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

  • WikiLeaks praises Manning clemency but makes no mention of Assange pledge

    World News CTV News
    LONDON - WikiLeaks said President Barack Obama may have saved Chelsea Manning's life by granting clemency to the former Army intelligence analyst Tuesday. But the secret-spilling site said little about founder Julian Assange's promise that he would agree to extradition to the United States if Manning got clemency. Source
  • No comparison between rise of Trump and U.K. Brexit vote, says British envoy

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    OTTAWA — Britain’s envoy to Canada says it is lazy to equate the rise of Donald Trump in the U.S. to his country’s controversial decision to leave the European Union. High Commissioner Howard Drake said the British decision to stage a “Brexit” and leave the EU differs greatly from the so-called populist sentiment that propelled Trump to Washington and Friday’s presidential inauguration. Source
  • Chris Hadfield donates six-string to Guitars for Kids group

    Canada News CTV News
    A guitar that once belonged to Canadian astronaut-slash-galactic crooner Chris Hadfield has found a new home in an Ontario town. Hadfield tweeted last November that his old acoustic Yamaha was broken, thanks to a bridge that popped off, and that if anyone wanted to fix or donate it, “it’s yours. Source
  • Garland's sister tipped off police

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    Relatives of Douglas Garland, charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the disappearances of a five-year-old boy and his grandparents, are taking the stand on the second day of his trial. Crown lawyer Vicki Faulkner told the court Monday, that four days after the disappearance of Alvin and Kathy Liknes and Nathan O’Brien, police found a smouldering burn barrel on Douglas Garland's parents' farm. Source
  • Australia defends end of MH370 hunt; investigation continues

    World News Toronto Sun
    SYDNEY, Australia — Australia’s Transport Minister Darren Chester said on Wednesday that experts will continue analyzing data and scrutinizing debris washing ashore from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in a bid to narrow down where it crashed in the southern Indian Ocean. Source
  • Orlando nightclub gunman's wife knew about attack beforehand, court hears

    World News CBC News
    The widow of the Orlando nightclub gunman knew about the attack ahead of time, prosecutors said Tuesday as she appeared in court to face charges of aiding and abetting her husband in the months before the rampage last June that left 49 people dead. Source
  • Winnipeg waitress gets $1,000 tip [Photos]

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    A Winnipeg woman who left a four-figure tip for a stressed-out server says she did so as a lesson to her young sons and as a full believer in the powers of karma. Lisa Holgate said she wanted to lead by example and let her three sons who were with her learn the power of generosity when she left a $1,000 tip for Jennifer Peitsch, a server at Mongo’s Grill on Regent Avenue, last Saturday. Source
  • Kids snatched three decades ago found, mom arrested

    World News Toronto Sun
    SCITUATE, R.I. — Two sisters who disappeared from Rhode Island with their mother in 1985 have been located in the Houston area, and their mother was charged with snatching them, police announced Tuesday. An anonymous tip two days before Christmas led police to Kimberly and Kelly Yates and their 69-year-old mother, Elaine, said Rhode Island State Police Lt. Source
  • German nationalist calls for end to Nazi guilt

    World News Toronto Sun
    THE ASSOCIATED PRESS First posted: Tuesday, January 17, 2017 06:37 PM EST | Updated: Tuesday, January 17, 2017 06:40 PM EST Source
  • Elvis?!

    World News Toronto Sun
    FAha. You knew it all along. Elvis is alive. The proof is splashed across British newspapers and Facebook. “UNCANNY!” says the British Sun. “IS THE KING ALIVE?” The Daily Mail and others also picked up the story, which debuted on a Facebook page, where else, called Evidence Elvis is Alive. Source