238: Delayed Justice — Part 1: The Murders of Kathryn-Mary Herbert & Theresa Hildebrandt

Episode 238: In Abbotsford, B.C., on the evening of September 24, 1975, Kathryn-Mary Herbert, age 11, was abducted while on her way home from a friend’s home. Last seen The girl’s body was discovered almost two months later on the Matsqui Indian Reserve north of Abbotsford. Investigators determined that she was likely murdered on the day she’d disappeared.

In May 1976, Theresa Hildebrandt, 15, vanished without a trace from her Aldergrove, B.C. home. F Police believed she might be a runaway, but her family felt otherwise. or nearly four years no one knew what had become of Theresa. In March of 1980, her skeletal remains were found in a shallow grave off Downes and Mt. Lehman roads. 

Almost exactly two years after Theresa’s disappearance, in early May 1976, 12-year-old Monica Jack was riding her bicycle near Merritt, B.C. when she disappeared. As Monica was of indigenous heritage, her disappearance fell under Project E-PANA, the RCMP’s initiative to solve the multitude of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls along B.C.’s infamous Highway of Tears. In June of 1995, Monica’s remains were discovered off a logging road on Swakum Mountain, to the west of Nicola Lake and several kilometres from where she was last seen.

Families of the victims had their suspicions about suspects and worked hard to hold police on task, to solve the murders of their girls. 

Due to similarities in the cases, police believed them all, potentially, linked. After years of running down tip after tip, a man with a history of sexual assault convictions and had been living in B.C. during all three killings fell under suspicion of investigators. After a long operation which involved the employment pf their infamous Mr. Big technique to get their suspect to talk, RCMP arrested 67-year-old Garry Taylor Handlen, and charged him with the murders of Kathryn-Mary Herbert and Monica Jack in 2014, more than 36 years after the murder of Monica Jack. He was later convicted of first-degree murder.

Sadly, in regards to Theresa Hildebrant’s murder, no one has yet been charged in her killing, and 46 years later, her family has yet to receive any official answers about Theresa’s death.


2015 BCSC 1023 (CanLII) | R. v Handlen | CanLII

2018 BCSC 1330 (CanLII) | R. v Handlen | CanLII

A Garden of Tears: The murder of Kathryn-Mary Herbert | CBC.ca

CBC: Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women — Monica Jack

Kathryn-Mary Herbert | Theyaremissing Blog

A garden of tears (2009) | ridgenfilm

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