WORLD NEWS

Dead US serial sex offender linked to 4 slain Canadian young women

May 17, 2024, 6:42 PM

RCMP Superintendent serious crimes branch David Hall speaks about Alberta RCMP linking four histori...

RCMP Superintendent serious crimes branch David Hall speaks about Alberta RCMP linking four historical homicides to deceased serial killer Gary Allen Srery during a press conference in Edmonton, Friday, May 17, 2024. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)

(Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)

TORONTO (AP) — Canadian police announced Friday they have linked the deaths of four young women nearly 50 years ago to a now-deceased U.S. fugitive who hid in Canada from the mid-1970s to the late 1990s.

Alberta Royal Canadian Mounted Police Supt. Dave Hall said Friday that Gary Allen Srery might also be linked to unsolved murders and sexual assaults in Western Canada, and authorities are asking the public for more information that may link him to other unsolved cases.

“We are now announcing that we have linked four previously unsolved homicides from the 1970s to a now deceased serial sexual offender,” Hall said at a news conference in Edmonton, Alberta.

Srery died in 2011 in a state prison in Idaho of natural causes while serving a life sentence for sexual assault.

A break in the homicides in Canada came when authorities began comparing DNA of the killer with profiles on ancestry websites, which eventually lead them to a match with Srery, Hall said. He provided details of the four Canadian cases linked to Srery.

He said that in 1976 Eva Dvorak and Patricia McQueen were both 14-year-olds living in Calgary, Alberta attending junior high. He said they were last seen walking together in downtown Calgary and that the following day their bodies were found laying on the road under a highway underpass west of the city.

In the spring of 1976, 20-year-old Melissa Rehorek moved to Calgary from Ontario for new opportunities, Hall said. He said at the time of her death she was a housekeeper living at the YMCA in downtown Calgary and was last seen by a roommate before she went hitchhiking. Hall said the following day her body was located in a ditch in a township west of Calgary.

In 1977, Barbara MacLean was a 19-year-old Calgary resident from Nova Scotia who moved west only six months earlier, Hall said. He said MacLean was working at a local bank and was last seen leaving a hotel bar. He said her body was found six hours later just outside Calgary.

Man called most prolific serial killer in US history dies

Hall said authorities at the time didn’t come up with a cause of death for the two 14-year-olds but said Rehorek and MacLean’s deaths were attributed to strangulation.

Semen was collected from all four crime scenes but technology did not exist at the time to find DNA matches, Hall said.

“Were Srery alive today he would be 81 years old,” Hall said.

Alberta RCMP Insp. Breanne Brown said Srery had an extensive criminal record including forcible rape, kidnapping and burglary when he fled to Canada from California in 1974. He lived in Canada illegally until his arrest for sexual assault in New Westminster, British Columbia in 1998, she said.

Srery used nine different aliases in his lifetime and frequently changed his appearance, residence and vehicles, Brown said. She said he obtained illegal identification and social assistance though aliases and lived a transient lifestyle. He occasionally working as a cook in Calgary, Alberta from 1974 to 1979 and then in the area of Vancouver, British Columbia from 1979 until his arrest and conviction of sexual assault in New Westminster in 1998, she said.

Srery was deported to the U.S. in 2003 where he was convicted in Idaho for sexually motivated crimes and sentenced to life in prison, where he ultimately died in 2011, Brown said.

“We know that Srery’s criminality spanned decades over multiple jurisdictions and numerous aliases. The Alberta RCMP believe there are more victims and we are asking the public to assist in furthering Srery’s timeline in Canada,” Brown said.

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Dead US serial sex offender linked to 4 slain Canadian young women