Episode 303: The Chowchilla school bus hijacking and kidnapping, a notorious case that occurred in 1976, involved the abduction of a school bus carrying 26 children, nineteen girls and seven boys, ages 5 to 14, and their driver, Frank Edward ‘Ed’ Ray, who was 55. It was orchestrated by three young men from affluent families — brothers Richard Schoenfeld, 22, James Schoenfeld, 24, and their friend Frederick Newhall Woods IV, also twenty-four. The crime was motivated by a desire for ransom money and as a cure for their boredom. The kidnappers hid the bus and took its occupants to a buried truck trailer in a quarry in Livermore, California, intending to demand $5 million for their release. Remarkably, led by Ed Ray and Michael Marshall, 14, one of the older children, the victims managed to escape without any ransom being paid. Even though they all made it out alive, the victims suffered psychological scars that changed their lives and persist to the present day.

This was the largest kidnapping in U.S. history, and it has a Canadian connection.

After their hostages escaped, all three kidnappers went into hiding but were eventually apprehended and convicted, although one of the suspects, the mastermind behind the kidnapping, Frederick Woods, fled to Vancouver, British Columbia, before being arrested by the RCMP.

Sources:

Kidnapped! At Chowchilla — The School Bus Hijacking by Gail Miller and Sandra Thompkins

Oroville Mercury Register 16 Jul 1976, page 1

The San Francisco Examiner 16 Jul 1976, page 3

The Fresno Bee 16 Jul 1976, page 25

‘Major Break’ Expected in Mass Abduction (Published 1976)

The Province 23 Jul 1976, page 1

The Vancouver Sun 30 Jul 1976, page 1

Merced Sun-Star 07 Aug 1976, page 1

Merced Sun-Star 07 Aug 1976, page 9

Chowchilla bus kidnapping: Rare photos from one of the largest abductions in U.S. history

Chowchilla bus kidnapping survivor’s lifelong fight to keep her captors behind bars

Chowchilla bus kidnapper released from prison

Chowchilla nightmares / 25 years later, kidnap victims still struggling to forget past

Chowchilla bus kidnapping survivor’s lifelong fight to keep her captors behind bars

James Schoenfeld: Chowchilla Bus Kidnapper Paroled Almost 40 Years Later

Chowchilla school bus kidnap victims file lawsuit 40 years after abduction

Children of Chowchilla: a study of psychic trauma – PubMed

The ballad of the Chowchilla bus kidnapping

New Documentary Examines Kidnapping of School Bus Full of Children — and How They Miraculously Escaped

Edward Ray – A Local Hero | Chowchilla, CA

1976 Bus Kidnapping | Chowchilla, CA

Edward Ray Day in Chowchilla

EDWARD… – City of Chowchilla, California (Government)

Kent Morrill – Ballad Of Chowchilla Ray (1976 Bardel Records)

Ballad Of Chowchilla Ray | Robert Goulet

Survivors of Chowchilla kidnapping break silence in new documentary

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Episode 302: On April 25, 1978, RCMP Constable Thomas (Brian) King, a 40-year-old father of three, pulled over a vehicle for a minor traffic offence at 12:35 AM on Highway 11, roughly a quarter mile (400 metres) north of the Saskatoon city boundary. Inside the car were two young men: 18-year-old Darrell Luke Crook and 19-year-old Gregory Michael Fischer. The pair had intentionally disabled the vehicle’s tail light to draw the attention of law enforcement. As the unsuspecting officer was checking Fisher’s driver’s licence, the two men overpowered, disarmed and manacled him with his service handcuffs. 

The pair then forced the officer into their car and drove into Saskatoon, where they showed him off to friends. Afterward, Crook and Fisher drove to a secluded spot near the Saskatchewan River, where they beat and tortured the helpless constable. Then, they executed Brian King with his service revolver, shooting him twice and throwing his body into the river.

