True Crime Story – The Monster Next Door

20 05 2009
In October of 1995,  I moved to Abbotsford British Columbia. A  local radio station, 85 Radio Max(“The Max”) hired me on as a sales rep. A week before pulling up stake in Edson, a tragic incident occurred where a 16 year old girl was brutally raped and murdered while her  friend was beaten unconscious and left for dead. My sister’s friend had parents living in Abbotsford, and their teenage son knew both of the victims froValley of the shadowm school. I stayed with these folks for 6 weeks when first moving there.
Over the course of the next few weeks, the perpetrator of this heinous crime dubbed “The Abbotsford Killer” by media played a bizarre cat and mouse game by repeatedly calling local police from area payphones and threatening to kill again.
While the community was frozen in fear, investigators tried to tie pieces of the crime scene together and apprehend this monster who was gaining nation-wide media notoriety. With no substantial clues or leads, investigators decided to play recordings of the killer’s voice in hope that someone in the community would recognize who this person was. The Max was the first radio station to play the recordings.
A number of months had passed without incident. The taunting calls to police had subsided for some time when a story was ran in the local newspaper citing that the Abbotsford Killer had “moved on” from the area. The story was bait, intended to bring the perpetrator out from hiding.
February 17th, 1996, shortly afterr the story ran I was in the midst of a 12- location, 12- hour remote-broadcast. I had sold a local credit union on the merits of “owning” our  4 signals (CKGO  CHWK , The Max , and STAR FM) for an entire day. DJ’s broadcasting from every branch offered up coffee, doughnuts, and prizes while reminding anyone with a radio that today was the last day for this  tax season’s RRSP contributions.  Starting out  in Hope and traveling west, my job on this Saturday was simply to ensure no glitches in the program and that the DJ’s were amply stocked with coffee and doughnuts.
I only had 2 more locations to visit when I pulled into the Max parking lot in Abbotsford. Immediately, I spotted a problem. The Max “Van” was still in the parking lot and not at the branch which was only 1/2 a block  down the alley. I headed upstairs to find Mike, one of our producers complaining that he couldn’t get it started. We went downstairs and with some old fashioned “screwdriver ingenuity”, I was able to get the van fired up and limped it over to the branch. I visited the on-location DJ briefly, as I was by now running behind and had one more stop. Walking back upstairs at the station, I checked in with Mike to make sure he was doing alright and then motored back to the parking lot and peeled out for Langley.
Pulling into my final stop a short time later, I was immediately informed  that I had to turn around and get back to the station. Post Haste. When I arrived, the entire area was condoned off with yellow police tape. Maybe 5 minutes after I left, Mike got a phone call telling him to check the Max news car. He discovered, on the hood, the grave marker of the girl who had been murdered. Written on the tombstone were specific details of the crime scene which were not yet made public and a threat to the girl who had survived the attack. A chill ran through my entire body upon realization that the killer had been watching Mike and I as we fidgeted around with the van, which was coincidentally, parked beside the news car. I spoke to police and satisfied their questions. I had seen nothing out of the ordinary and was preoccupied with other issues.
Two days later, a wrench with a note for police was tossed through the front window of a house a few blocks from my residence. This note was the work of the Abbotsford Killer, as evidenced by the content. The note also confessed to 3 more unsolved cases. Investigators would later reveal that a thumbprint was pulled from the tape that adhered the note to the wrench. A tip from his own mother after recognizing his voice from the radio, this fingerprint, and DNA evidence gathered at the crime scene would later convict Terry Driver.
Terry Driver, 31 and father of 2, worked for Abbotsford Printing. One of my best and favorite clients. I recognized this man not only as a pressman, but as a fellow angler. Someone I had seen a number of times at Hub Sports, the local fishing shop.  He  lived in the same area of Abbotsford, just a short stroll from me.
“Through the Valley of the Shadow – The Search for the Abbotsford Killer” is a recently published account of the case, written by Rod  Gehl who was one of the lead investigators.
This 46 minute documentary on the subject has interviews with a number of people I used to know.



2 responses

5 07 2009

Awesome blog! Subscribed on rss. Regular will read it. Good job.

6 07 2009

Excellent blog! Very interesting themes. I will regularly read it.

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