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'We deserve some answers': sister of cold case victim Jackie English

By Jane Sims, The London Free Press

Jackie English. (File Photo)

Jackie English. (File Photo)

LONDON, Ont. -- She knows his name.

She knows his face.

Now, Jackie English's sister wants the OPP to get on board and investigate the findings of a celebrity sleuth's probe into the London teen's homicide four decades ago that points to a convicted killer as the prime suspect.

"We're not going away. We deserve some answers," Anne English-Cremers said after the airing Saturday of To Catch A Killer, which profiled her sister's death.

"And the poor little kids that were killed certainly deserve that," she said, referring to the string of unsolved cold case murders in the London area during the 1960s and 1970s.

The head of the OPP's criminal investigations branch said Sunday investigators continue to probe the case and were aware of the show's contents.

"I want to assure the family as well as the general public... In this matter as in any other matter, the OPP will follow all leads and tips and make use of all information. If there is a new lead, we will make use of it," Det.-Supt Dave Truax said.

"We certainly sympathize with the families and friends of victims of unsolved homicides, and the challenge and frustration is that we cannot share the results of the investigation... It would be wrong to assume that because we have not talked publicly about a lead in an investigation it has not been investigated," he said.

Truax said investigators welcome the publicity swirling around To Catch A Killer.

"Bringing an investigation forward in this forum, though many many years have passed, may certainly elicit someone's memory to come forward with information that may be very pertinent to this investigation," he said.

The Oprah Winfrey Network show, the brainchild of London police and Western University professor Mike Arntfield, revealed a man named "David" who had a home base west of Tillsonburg, Ont., fits the profile of who killed English, 15, in October 1969. He was convicted of non-capital murder in the 1970s and doesn't live in the area.

The full name and details about his crime were obscured in the show for legal reasons.

A report by the civilian investigators leaked to QMI Agency links English's slaying with the deaths of Lynda White, 19, who vanished in 1968 and Soraya O'Connell, 15, who vanished in 1970.

The report suggests the person responsible was a sexually motivated serial killer with an attraction to corpses who was willing to travel long distances and may have kept souvenirs of his slayings.

The killer also would deposit personal belongings in various locations far away from the eventual spots where the bodies were found.

The starting point for the investigators was the discovered memoirs of a deceased OPP officer, Dennis Alsop, who led the investigations and was bothered that they were never solved.

English-Cremers said she was shocked when "David" was revealed to her by Arntfield and his team to be the main suspect.

She and a small group of amateur sleuths dedicated to solving English's killing were aware of the man and noticed similarities in the cases.

"You would have figured the police would have looked at him and would have somehow eliminated him (as a suspect)," English-Cremers said.

It's not the first time she has been confused by the OPP's conduct about her sister's death. Over decades she was told little of progress in the investigation.

"It's none of my business, is the feeling I get," she said. "They want you to go away."

The "lame excuse" she was routinely given by the OPP was "this is an open case."

"That's basically their answer for everything they don't have to answer to," she said. "At 16, I understand why you did it. But I'm 60 years old and I can handle it."

The OPP said late last week that the case is still open but that Arntfield's show had no connection to the their probe. On Sunday, Truax said Arntfield has never contacted the OPP about his findings in the English case, nor has Ocean Entertainment.

The show compared a police sketch from witnesses who saw a man in the Metropolitan store where English was a server with a photo of "David" -- and revealed significant similarities.

A geographic profile plotted important places related to the English investigation and the solved murder with some surprising links.

English was abducted from the Wellington Rd. bridge over Hwy. 401 on Oct. 4, 1969, after she left work at the restaurant in the Treasure Island Mall.

Her naked body was found four days later in Big Otter Creek near Tillsonburg.

Her torn clothing and brown penny loafers were found many kilometres from the body.

Also included in the show was an examination of English's diary.

English-Cremers had retrieved the personal reflections of her sister from the OPP in November 2012. They had seized the diary as evidence in 1969.

The writings reminded her how "tough things were" when they were young and how hard her sister worked.

"I'm glad I have it," she said.

HIGHLIGHTS OF TO CATCH A KILLER

* Identified a man named "David" who has been convicted of non-capital murder in the 1970s, as the possible killer of London teen Jackie English in 1969. The show indicated he is alive and has moved several times. "He's out there," one of the team said near the end of the show.

* A geographic profile using Rossmo's Formula, designed by a former Vancouver police detective, plotted points on a map where English was abducted, her body recovered and various places where her personal belonging were found. They were linked to areas significant in a solved murder and suggested a "home base" for the suspect.

* An expert in facial perception from Brock University compared a police sketch made from a description of a witness who saw a man in the Metropolitan department store where English was a server on the night she disappeared to a photo of the suspect. There were some similarities but also a caution that the sketch may not be of the man who abducted and killed English.

- with files from QMI Agency reporter Jennifer O'Brien


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