Sources:

A History of Winnipegosis

RCMP Depot Division

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Issues

The Dark Side of the RCMP

Star-Phoenix 25 Apr 1978, page 1

Star-Phoenix 27 Apr 1978, page 3

Star-Phoenix 27 Apr 1978, page 24

The Leader-Post 29 Apr 1978, page 1

Star-Phoenix 01 May 1978, page 3

1979 CanLII 2274 (SK CA) | R. v. Crook | CanLII

1980 CanLII 2130 (SK CA) | Radvanski v. Radwanski | CanLII

1991 ABCA 148 (CanLII) | R. v. Fischer | CanLII

Faint Hope: Background

Constable Thomas Brian King | Canadian War Memorial

Thomas (Brian) King (1938-1978) | Find a Grave

CBC News – Canada – In the line of duty: Deaths of RCMP officers

CONSTA… – RCMP Quarterly / La Trimestrielle de la GRC

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Episode 301: In episode thirteen of Dark Poutine, we covered the Babes in the Woods case, a tragic and long-unsolved mystery from Vancouver. In 1953, the skeletal remains of two children were discovered in Stanley Park, one of Vancouver’s largest urban parks. What made this case, particularly haunting was that the children were found with a hatchet that appeared to have been used to end their lives. The identities of the two children remained unknown for almost 70 years until, in 2022, using DNA genealogy, the Vancouver Police were able to identify the boys believed to have died sometime in 1947. They were seven-year-old Derek and six-year-old David D’Alton. Their mother, Eileen Bousquet, who died in 1996, told relatives at the time that social services had taken the boys as she was unable to care for them. No one knows for sure what happened leading up to their deaths, and as so much time has passed, it is doubtful we ever will. At least they have their names back.

Sources:

Stanley Park — City of Vancouver

Murder, Mystery and Intrigue in Review: Babes in the Woods

166: Hate Crime: The Murder of Aaron Webster – Dark Poutine – True Crime & Dark History

Six Officers Plead Guilty To Stanley Park Beatings

2004 BCPC 1 (CanLII) | R. v. Cronmiller | CanLII

Unsolved Stanley Park ‘Babes in the Woods’ case still haunts a city

Interview with Brian Honeybourn

69UMBC — The Doe Network

68UMBC — The Doe Network

VPD hopes genealogical testing can help solve cold case – Vancouver Police Department

VPD identifies child victims in historic cold case murder – Vancouver Police Department

Babes in the Woods: Vancouver police release identities, details about historic murders – VIA

Identities of Stanley Park Babes in the Woods revealed almost 70 years later

Who were the Babes in the Woods?

Eileen Bousquet Archives — evelazarus.com

Cold Case BC by Eve Lazarus

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As this is bonus content related to episode 300, we don’t have the usual show open. There are no loons. There’s no music. There’s no Mathew here for this. This episode is dedicated entirely to Daniel Jordan Levesque‘s memory and features my recent conversation with his mother, Stacey Thur, from her home in Revelstoke. B.C.

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Episode 300: In June 2011, twenty-year-old musician Daniel Jordan Levesque moved from his family home in Revelstoke, B.C., to Victoria, full of dreams to start a new life and advance his burgeoning musical career. On June 15, seeking work, Daniel went to a 7-Eleven store, where he met Joshua Tyler Bredo, the store’s Assistant Manager, who hired Daniel on the spot. Bredo presented himself as a good guy, a helpful friend, but in truth, he quickly became obsessed with Daniel sexually with nefarious motives in mind.

Bredo began grooming Daniel, lying to him with promises of a more lavish lifestyle, plying him with drugs and alcohol while telling Daniel he saw him as a “little brother.” The coercion and lies continued until August 3, when Bredo lured Daniel to his apartment under the promise of an interview for Daniel at a non-existent law firm. It was there that Bredo killed Daniel and set up a scene to make it appear to be self-defence, later calling 911. Bredo was arrested that night and charged with Daniel’s murder. However, the case was not put to rest until after a mistrial in 2015, numerous other delays and a guilty plea to the lesser charge of manslaughter in 2017.

Sources:

2016 BCSC 1843 (CanLII) | R. v Bredo | CanLII

2016 BCSC 2580 (CanLII) | R. v Bredo | CanLII

2016 BCSC 2701 (CanLII) | R. v Bredo | CanLII

2017 BCSC 2134 (CanLII) | R. v Bredo | CanLII

Musician lured with lies, then killed; ‘Let me go. Just let me go.’

