Did a serial killer stalk the streets of Halifax in the early 90’s? Part 3

Exhibit C – The Unsolved Murders of Andrea Lynn King and Carla Gail Strickland.

Andrea Lynn King

Andrea Lynn King

Fresh off the Christmas Holidays in 1991, 18 year old Surrey B.C. resident Andrea Lynn King boarded a plane at New Westminster Airport bound for Atlantic Canada. Her intent was to embark on a New Year journey to the East Coast. She made arrangements to work in Halifax and aspired to travel the region and seek adventure during her down time. Described as a sweet and down to earth girl, Andrea was a smart teen with a pretty face and a bubbly personality. The world should have been hers to conquer when she stepped off that plane but instead she met with a tragic fate.

Andrea arrived at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport on New Year’s Day, January 1st, 1992. She called her sister from an airport payphone shortly thereafter to inform her family that she’d arrived safely. Andrea told her sister that she was going to head to a hostel somewhere in the city and she promised to phone back later with an address after she’d settled in.

That phone call never came and Andrea Lynn King was never heard from again. She vanished from the airport sometime after speaking with her sister.

Andrea’s family reported her missing to Surrey, British Columbia RCMP on January 4th, 1992. Extensive investigations were conducted by RCMP and local police in both the Surrey/New Westminster B.C. areas and throughout the Halifax region in Nova Scotia. But police were unable to locate Andrea or identify anyone who had contact with her after she got off the plane.

Nearly a full year after her disappearance, on December 22nd, 1992, Andrea’s skeletal remains were discovered about 200 feet from a remote dead end on Glendale Drive in the Halifax suburb of Lower Sackville. The location was a densely wooded area around the Sackville Business Park not far from Highway 102, which is one of the main routes from the airport to the city outskirts of Bedford and Sackville.

The coroner at the Medical Examiner’s Office ruled her death a homicide.

The last conversation Andrea had with her sister prior to her disappearance raises a peculiar and familiar specter. What hostel was she planning to check into? Remember that Lesley Anne Katnick had checked into a YMCA just after arriving in Halifax from Montreal. It has since come to light that the Dartmouth YMCA didn’t have a hostel at the time, and according to Lesley’s sister Julia, as per a conversation I had with her on this very blog –  (See the comments section in Part 2 of this series) – Lesley checked into a YMCA ‘near the tracks’. This actually points to only one possibility: the YWCA on South Barrington Street, which is just a short walk from the Via Rail Station. This makes perfect sense if Lesley travelled from Montreal to Halifax by train.

In the 2nd installment of this series I noted that Jean Hilda Myra was known to roam the streets of South Halifax and that she was staying at a YMCA hostel at the time of her murder…..AND she was last seen at a bar on South Barrington Street. Given these circumstances it seems logical to deduce that Lesley and Jean stayed at the same place: The old YWCA at 1239 Barrington Street in South Halifax near the Via Rail Station. But if this is so, why do the Halifax Regional Police and the N.S. Department of Justice still report it as the ‘YMCA’ on their websites under Lesley and Jean’s profiles? Strange.

But more pertinent to our purpose here is this question: Did Andrea Lynn King plan to go to the very same YWCA when she told her sister that she was going to ‘stay at a hostel in Halifax’? The exact hostel was never specified. But if it was the one at 1239 Barrington Street there is a very distinct common tie between the 3 cases. If not it is still notable.

Let us suppose for the sake of argument that the YWCA on Barrington was not Andrea’s intended destination. Perhaps she was headed to a different hostel. Even if this were so, it still does not dwindle the significant fact that all 3 women either stayed at or intended to stay at a hostel somewhere in the Halifax region. And the hostel connection still suggests a possibility that someone could have been targeting women staying at such places.

YWCA
The Old YWCA Hostel on Barrington Street where Lesley and Jean likely stayed. Is this the ‘hostel’ Andrea Lynn King was referring to when she spoke with her sister?

Hostel connection aside, there are other noteworthy, unambiguous similarities between the Lesley Anne Katnick and Andrea Lynn King cases:

  1. Both women were from out of town and just arrived in Halifax.
  2. Neither of them have any substantial social contacts in the city.
  3. By all accounts there is no indication that either of them had their own vehicle or any means of transportation other than access to public transit or taxi.
  4. Lesley disappeared on November 4th, 1991 just two months prior to Andrea’s abduction on January 1st, 1992.
  5. Given that Lesley had recently travelled from Montreal, it is plausible to deduce that she too could have passed through Halifax Stanfield International Airport in the days prior to her abduction. She could have been at the airport before checking into the YMCA hostel and/or headed to the airport after leaving the hostel on the day of her disappearance November 4th, 1991. *Lesley left Montreal without saying a word to her friends or family, while police were able to track her last known where abouts to Halifax, her means of travel from Montreal to Halifax was never revealed*
… And beyond the similarities between Andrea and Lesley Katnick’s cases, consider the resemblance between Andrea Lynn King and Kimberly McAndrew:

