Cold-case collection probes history of B.C. mysteries

Cold Case Vancouver: The City’s Most Baffling Unsolved Murders
By Eve Lazarus
Arsenal Pulp Press, 184 pp., $21.95
 

Somebody out there must know something. Somewhere, there must be a clue that will help the police determine who did it.

Or maybe the police know who did it, but are lacking the hard evidence that is needed before charges can be laid, the evidence that will help to bring a conviction, and closure for the families that have been broken apart for all of these years.

Or perhaps the killer is dead, and never revealed what he did. Perhaps any witnesses are gone as well. The answers might never be known.

These are some of the thoughts that roll through a reader’s head as a result of book such as this one, a haunting collection of stories about murders in Greater Vancouver that have never been solved, officially at least.

Author Eve Lazarus has brought together the stories of 18 cold cases, along with one that was resolved after many years.

There is wide variety in the selection here, since Lazarus has included victims young and old, known and unknown. Some of the victims had lifestyles that would put them at risk, while others were simply innocent victims, and it is hard to imagine why someone would have wanted to kill them.

Most unsolved cases have plenty of baffling details as well as odd events that might or might not be related. These result from the investigations, as police searched for any possible lead, and examined the lives of the victims in great detail.

One of the saddest cases here is the one known as the Babes in the Woods — two small children whose skeletal remains were found in Stanley Park in 1953. Their identities have never been determined, and it’s anyone’s guess who was responsible for their deaths.

Cold Case Vancouver gives readers an idea what suffering these murders have caused for the surviving family members, the people who have never been able to feel a sense of closure. These people were left wondering for the rest of their lives.

It also serves as a reminder that Greater Victoria has its share of unsolved murders as well, and some of these cases have been cold for decades.

Consider, for example, Molly Justice, whose body was found next to the Canadian National Railway track that is now Lochside Trail, near Swan Lake in Saanich.

Molly was just 15 years old when she was attacked while walking home in 1943. A man was charged with her murder, based on the testimony of a boy Molly’s age, and was found not guilty.

A quarter of a century later, the boy was charged with perjury because of his accusation. He was found guilty and sentenced to four and a half years in a federal penitentiary.

Several people, including a police officer, said the boy had admitted to the murder, and he had challenged anyone to prove he had been involved. He was never charged with the murder.

The boy, the man found not guilty, the police officers who investigated the death, and the people who found Molly’s body have all died. It’s doubtful the truth can ever be known.

A more recent murder is that of Lindsay Buziak, the real estate agent who was stabbed to death while showing a home in Saanich in 2008.

The Buziak case has become one of the most notorious unsolved murders in the capital region. Again, somebody out there knows something. Let’s hope they come forward eventually.

Lazarus has written a book that shines a new light on cold cases. With luck, it will trigger a memory, or a sense of guilt, and at least one of these cases can be solved.

The reviewer is the editor-in-chief of the Times Colonist. He gave guidance to Lazarus, without compensation, when her book was in draft form.

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