B.C. man in prison for killing friend with hammer released early

ATTENTION!! ATTENTION!! For all of … Stacey Thur

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Episode 299: In this episode, we explore a dark chapter of Winnipeg’s criminal history, centred on the “Yuletide Bandit,” notorious for his holiday-season robberies in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Michael David Syrnyk, known for targeting banks and armoured vehicles, executed his crimes with a reckless disregard for human life, often using firearms and viewing his victims merely as obstacles. His choice of the festive season for these heists added a cruel irony to his crimes, starkly contrasting with the spirit of joy and family. One notable incident was a shootout at Winnipeg’s Polo Park Mall, causing terror among Christmas shoppers. The dramatic end to his criminal spree came with a 12-hour standoff involving a former girlfriend, leading to his capture. This episode not only recounts Syrnyk’s heinous acts but also underscores the lasting impact of his crimes on the victims and the broader community in Winnipeg.

Dark Poutine will return on January 8th, 2024, ad-free on Amazon Music and in our regular feed on January 15.

Sources:

NATIONAL REPORT Gunfight at Winnipeg mall has shoppers ducking

Red Deer Advocate 13 Dec 2000, page 14

The Winnipeg Sun 05 May 2002, page 3

The Winnipeg Sun 08 May 2002, page 1

23 years in the nick for Yuletide Bandit

Waterloo Region Record 26 Dec 2002, page 5

North Bay Nugget 18 Dec 2002, page 9

The Kingston Whig-Standard 26 Dec 2002, page 48

The unlikely suspect in hostage-taking had hidden arsenal

Hostage | 72 Hours S01E14 | True Crime

“72 Hours: True Crime” Hostage — s01e14 | Documentary, Crime|

Michael Syrnyk | News, Videos & Articles | Global News

Apr 2016: Winnipeg’s notorious ‘Yuletide Bandit’ makes first appearance before the parole board

‘I could be dead’: Security guard shot by ‘Yuletide Bandit’ frustrated by early parole | CBC News

Michael Syrnyk was released from prison on Friday | CBC News

The Yuletide Bandit: The Seven Year Search for a Serial Criminal by Mike McIntyre

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Episode 298: Last week, we learned how Chinese immigrants have significantly contributed to Western Canada’s development since 1788, playing critical roles in trade, gold rushes, and railway construction. Despite their contributions, they faced severe discrimination and exploitation, particularly during the railway construction in the early 1900s. Post-railway completion, they suffered rights losses and were subject to a prohibitive head tax, escalating to $500, which failed to deter immigration. Enduring nativist racism and accusations of moral and social threats, their plight culminated in the dark chapter of Canadian history on July 1, 1923, as the Chinese Exclusion Act came into law.

Sources:

Federal Exclusion Act – Province of British Columbia

Chinese Immigration Act, 1923 | Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21

Chinese Head Tax in Canada (Plain-Language Summary)

1872 – Indigenous and Chinese Peoples Excluded from the Vote

When Chinese in Canada Were Numbered, Interrogated, Excluded

What was the Chinese Exclusion Act in Canada? 3 things you might not know – Beyond

Chinese Immigration records – Library and Archives Canada Blog

Douglas Jung

The Chinese head tax and the Chinese Exclusion Act | CMHR

 Formal apology to Chinese Canadians

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Episode 297: The history of Chinese immigration to Canada is a story marked by adversity. Chinese labourers played a pivotal role in building the Canadian railway under harsh conditions, yet faced institutional discrimination, including the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1923, which limited immigration and separated families for years. Despite these challenges, the Chinese community’s resilience has left an indelible mark on Canadian culture. Today, we honour their contributions and recognize the need to confront our history’s shadows, striving for a more inclusive Canadian identity that values people of all backgrounds.

