Murder trial set to begin for Alberta couple whose bodies were never found

EDMONTON -- Bret McCann hopes he'll finally find out what happened to his parents.

It's been nearly six years since Lyle and Marie McCann, 78 and 77 respectively, were last seen fuelling up their motorhome in their hometown of St.

See Full Article

Albert, a bedroom community north of Edmonton.

They were heading out for a holiday in British Columbia and Mounties believe the seniors were murdered along the way, although their bodies have never been found.

A first-degree murder trial is to begin Tuesday for longtime suspect Travis Vader. He was described as a person of interest soon after the McCanns disappeared and eventually charged. But the charges were stayed before being reactivated in late 2014.

It's been a "long, interrupted march to the courtroom" for the accused, as a judge in preliminary matters has said, and Vader has filed lawsuits against prosecutors and the RCMP claiming malicious prosecution.

Bret McCann doesn't want to say much about the man accused of killing his parents.

For him, the trial means that for the first time he'll get to hear all the evidence and the Crown's theory as to how and why his parents were killed.

"My life's certainly been on hold," said the 61-year-old, who recently retired from his job as an engineer, in part, to focus on the trial. He plans to attend each day with other family members.

He knows that in the end, despite the verdict, he may not have an answer to perhaps the biggest mystery in the case: where are the bodies?

"Since Day 1, we've been trying to find them," he said. "I just don't know whether after this trial we'll know that either."

Lyle McCann, a former long-haul trucker, loaded up his motorhome each year to travel with his wife. They drove to the United States in the winter and explored the Praires in the summer.

Their disappearance gripped Alberta and the rest of Canada for much of the summer of 2010.

On July 5 of that year, two days after they were last seen on surveillance video at a gas station, their burned-out motorhome was found in woods near Edson, west of Edmonton. The SUV they had been towing was also found concealed in another location.

Police spent several days combing the area. A $60,000 reward "to help find our parents" is still advertised on highway billboards, with giant photos of the smiling, spectacled seniors.

A year after they vanished, a judge granted an order declaring the McCanns dead so their family could start processing their wills. A memorial service was held on what would have been their 59th wedding anniversary.

Vader was arrested on a long list of outstanding warrants on unrelated charges, but he wasn't charged until 2012.

Days before Vader's trial was to begin in 2014, the Crown announced that it had discovered that Mounties had failed to disclose all evidence to defence lawyers and stayed the charges. They were relaid nine months later.

Vader's lawyer, Brian Beresh, argued in court in January that the case should be dropped over an alleged abuse of process and a two-year delay getting to trial.

Justice Denny Thomas ruled the RCMP made serious mistakes and the delay was troubling, but denied the application.

During the hearing, a publication ban was lifted on court documents detailing some evidence. The documents, not yet presented or proven in court, show that RCMP found Lyle McCann's hat with a bullet hole in it, along with his wife's blood, inside their SUV.

Police also recovered Vader's fingerprint and DNA on a beer can inside the vehicle, the documents said.

They further revealed that Vader used the couple's cellphone the day they disappeared.

Beresh said much has yet to be revealed in the "interesting" case.

"Mr. Vader is looking forward to establishing his innocence."



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Search resumes for 4 missing after India bus plunges into river

    World News CTV News
    NEW DELHI - Rescuers on Wednesday found another three bodies as they resumed searching for people missing after a bus plunged into a river in mountainous northern India, killing at least 20 Hindu pilgrims. Police officer Mahadev Uniyal said that rescuers recovered 19 bodies and one person died in a hospital. Source
  • Duterte declares martial law in south Philippines

    World News CTV News
    MANILA, Philippines - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte warned Wednesday that he'll be harsh in enforcing martial law in his country's south as he abruptly left Moscow to deal with a crisis at home sparked by a Muslim extremist siege on a city, where militants burned buildings overnight and are feared to have taken hostages. Source
  • Latest: Police hunt for accomplices of Manchester Arena attacker

    World News CTV News
    MANCHESTER, England -- The Latest on the blast at an Ariana Grande concert in northern England (all times local): 2:10 a.m. As officials hunted for accomplices of a suicide bomber and Britain's prime minister warned another attack could be "imminent," thousands of people poured into the streets of Manchester in a defiant vigil Tuesday for victims of a blast at a pop concert. Source
  • Brazilian miners find emerald weighing more than 600 pounds

    World News Toronto Sun
    SAO PAULO — Miners have found a 4.3-foot (1.3-metre) tall emerald weighing more than 600 pounds (272 kilograms) in Brazil’s northeastern state of Bahia. Paulo Santana of Brazil’s National Mineral Production Department said the emerald was found about 20 days ago by miners of the Bahia Mineral Cooperative. Source
  • South Korean military court convicts gay soldier over sex

    World News CTV News
    SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of - A South Korean military court has sentenced an army captain to a suspended prison term for having sex with a fellow male soldier. Human rights groups have criticized the ruling as regressive, saying it further intimidates the country's already persecuted sexual minority groups. Source
  • Trump, Pope Francis to meet at Vatican

    World News CBC News
    Concluding his tour of the ancestral homes of the world's three largest monotheistic religions, U.S. President Donald Trump is poised to call on Pope Francis, the famously humble pontiff with whom he has publicly clashed. Trump, midway through his gruelling nine-day maiden international journey, will meet the pontiff at the Vatican early Wednesday where the two will have a private audience laden with religious symbolism and ancient protocol. Source
  • Trump set to meet Pope Francis

    World News CTV News
    ROME - Concluding his tour of the ancestral homes of the world's three largest monotheistic religions, U.S. President Donald Trump is poised to call on Pope Francis, the famously humble pontiff with whom he has publicly clashed. Source
  • Texas Senate rejects 'bathroom bill'

    World News CTV News
    AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Senate is planning to reject a House attempt to revive the transgender "bathroom bill" and seek a conference committee to reconcile differences in proposals that each chamber passed on the issue. Source
  • Police should have moved in earlier in Sydney cafe siege, coroner says

    World News CTV News
    SYDNEY, Australia - Police responding to a deadly hostage crisis in a Sydney cafe underestimated the gunman's threat and should have stormed the building earlier, rather than waiting to act until the gunman had killed a captive, a coroner said Wednesday after concluding a 2- 1/2 year inquiry. Source
  • Hardening 'soft targets' won’t stop terror attacks: experts

    World News CTV News
    Security officials around the world are scrambling to harden so-called “soft targets” -- plentiful and vulnerable civilian gathering sites like night clubs, outdoor festivals and outside stadiums -- in the wake of the latest deadly bombing attack. Source