Did a serial killer stalk the streets of Halifax in the early 90’s? Part 2

Exhibit B – The Disappearance of Leslie Anne Katnick, the murder of Jean Hilda Myra and the strange YMCA connection.

Leslie Katnick

LeslieKatnick

On the 4th of November 1991, Montreal Police received a missing person report from a city resident who revealed himself as Mr. Katnick. His daughter 24 year old Leslie Anne had been residing on Rosedale Street in Montreal, Quebec where she was last seen by friends and family on November 1st. The ensuing investigation revealed that Leslie had checked into an undisclosed Halifax area YMCA on the 2nd. A record of her bank card being used in Halifax that evening also surfaced. In the morning hours of November 4th, incidentally the same day her father reported her missing, Leslie turned in her key to the YMCA and walked out the door into obscurity. No other clues or information ever surfaced in regards to her whereabouts.

Police consider her disappearance highly suspicious and foul play is suspected.

There are three notable things that particularly stand out about Leslie’s case:

1) There are palpable similarities to Kimberly McAndrew’s disappearance. Leslie and Kimberly were similar in age and both were relatively new to the city when they were abducted. There were reports that Kimberly was last seen at the Gardenia Flower Shop in the Penhorn Mall on Portland Street. This is merely a little more than 4Kms from Mic Mac Boulevard where the Dartmouth YMCA was located when Leslie vanished. Could that have been the YMCA she stayed at?

2) There are also significant differences between Leslie and Kimberly’s cases. Kimberly had family and established roots in Halifax. She lived with her sister, had a boyfriend, held a job in the city and attended university at Dalhousie. Leslie on the other hand, had just arrived in Halifax. She took up a temporary residence at a YMCA hostel that was unlikely to be an established address for any length of time. And while she may indeed have been visiting someone in Halifax or Dartmouth, those contacts are still as yet, unknown to investigators. So there is no evidence thus far to definitively suggest that she knew anyone in the city. Not that you can rule this out entirely, but it is clear that Leslie’s social network in the Halifax area differs considerably from Kimberly’s. Although these seemingly minor circumstances may differ from those surrounding Kimberly McAndrew’s case, they do bear interesting similarities to another case that I will deal with soon: The murder of Andrea Lynn King.

3) The third thing that stands out about Leslie’s disappearance is the YMCA itself. Jean Hilda Myra was murdered a year and half before Lesley vanished… and Jean had been residing at a YMCA in south Halifax.

Jean Hilda Myra

myrajeanhilda

At 10:48 am on April 5th 1990, a man walking along the west side of the Ports near South Bland Street in South Halifax phoned police to report the presence of a body he’d discovered under a staircase next to one of the grain elevators. The deceased was identified as 32 year old Jean Hilda Myra and her death was immediately ruled a homicide.

NEWhalifaxGrain

Investigators determined that Jean was a frequent patron of the bar scene around Southern Halifax, she was described as a bit of a transient figure who generally hung out on the South side of the city peninsula near the Ports, Via Rail Station and Point Pleasant Park. Jean was last seen leaving a tavern on South Barrington Street around midnight on April 4th, 1990.

And the connection…

At the time of her death, she was living at an unspecified Halifax area YMCA. In my research, I was unable to determine which YMCA she lived at but given her established pattern of life that tracks most of her movements to the southern part of the city, my guess is either the one formerly located on South Park Street, a short walk to any South Barrington Street tavern and only about 2Kms away from where her body was found. Or the YWCA which hosted a hostel AND was actually located ON south Barrington street. While Jean may not have stayed at the same YMCA as the one Leslie disappeared from, the connection is still significant because you have to wonder if someone was staking out prospective victims from local YMCA hostels. Victims who have little to no social ties or support system in the city. This theory also fits with the Andrea King abduction and murder that I will cover in the next part of this series.

Kimberly doesn’t fit the ‘transient’ or ‘vagabond’ profile but I think Kimberly was a tragic victim of opportunity. In her case, I think the killer either had an uncontrollable urge to kill and she was unfortunately in the wrong place at the wrong time or he/she’d been watching her for weeks or maybe months, waiting for the right opportunity. Perhaps the killer was in or near the store the day she disappeared and when she got off work early, he struck. Remember too that Kimberly was relatively new to the city. She was only a sophomore at Dalhousie and a month away from starting her second academic year. It is possible that she met that killer when she first arrived in Halifax but having established that she had contacts in the city the killer backed off and waited for his/her chance.

Leslie Katnick traveled to Halifax from Montreal and stayed at a YMCA hostel where she disappeared just two days later. Jean Hilda Myra was a local but she didn’t seem to have any deep family or social ties. She was a drifter who lived a transient life but she also resided at a local YMCA hostel. Coincidence? Maybe. Or perhaps not. It could be that a killer was frequenting places where he thought he might find vulnerable people and staking them out. If this is so, where else might we expect him to look for wandering, nomadic types? Well a train station for one.

