Canada police say dead US rapist was a serial killer

Barbara MacLean and Eva Dvorak
Barbara MacLean (left) and Eva Dvorak were two of four Canadians police believe were murdered by a serial sex offender from the US (Image: Alberta RCMP)

A man who died in a US prison where he was serving a sentence for rape also has been identified as a serial killer.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said Gary Allen Srery, who died in 2011 in an Idaho prison, strangled four girls or women in 1970s Alberta.

Srery may be responsible for more unsolved homicides and sexual assaults in western Canada, police said.

The victims were Eva Dvorak, 14, Patricia “Patsy” McQueen, 14, Melissa Rehorek, 20, and Barbara MacLean, 19.

All four lived in Calgary and disappeared between 1976 and 1977. Their deaths were investigated at the time as either suspicious or as homicides, but remained unsolved for almost half a century.

“For nearly 50 years, the Alberta RCMP exhausted all investigational means in an attempt to identify the person responsible for these tragic deaths,” said Superintendent David Hall at a news conference on Friday.

A suspect was finally identified through advanced DNA technology, which allowed investigators to build a family tree using data from public DNA sites and samples found on the victims’ bodies.

Eva and Patricia were in junior high in February 1976 when they disappeared while walking together in downtown Calgary. The following day, police said their bodies had been found on Highway 1 west of Calgary.

Ms Rehorek was a housekeeper who recently had moved to Calgary from Ontario for work. Police said her body was found in September 1976 in a ditch 22km (13.6 miles) west of Calgary, also a day after she vanished.

Police said Ms MacClean, who was working at a local food bank at the time of her death, had last been seen in February 1977 walking home after a night out at a bar with friends. Her body was found six hours later just outside Calgary city limits.

Superintendent Hall said that if Srery was still alive, he would be facing murder charges in the four deaths.

Srery was an American citizen who was in Canada illegally at the time of the murders, having fled the US after he was charged with rape in California, said police.

Mugshot of Gary Allen SreryGary Allen Srery was a serial sex offender who was last arrested in Idaho, where he was convicted of rape (Image: Alberta RCMP)

 

He already had an “extensive criminal record in the US for sex offenses,” including rape and kidnapping, said Alberta RCMP inspector Breanne Brown.

After arriving in Calgary in 1975, police say Srery lived under multiple aliases and used fake IDs to apply for social assistance.

He later moved to British Columbia’s lower mainland and lived there undetected by law enforcement until he was convicted of sexual assault in New Westminster, a city southeast of Vancouver in 1998.

Srery served five years in prison for that crime and was deported back to the US, where he was arrested again in Idaho and sentenced to life in prison.

According to a 2008 news article from a NBC affiliate in Idaho, Srery was charged and later convicted for raping a 44-year-old woman in Coeur D’Alene, near the border of Idaho and Washington.

The RCMP has appealed to the public for help in piecing together Srery’s life in Canada, saying it is “particularly concerning” that he evaded police for more than 20 years, from when he illegally entered the country until he was arrested in British Columbia.

They also offered comfort to the families. “Identifying the offender does not bring back Eva, Patsy, Melissa or Barbara,” said Superintendent Hall.

“But it is my true hope that their families are able to finally have some answers as to what happened to their loved ones all those years ago.”

Source: bbc.co.uk

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