Episode 077 – In 2004, after a year long chase across multiple U.S. States an unknown burglar, who’d proven quite a match fro even the best trackers, was cornered in Death Valley, near the ghost town of Ballarat, California. The chase first started there giving the perpetrator, and thorn in law enforcement’s side, his name: The Ballarat Bandit. Rather than face prison, when capture was imminent, the man took his own life. After nearly another two years the man was finally identified as 50-year-old George Robert Johnston, a Canadian, from Prince Edward Island. He was a beloved husband and father of four beautiful daughters. His true motives for the chase through the desert died with him. (Photo is Public Domain)
Episode 076 – The beautiful city of Vancouver has a surprisingly dark history of rioting over the years. Some have been politically and racially motivated, others have been music or sport related. The two we tackle in this episode are a couple of the most recent and most memorable. The NHL’s Vancouver Canucks made the Stanley Cup finals twice in a span of 17 years. After both series, coming on the heels of game 7 losses, bad apples tore up our fair city.
NOTE: Photo used for cover art is from 2011’s game 4 in a fan zone in downtown Vancouver. It shows disappointed Canucks fans and does not show people involved in the riots after game 7.
Episode 075 – In the summer of 1908 a huge explosion levelled over 2000 square kilometres in Siberia. The event happened near the remote Tunguska river. It created the loudest sound ever heard by human ears and was visible through Europe and Asia. Locals reported seeing a large fireball rumbling across the sky before the blast. To this day, almost 111 years later, the exact cause of Tunguska Event remains a mystery.
NOTE: Scott is back as co-host!
Episode 074 – In April of 1990, 14-year-old Julie Ann Stanton disappeared near her Pickering, Ontario home. Right away investigators suspected, Peter John Stark, a neighbour and father of Julie’s best, in Julie’s disappearance. After 4 years, the police and Crown finally had enough to go arrest Stark, who turned out to be a serial predator with a very dark past.
NOTE: This week’s guest host, Johanna Hemenway, went to the same high school and was in the same grade as Julie Stanton. She and some of her friends provided more insight around their experience with the crime and memories of the victim for the episode.
Episode 073 – In rural Prince Edward Island, on October 7, 1994 a car was found abandoned, away from the main road and in a field. The licence plates were missing and there appeared to be blood spatter on the windshield and throughout the vehicle’s interior. The car was found to belong to a 32-year-old mother of five named Shirley Anne Duguay. RCMP investigated and were told by Shirley’s family that she had not been seen in days. She’d disappeared, but thanks to evidence found by searchers, police believed that Shirley had been murdered.
Shirley’s body was found months later in a shallow grave. Douglas Leo Beamish, Shirley’s ex common-law spouse and father of three of her children, was arrested and charged with Shirley’s murder. Some of the evidence used against Beamish had never been utilized at trial before. This case from Canada’s tiny province would be precedent setting.
Episode 072 – On a freezing December morning the Castor Volunteer Fire Department braved the icy Alberta roads to attend a structure fire at a farm a few kilometers outside town. When the firefighters arrived there were red flags evident immediately.
The family dog lay dead in the driveway from an apparent gunshot wound, two 9mm casings were nearby as was a partially full gas can which lay only meters away from the front door of the home, now almost burned to the ground. Three people, Sandra and Gordon Klaus, and their adult daughter Monica, had been at home at the time of the unsurvivable inferno. The only member of the immediate family left alive was the couple’s eldest son and Monica’s brother, Jason, who lived in a trailer nearby.
Who could have committed horrific acts and why? As the investigation unfolded a bizarre cover up story emerged consisting of communication with the spirits of the deceased.
Episode 071 – It’s been a long time coming, but this is our first episode taking place entirely in Newfoundland. On the night of February 6, 2000 nearly the entire population of the tiny town of Fleur de Lys was out looking for 13-year-old Samantha Walsh. She’d gone missing on a three minute walk between her grandmother’s house and her own home in weather that was -25 °C. As the weeks wore on with no verified signs of Samantha suspicions fell on a local 16-year-old boy dividing the small community. Many did not believe that one of their own could hurt a child.
Episode 070 – In the quiet city of Armstrong B.C. on Halloween night 2011, Taylor Van Diest, 18, left her house dressed as a zombie. She was excited to meet up with her pals to go trick or treating one last time before they were ‘too old’. Taylor stopped responding to text messages just over ten minutes into her short walk to her friend’s home. She was found badly beaten and clinging to life two hours later by friends and family frantically searching. The fun loving girl with no known enemies died in hospital the next morning. It would take good old fashioned police work coupled with forensic DNA evidence to bring her killer to justice.
Episode 069 – On August 14, 1989 an emaciated woman favouring the stump of a recently severed arm emerged from the woods near the tiny town of Burnt River, Ontario. She was known to police as a member of the Ant Hill Gang, a religious cult, run by the charismatic and enigmatic Roch Theriault, who’d changed his name to Moses. As the woman’s story came out, so did other tales of violence, sexual abuse, torture and murder at the hands of Roch and others in the group who were doing his bidding.
Note: There are extremely graphic depictions of violence in this episode that may be disturbing to some listeners.
Episode 068 – Troubled 14-year-old Reena Virk had been missing for a week when her battered, semi-nude body was plucked from the water in the Gorge under the Craigflower bridge in Victoria, B.C., on November 22, 1997. Reena had initially been lured to a spot by friends, then swarmed and savagely beaten by a group of 8 youths, that consisted mostly of girls between 14 and 16. After staggering away Reena was followed by a male and female who further beat and then murdered her to ‘keep her quiet”. A story of ‘bad girls’, bullying, racism and murder emerged shocking the nation. The quest for justice for Reena was not a straight nor easy path.
Research: Rebecca McNall
Disclaimer read by: Tyler Allen of The Minds of Madness Podcast