Places of travel are linked to people who travel and people who travel to new places, where they have no one to stay with, reside in hotels or hostels. The most vulnerable ones would be more likely to stay in a small affordable place like the YMCA.  There are accounts that Jean was known to hang around near the area of the Via rail station, a place of travel. From this we might also surmise that the Airport could be a legitimate stalking area for the killer to target if he is looking for women new to the region.

Andrea Lynn King was new to Halifax and she was abducted from the airport. I will be covering her story in Part 3 of this article.

To Be Continued….

 

If you have any information concerning the disappearance of Leslie Anne Katnick or the unsolved murder of Jean Hilda Myra please contact the Halifax Regional Police/RCMP integrated Major Crimes Unit at (902) 490- 5016. Anonymous tips can be reported to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222- TIPS or visit the website at http://www.crimestoppers.ns.ca

The Nova Scotia Department of Justice is offering rewards of $150,000 for any information leading to an arrest in the cases of both Jean Hilda Myra and Leslie Anne Katnick. The Rewards for Major Crimes Program Toll Free Number is 1- 888- 710 – 9090

 

 

 

 

 

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19 thoughts on “Did a serial killer stalk the streets of Halifax in the early 90’s? Part 2

  1. It makes sense for the suspect to be a cabbie… all of the girls would have no reason to not trust a cab driver, the driver could’ve taken Kimberley to Dartmouth and she could’ve gone into the flower shop without realizing at the time that she was in danger so why would she try to flee. Leslie could have got a cab when walking out of the YMCA… maybe she was returning to Montreal and needed transportation to the airport or train station. Jean was last scene leaving a bar… what’s the first thing a lot of people do when leaving a bar, they get a cab. And if Andrea disappeared directly from the airport, a cab is also the most obvious conclusion. And not that it could be related but another young girl died a few years ago, named Holly Bartlett, dropped off at her apartment after a night out with friends and never made it inside her building. The last person to see her alive was the cab driver. Although it is suspected that she wandered away from her building because she was blind, there really is no proof of what actually occurred.

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  2. I still and always believe that cab driver Paul Fraser killed blind woman Holly Bartlett. He admitted ripping her off with her change, and cameras spotted him turning the cab around after dropping her off. Also before they found her, they noticed her white cane by an opening of a fence. A blind person would not have wandered off like that, and certainly would not have left her cane leaned up against a fence let alone crawl through a hole in that fence. She knew the sounds of her surroundings and would have known not to walk towards Barrington Street. Added to that is Paul’s reluctancy to polygraph testing etc. I wonder if he was also a cab driver here in the lat 80′ early 90’s. I say if you are low enough to rip off a blind person, you are low enough to cover your tracks.I really don’t think the cops pressured this guy enough. Their investigation was clouded from the beginning. So clouded that an outside police force had to be called in to re investigate. Something stinks here.

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  3. Here’s what I’ve always wondered – why did the police believe the flower shop sighting – they list it as her last known location online. Eyewitnesses are notoriously unreliable so why are they so sure – perhaps there is something I’m not aware of like mall video?

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    1. Thanks for the info Steven. That clarifies that unknown factor and rules out the Dartmouth YMCA/YWCA and means that Leslie most likely stayed at the same hostel as Jean on South Park St.

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  4. Really enjoyed your articles. I recall all these cases. One thing I find odd in the Kimberly case is why go to Penhorn to a flower shop.. I am sure there were at least two right on Quinpool Road back then. I am thinking that was mistaken identity.

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    1. I am just a writer interested in investigative journalism Julia. I wanted to start a blog that was something meaningful, and really mattered. I was recently reading a book on old cold cases and was moved by empathy with victims and their families so I decided to blog about unsolved crimes. My hope is to raise awareness and keep what happened in the public conscience. Maybe it will provoke someone to come forward with that one tip the police need to break the case. I choose the title ‘cellar door’ because it sort of symbolizes a place where things are stored away and left alone for a while. But even though the cellar may be a dark and cold place it is important to remember what’s down there, never forget that it is important and bring it to light.

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    1. I am sort of acting as an amateur detective/investigative journalist to bring light to the cases in hopes that it will prompt a tip or another hard look at the cases. I will be writing about crimes in other places and times in the future as well. My blog probably won’t change much in the grand scheme of things but I see it as my little contribution to justice. I really hope they find who ever was responsible.

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      1. First I apologize for the three messages as it was not intentional, I wasn’t sure that the first two messages were sent. Thanks for clearing up your involvement.I regularly check the internet and Google my sister’s name,Leslie, in hopes of something coming up so you can imagine my shock when this website was brought to my attention.

        Leslie left Montreal without notice to anyone. When police tracked her to a YMCA in Halifax my parents were asked to claim items and verify her signature. She stayed at the YMCA near train tracks, according to my mother.

        My parents were told about a possible serial killer but nothing more was revealed to them. No body was found so the case went cold even though there was suspicion of foul play.

        If foul play was in fact the reason for her disappearance, I too hope that justice will be served.

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  5. I’ve just stumbled upon this blog, fantastic piece!
    Julia, my heart aches for you & your family, I hope that you
    all find closure & that justice is served.

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