PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. — The arrest of an accused serial killer in northern B.C. is a “big deal” for sex workers, says the head of a Prince George organization.
Jan Wilson, who works with women in the sex trade as the co-ordinator of the Prince George New Hope Society, said they will feel safer now that charges have been laid in the murders of Jill Stacey Stuchenko and Cynthia Frances Maas. Both 35-year-old mothers had worked as prostitutes in Prince George.
“It’s a big deal. This will definitely take a burden off of them,” Wilson said Tuesday.
Cody Alan Legebokoff is charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of Stuchenko, Maas and Natasha Lynn Montgomery, 23, RCMP announced Monday.
Legebokoff, 21, has been behind bars since November 2010, when he was charged with killing blind teenager Loren Leslie.
The 15-year-old girl told her family she was going out for coffee with a friend and never returned.
Legebokoff was arrested after an RCMP officer from Fort St. James, B.C., spotted a truck turning out of a unused logging road the evening Leslie disappeared.
He pulled over and questioned the driver before calling in a conservation officer to investigate whether the man had been illegally hunting.
The conservation official traced the tire tracks back down the logging road and came across the teen’s body in the snow. Leslie, who was legally blind, had been murdered just hours before, RCMP said at the time.
Police have not released details of how any of the women were killed.
Even though Legebokoff has been in jail awaiting trial for almost a year, sex trade workers were still fearful because they didn’t know who had killed Stuchenko and Maas, said Wilson.
Stuchenko was reported missing in October 2009 and found dead four days later in a gravel pit on the outskirts of Prince George.
Maas and Montgomery were both reported missing on the same day in September 2010. Maas’ body was found in a Prince George park the following month but Montgomery has never been found.
“While her body has not been recovered, investigative findings have resulted in a murder charge in relation to her disappearance,” RCMP said Monday in a news release.
Wilson said news of the new charges had brought out many emotions, including anger, relief and sadness. “It just seems so senseless.”
Posters of the missing women had been hanging up in a back room of the New Hope Society’s downtown office, which is off limits to men and meant to provide a sanctuary and services for sex-trade workers.
The street-level office provides services to about 140 women, said Wilson.
Legebokoff was raised in Fort St. James, where he was arrested, and also lived in Lethbridge, Alta. He was an “avid user of social media and technology” where he was known by the moniker 1CountryBoy, RCMP said.
“Our investigation indicates he extensively utilized social media and online dating to correspond with friends, associates, potential girlfriends and others,” police said in a Monday news release.
But Wilson said she doesn’t think it’s likely that sex workers would have met Legebokoff through social media websites such as Facebook. She said most of the girls do not even have email addresses.
Serena Black, a University of Northern B.C. student and a distant cousin of Montgomery, said she remembers her as an avid athlete who was an accomplished figure skater and excellent catcher in baseball.
She was also an excellent sister to her younger brother, said Black, who lost touch with her when they stopping playing sports together.
“She was so full of life. She always had a smile on her face,” said Black.
Rikki Black, who is not related, said she had known Stuchenko for more than a decade.
The head of the Black Orchid escort agency in Prince George said that Stuchenko had a drug addiction she couldn’t shake.
But Black described her as a good person who loved her children and had a beautiful singing voice. Under different circumstances, she may have used that voice to make a living, said Black.
“Nobody deserved what happened to her,” she said.
Meanwhile, family members of the accused serial killer were shocked by the latest charges, describing Legebokoff as a “perfectly normal” young man.
“He had a good upbringing — everything was perfect,” said Legebokoff’s grandfather Roy Goodwin. “I hunted with him. I fished with him. We did everything and he was a perfectly normal child.
“He was no different than you or I when we were younger.”
Goodwin, 79, said that everybody liked his grandson.
“There wasn’t a person that had a bad thing to say about him — nobody,” he said. “The Cody that I know — that I took hunting and fishing — wouldn’t do any of that.”
He said Legebokoff’s parents are still coming to terms with the accusations. “It’s quite a shock,” said Goodwin, who last saw his grandson in October 2010 at Thanksgiving dinner.
Legebokoff had brought his girlfriend to the family gathering, Goodwin said.
Before his arrest in November 2010, Legebokoff was not on the RCMP’s “radar screen.” He did not have a criminal record.
The B.C. Unsolved Homicide Unit has spent decades investigating 18 murders or disappearances of young women along the so-called Highway of Tears that connects Prince George and Prince Rupert, B.C.
Police initially were probing nine cases, but expanded the scope of their investigation in 2007 to include nine more unsolved cases along highways in the B.C. Interior because of similarities between the deaths and disappearances.
Some of the deaths date back to the 1970s.
The number of cases has led to speculation that a serial killer has been preying on women in the area.
RCMP Insp. Brendan Fitzpatrick said the investigation has found there is no connection between Legebokoff and the Highway of Tears murders. “We’ve done that through forensics, and also you just have to look at his age in comparison to the victims,” said Fitzpatrick.
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