You will point out that Lesley and Jean don’t fit the physical appearance profile surmised above because they bear little resemblance to Kimberly and Andrea. However, it is possible that this is because the killer made exceptions based on sheer opportunity and convenience in their cases. It is not difficult to conceive that while our unknown suspect, might certainly prefer victims with particular looks, physical attributes and characteristics he/she is not so selective that he would pass up an opportunity to take a victim that doesn’t fit the preferred profile, provided that victim was easy prey and readily available when the diabolical urge to kill surfaced.

Physical attributes and age aren’t the only things Kimberly and Andrea have in common, however. In the process of both investigations police stumbled upon a mutual suspect: Andrew Paul Johnson.

As reported in Part 1 of this series, Johnson who is originally from Halifax, has been incarcerated in British Columbia since 1997 for a myriad of abduction and sexual assault convictions where he posed as a police officer to lure young women. While in prison Johnson took part in a sex-offender treatment program where he wrote an essay that sounded eerily like the abduction of Kimberly McAndrew. Also, in 1989 he frequently stayed at his girlfriends apartment at Quinpool Towers, which is virtually a stones throw away from the Canadian Tire where Kimberly worked. On the heels of the disturbing essay written by Johnson in 1997, police launched a re-investigation into Kimberly’s abduction. While combing through Johnson’s belongings investigators also discovered evidence that potentially linked him to Andrea Lynn King. One such item was a make-up compact that Andrea’s mother identified as being the same as the one her daughter owned during the time of her abduction and murder.

In 2013 a joint team of forensic investigators from the RCMP and Halifax Police descended on a property along Prospect Road in rural Shad Bay, Nova Scotia, a community that sits approximately 30kms South West of downtown Halifax. The property in question is owned by Andrew Paul Johnson’s brother and it was widely reported that investigators were searching for the remains of Kimberly McAndrew. Police reported to CBC in September of 2013 that some unspecified items were seized from the property but nothing substantial ever turned up from the search.

Shad Bay
RCMP/Halifax Police joint major crime scene workers searching the Shad Bay property on Prospect Road.

But before I go too far off track, allow me to turn the focus back to Andrea. The self-evident and perennial first question that needs to be addressed in any such case is this: How was she abducted from a busy public airport without anyone noticing? The most reasonable inference is that she was somehow persuaded to go with her perpetrator willingly. But how is that so? There is no report that anyone was meeting her at the airport and by all accounts, Andrea didn’t know anyone in Halifax. One theory that I’ve mentioned earlier in passing and which I will explore in greater detail later in the last part of this series, is that the killer was possibly a cab driver. If you apply this notion to any of the previous cases I’ve discussed you will find that it fits in each set of circumstances. One of my more astute readers also suggested this idea as a possible explanation and pointed out that it is applicable for Kimberly, Lesley, Jean and Andrea (See the comments section in Part 2).

If not a taxi driver, who else could have bypassed Andrea’s guard and better judgement? It is feasible that somebody approached and befriended her at the airport and perhaps offered her a ride. Was the killer charming, cunning and persuasive like Ted Bundy and Paul Bernardo? Or was his/her approach more nuanced and subtle? Recall that Andrew Paul Johnson was known to pose as a police officer in order to lure his victims. Maybe Andrea left the airport and attempted to hitchhike to Halifax. In which case the run in with her killer was a tragic and fortuitous turn of bad luck.

There is another unsolved murder which occurred 7 months prior to Andrea King’s abduction, that fits with the taxi driver theory and provides another clue to a potential serial killer in the Halifax area during the late 80’s and early 90’s…..

Carla Gail Strickland

Carla

At 12:58 PM on June 5th, 1991 police responded to a report from a person who was out walking along the north side of Lake Mic Mac near Highway 118 in Dartmouth, NS. The concerned citizen had discovered the body of a young female in the woods near the lake and went to phone the authorities. Upon arrival at the scene investigators soon identified the deceased as Carla Gail Strickland and her death was ruled a homicide. It was thought that she was possibly murdered somewhere else and left at the site.

lake micmac

The investigation revealed that Carla spent the evening of Sunday, June 2nd, 1991 celebrating her friend’s birthday at a popular Halifax nightclub. At some point she left the bar with three unnamed males and traveled to Albro Lake Beach in Dartmouth where the four continued partying until dawn. At approximately 7:00 AM on the morning of Monday, June 3rd, 1991, one of the men she’d been hanging out with dropped her off at a Tim Horton’s on Wyse Road, Dartmouth where she said she was going to use a pay phone. It was the last place she was seen alive.