Sources:

Was ‘old-stock Canadians’ coded language — or a simple screw-up? | CBC News

1872 – Indigenous and Chinese Peoples Excluded from the Vote

The Fraser River Gold Rush and the Founding of British Columbia

Chinese Head Tax in Canada (Plain-Language Summary)

Indigneous People

Chinese Immigration Act, 1923 | Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21

Federal Exclusion Act – Province of British Columbia

Sir John A. Macdonald – Dictionary of Canadian Biography

Biography – CHU LAI – Volume XIII (1901-1910) – Dictionary of Canadian Biography

Chinese Head tax: George Yee’s story

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Episode 296: On December 6, 1989, a tragic and profound event shook Canada and had a lasting impact. That evening, a gunman entered the École Polytechnique in Montreal, an engineering school affiliated with the Université de Montréal. This act of violence was specifically targeted against women, marking it as a horrific instance of gender-based violence. The attacker, motivated by his hatred for feminists whom he blamed for his personal and professional failures, embarked on a rampage through the school.

The consequences were devastating — in less than 20 minutes, 14 young women lost their lives.

They were: Anne-Marie Edward, Sonia Pelletier, Geneviève Bergeron, Maryse Leclair, Barbara Daigneault, Maud Haviernick, Michèle Richard, Anne-Marie Lemay, Annie Turcotte, Hélène Colgan, Nathalie Croteau, Annie St-Arneault, Maryse Laganière and Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz.

Also, ten more women and four men were injured before the cowardly gunman ended his own life. The event, later known as the École Polytechnique Massacre or the Montreal Massacre, left a deep scar on Canadian society. It led to increased awareness and action against gender-based violence, prompting changes in gun control laws and police procedures. The date, December 6, was subsequently declared the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada, serving as a sombre reminder of the need to combat gender-based violence and discrimination.

Sources:

Polytechnique Montréal | Polytechnique Montréal est l’un des plus importants établissements d’enseignement et de recherche en génie au Canada

Women in Engineering

Women in scientific occupations in Canada

30 years later

Nathalie Provost

The Montreal Massacre — The Target — Crime Library on truTV.com

Montreal_Coroners_Report

Because They Were Women – The Montreal Massacre — Josée Boileau

Aftermath — Monique Lepine

Historical CBC Reports on the Massacre

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Episode 295: On the afternoon of December 20, 1974, a storekeeper in Calgary, Alberta, alerted the police about a customer, Philippe Laurier Gagnon, 26, who became aggressive after being denied the sale of airplane glue. The individual fled, and police pursued him to his residence two blocks away. When officers approached the suspect’s residence, they were met with gunfire. Additional police, more than 130 officers, arrived to find the suspect armed with two rifles rifle in a garage. Gagnon refused to come out. A shootout ensued, resulting in the death of Detective Boyd Davidson, 43, after being shot in the neck. Six other officers were wounded by gunfire, and several others were injured. 

After a military armoured car arrived, police gained the upper hand, smashed into the house and dislodged the gunman from his hideout. Gagnon, who had two rape convictions, a history of assault as well as a record of mental illness and drug abuse, also died at the scene in a hail of bullets as he charged at the officers. 

Detective Davidson, a 23-year veteran of the police force and key figure in establishing the combined police and fire arson squad, left behind a wife and five children. His death and what was learned from the events led to the creation of the Calgary Police Service’s tactical team and changes to policing nationwide.

Sources:

Calgary Herald 21 Dec 1974, page 1

Edmonton Journal 24 Dec 1974, page 3

The Ottawa Journal 24 Dec 1974, page Page 2

The Vancouver Sun 28 Dec 1974, page 60

The Daily Herald-Tribune 30 Dec 1974, page 2

Black Friday: The day that changed policing in Canada

Calgray Herald – 40 years ago Black Friday transformed Calgary policing

Thugs, Thieves & Outlaws: A dark day for Calgary police

Calgary Police Service | Facebook

Tribute to fallen officers | Calgary Police

About our Tactical Unit | Calgary Police

Calgary’s armoured rescue vehicle set to retire

Calgary police unveil new armoured vehicle | CBC News

Black Friday | YouthLinkYYC | YouTube

PTSD among Police Officers: Impact on Critical Decision Making

PUBLIC SAFETY PERSONNEL AND POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS INJURIES

Public Safety Personnel’s interpretations of potentially traumatic events

Development of an Evidence-Informed Solution to Emotional Distress in Public Safety Personnel and Healthcare Workers: The Social Support, Tracking Distress, Education, and Discussion CommunitY (STEADY) Program

Calgary Police Service officer joins somber list of members killed in line of duty – Calgary

Driver in death of CPS officer sentenced to 12 years

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