Alberta Crown says forensics, phone records tie Travis Vader to McCann killings

EDMONTON -- Court documents show forensic evidence, cellphone records, an undercover sting and a bullet hole in a hat are part of the Crown's long-running attempt to tie a suspect to the mysterious disappearance of two Alberta seniors.

See Full Article

Lyle and Marie McCann, both in their late 70s, were last seen in 2010 fuelling up their motorhome in their hometown of St. Albert, a bedroom community north of Edmonton. They were on their way to a family camping trip in British Columbia.

Two days later, their burned-out motorhome was discovered in a wooded area near Edson, Alta. The SUV they had been towing was found concealed in another location more than a week after that.

Their bodies have never been found, but police believe they were killed near the hamlet of Peers, east of Edson.

RCMP quickly named Travis Vader as a person of interest in the case although it took nearly two years for them to charge him with two counts of first-degree murder.

The charges were stayed in 2014, just a few weeks before the case was set to go before a jury. The Crown says it realized Mounties hadn't disclosed all evidence in the case. The charges were reactivated last December and a new trial before a judge alone is to start in March.

Vader's lawyers have been arguing in court that the charges should be tossed out over abuse of the judicial process. A hearing on the issue is underway, and a judge lifted a publication ban on some documents Tuesday.

In a pretrial conference memorandum on Dec. 2, 2013, the Crown writes that "forensic evidence ties" Vader to the couple's SUV.

It says Marie McCann's blood was found inside as well as Lyle McCann's hat with a bullet hole in it.

The Crown alleges that Vader used the couple's cellphone the afternoon of July 3, 2010 -- the last day they were seen alive.

"The Crown's case is dependent upon circumstantial evidence, motive and exclusive opportunity, forensic evidence and post offence conduct evidence," reads the document.

None of the allegations have been tested in court, and the Crown states that the defence "does not admit these facts." Vader has pleaded not guilty.

Vader's lawyer Brian Beresh declined Tuesday to talk about the case.

The court documents show the use of undercover officers in the RCMP's investigation, dubbed Project Kontrail.

In November 2011, the documents say, Vader's sister Bobbi Jo Vader was involved in a "scenario" with some of the officers. At one point, during a trip from Edmonton to Calgary, they stopped at the remand centre in Red Deer so she could visit her brother.

An admitted crack addict, the documents say Bobbi Jo Vader initially told officers her brother couldn't have done it. But she later changed her mind.

"She said she believed that Travis was involved in the murders and she saw guns wrapped in blankets that could have come from the McCanns' motorhome," say the documents.

In an RCMP interview with one of the McCanns' children, Trudy Holder said her father kept an axe in the motorhome, under a seat, to fend off bears. He also owned several guns for hunting, she said, but he likely wouldn't have taken them on the trip.

Her mother also kept a small, loaded Derringer pistol in her eyeglasses case. Family didn't find it in their home after the couple disappeared.

Holder told police her father, a former long-haul trucker, used to talk about stopping to help others on the road but hadn't done so recently and wouldn't have if her mother was with him.

When on road trips, the couple typically pulled into rest areas to take breaks and make sandwiches, instead of stopping at restaurants, she said.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • U.S. immigration judge grants asylum to Singapore teen blogger

    World News CTV News
    CHICAGO -- A teenage blogger from Singapore whose online posts blasting his government landed in him jail was granted asylum to remain in the United States, an immigration judge in Chicago ruled Friday. Amos Yee has been detained by federal immigration authorities since December when he was taken into custody at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. Source
  • After U.S. health bill's withdrawal, elation and anger

    World News CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Some Americans breathed a sigh of relief, others bubbled with frustration, and nearly all resigned themselves to the prospect that the latest chapter in the never-ending national debate over health care would not be the last. Source
  • B.C. Liberals to refund $93k for indirect donations, cites clerical errors

    Canada News CTV News
    VANCOUVER -- The British Columbia Liberal Party says it has found 43 so-called indirect donations worth almost $93,000, which it plans to reimburse. The information comes as the RCMP is already reviewing possible violations of the B.C. Source
  • After health care bill’s withdrawal, elation and anger

    World News Toronto Sun
    NEW YORK — Some Americans breathed a sigh of relief, others bubbled with frustration, and nearly all resigned themselves to the prospect that the latest chapter in the never-ending national debate over health care would not be the last. Source
  • Health-care havoc: Trump's 1st legislative test a 'big loser' that puts his agenda on shaky ground

    World News CBC News
    So much for the hard-bargaining American president's ultimatum on repealing Obamacare. Donald Trump's first major legislative push veered into a ditch on Friday, denting his image as a master negotiator and dealing an embarrassing blow to his young presidency's momentum. Source
  • Aid group fears hundreds of migrants drowned off Libya

    World News CTV News
    MADRID -- Hundreds of migrants may have died off Libya's coast, a Spanish aid organization said Friday, and Turkish media reported that 11 migrants died after a boat sank in the Aegean. Video footage from DHA in Turkey showed a half-dozen covered bodies that were laid out near ambulances. Source
  • SPCA in Alberta says about 100 small-breed dogs removed from home

    Canada News CTV News
    LETHBRIDGE, Alta. - The Alberta SPCA says about 100 dogs have been removed from a home in Lethbridge. The SPCA says in a news release that officers visited the home based on a tip from the public earlier this week. Source
  • Jailed Philippine senator says she 'won't be quiet' about President Duterte

    World News CBC News
    The most vocal critic of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte could be stuck behind the lime-green walls of a Manila prison for a long time. "Rot in jail" was the destiny the president predicted for his nemesis, Senator Leila de Lima, who has loudly and vigorously objected to his crackdown on suspected drug users and dealers, which has resulted in more than 7,000 deaths. Source
  • Man sentenced in death of pregnant ex-girlfriend in Hawaii

    World News Toronto Sun
    HONOLULU — A judge sentenced a man Friday to life in prison with the possibility of parole in the murder of his ex-girlfriend who disappeared while pregnant with his child in Hawaii. A jury previously convicted 27-year-old Steven Capobianco of second-degree murder in the death of Carly “Charli” Scott. Source
  • 2 killed, 22 injured in fight between Mexico union factions

    World News CTV News
    FILE -- A man checks his cell phone as he stands guard in a commercial zone in the port city of Veracruz, Mexico, Friday, Jan. 6, 2017. (AP Photo/Felix Marquez) Source