Intuition would dictate that the culprit was one of the three men she’d been with at Albro Lake Beach but you’d have to think that the Police would have honed in on them right away. So it would seem that detectives either lacked sufficient physical and circumstantial evidence to make an arrest or that the three men were ruled out as possible suspects for some unknown reason.

Who else could be a suspect? Did Carla call a cab from the pay phone? The elusive clues now diminished and buried by time, must dwell somewhere between that Wyse Road Tim Horton’s and the woods around Lake Mic Mac. Again, the case presents the same recurring and curious dilemma that keeps popping up: Surely Tim Horton’s at 7:00 AM on a Monday morning would have been a pretty busy spot. So it just isn’t conceivable that Carla was taken by force. Because if she was she probably would have screamed or someone most likely would have noticed an altercation. As with Kimberly and Andrea, we are confronted with yet another case where the victim was taken from such a busy public setting. Therefore it follows that the most logical presumption is that the victims went willingly with their perpetrator. This could have happened in Carla’s case either because:

  • A) She knew the person responsible
  • B) The killer approached and befriended her and somehow persuaded her to leave with him/her
  • C) The offender posed as someone in a position of pubic trust or…
  • D) The killer was  someone in a position of public trust. Maybe even a cop… or
  • E) A cab driver

Exhibit D – The Mysterious Assault on Lesley Ann Levy

It was only 3 days after Kimberly McAndrew mysteriously vanished after leaving work at the Quinpool Road Canadian Tire. On the morning of August 15th, 1989 a couple out for a morning stroll discovered 24 year old Lesley Anne Levy just outside Point Pleasant Park in South Halifax bleeding to death. Her throat had been slashed and she was left unconscious. The fact that she was partially dressed suggested a sexual assault.

pp park

Lesley spent the prior evening partying at the Misty Moon Cabaret in downtown Halifax. She was later seen chatting with a man on a bench inside Point Pleasant Park sometime after midnight. Lesley was rushed to hospital with severe life threatening injuries. While she survived the initial attack, the emotional scars cut far too deep to save her in the end.

Lesley Anne Levy was deeply afflicted with depression after recovering from the physical wounds she suffered during the vicious assault she endured. She died of a drug overdose 6 months after her attack.

Lesley Levy’s mother Sandra Anderson spoke with CBC in 2014 and told them that Lesley was so afraid that she never opened up to anyone about the assault. Not even family.

The police even had a psychiatrist come in and try hypnosis on her. But she was so fearful it just didn’t work.” – Sandra Anderson (Mother of Lesley Anne Levy)

Some things of note about Lesley’s case:

  • She worked at King’s Palace Restaurant on Quinpool Road. The restaurant is directly across the street from the Canadian Tire where Kimberly McAndrew went missing and on the same block as Andrew Paul Johnson’s girlfriend.
  • She was assaulted just 3 days after Kimberly disappeared.
  • Lesley’s mother told the CBC that Police said an undisclosed male subject was a suspect in both Kimberly’s abduction and Lesley’s assault.
  • The location where Lesley was found is less than 2Kms from the Grain Elevators where Jean Hilda Myra’s body was discovered 2 years later.
In the next and final part of this series I will discuss two more unsolved homicides and some roadblocks encountered when the Kimberly McAndrew cold case was re-opened in the late 1990’s. I will also attempt to play the role of forensic psychologist and offer my own amateur profile of the killer. And finally, I will go deeper into some possible theories about the crimes…. Stay Tuned.
If you have any information regarding the murders of Andrea Lynn King or Carla Gail Strickland or the assault on Lesley Anne Levy please contact the Integrated RCMP/Halifax Regional Police Major Crime Unit at (902) 490-5331 or Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-TIPS. You can also visit Nova Scotia Crime Stoppers website at http://www.crimestoppers.ns.ca
The Nova Scotia Department of Justice Rewards for Major Crimes Program offers a Reward of $150,000 Dollars for any information leading to an arrest in the cases of Andrea Lynn King or Carla Gail Strickland. You can reach them at 1-888-710-9090

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

10 thoughts on “Did a serial killer stalk the streets of Halifax in the early 90’s? Part 3

  1. Just a thought….The last known siting of Carla Strickland at the Wyse Road Tim Hortons is maybe 1/2 a km from Bob (and Bluebell at the time) Taxi head quarters. Many of the taxi drivers are known to frequent that Tim’s during, before and after shifts.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Back in the late 80s, early 90s cab drivers were not allowed to work in both cities. They were licensed for Halifax or Dartmouth or Bedford.
    I have always thought there was a serial killer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think there is a logical explanation for that though. If I’m not mistaken it would depend on the point of origin and the destination of the cab. For instance if you were getting a cab from the airport (which is on the outskirts of Dartmouth) to the YWCA in Halifax you could take a Halifax taxi. Likewise if you were going from the YWCA in Halifax to the airport you could also use a Halifax cab. Because it wouldn’t make sense to call a Dartmouth based taxi from the airport to go to a Halifax destination. The licensing would restrict you from calling a Halifax cab company when the point of origin and the destination are both in Dartmouth (i.e. you couldn’t get a Halifax taxi from the Mic Mac Mall to a Dartmouth address) or likewise calling a Dartmouth cab company to go from one Halifax address to another Halifax address. In Carla Strickland’s case, she might have been trying to get a taxi back to Halifax, in which case she could use a company from either city because she was at a Tim Horton’s in Dartmouth and she was going to Halifax. But suppose you had to use a company licensed in the city that you are making the call from, Andrea King and Carla Strickland would STILL be traveling by a Dartmouth cab because Andrea would have phoned the taxi from the airport and Carla was at Tim’s on Wyse Road. Kimberly was supposedly seen in Dartmouth at the Penhorn Mall, and Jean and Lesley Levy were likely attacked by someone at the bar (who still could have been an off duty cab driver). Nobody really knows where Lesley Katnick went after she left the hostel so she could have been in a Dartmouth taxi. Therefore, the fact that there were different cab licenses based on zones and districts in the 80’s, 90’s certainly raises questions about the cab driver theory but it certainly doesn’t discount it as a possibility.

      Like

      1. You are correct in stating the cities had their separate zones. However, if you were stepping out of any one location and a Taxi from an outside community was dropping off a fare; they would happily welcome your business irregardless. Same for ‘knock downs’. The “Out of Community” Taxi would be delighted to pick you up if you flagged their car down. Call a specific company from outside their assigned district, no problem; they will be over shortly to give you a ride. Also keep in mind that radio scanners were in every car listening to their competition’s communications. They would steal one another’s fare if they could get to the pick up location first. Everything was ‘Fare’ Game in the Taxi business.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. How difficult would it have been for a cab driver of a more known company in Dartmouth/Halifax like casino or yellow to be out with the roof sinage on and off duty taking fares off the books?

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Some interesting information presented. The body count in what is now referred to as HRM was unusually high in the late 80’s through the 90’s. Many bodies not yet accounted for within the lines of your blog. There was a young, aggressive, and personable investigative reporter that started working in the city during this time frame. His first day “on the beat” as the crime reporter for a local television upstart; included walking through the front doors of the Gottingen St Dept with several dozen donuts in tow. This little “joke’ won him the respect and confidence of the local officers. I attended an out of province high school with this reporter and I arrived in the Halifax a few years before he did. I gained an intimate knowledge of the city’s geography through my employ. I also gained alot of knowledge of the city’s happenings through my Mountie room mate and hanging at Dartmouth’s “Billy Club’. The aforementioned reporter had his inside sources. I knew the city. We spent alot of time discussing the ‘rumoured’ ‘who did what’; and through my geographical knowledge frequently did the ‘gore tour’. (sorry – thats kind of crude. We were both very young and drank far too many beer). We been to your Tim Hortons, sat at the Crazy Horse, saw the lite disco floor at the Southend Dance Club. We’ve been under Dover Flour, climbed through the garbage bins on North Street. We talked to the girls on the stroll in Dartmouth and Halifax. I am sure Ret’d Detective Martin would know the reporter to whom I am referring. Given your interest in investigative reporting; I would suggest you make contact with this former reporter. He is no longer in the Province, but not hard to find. He loves to talk. He loves Halifax. And he loves to discuss these very specific stories of which you are writing about. Enjoy your endeavour; it is an interesting one. I look forward to reading more about your research. I hope you find the answers none of us could conclude.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Are you also aware of the similarities between Brenda Way’s murder in Dartmouth and Margret “Robin” Hatrick in and around the same time period? While their back grounds are a little shadier than these girls, they died in similar ways (Brenda – throat slashed, clothing partially removed. And Robin – beaten and left to die behind a Dartmouth apt building.)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am not sure if you are aware, but Carla Stickland, was working, or had worked at the Wendy’s on Quinpool Rd, which is in the same building as the Canadian tire where Kimberly McAndrew worked. I used to work with her.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s