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Mounties Suspect Serial Killer After Woman’s Remains Found in Alberta

Sex worker Corrie Ottenbreit had given the Royal Canadian Mounted Police a hair sample so that they would have her DNA on file in case she ever went missing.

Corrie Ottenbreit. Photo courtesy PorchlightCanada

This post originally appeared on VICE Canada.

A few months before Corrie Ottenbreit was last seen by a family member at her home in Edmonton more than a decade ago, she gave the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) a sample of her hair so officers would have her DNA on file in the event that she ever went missing or ended up dead.

Ottenbreit, then 27, was a sex worker who regularly met with clients along 118 Avenue in northeast Edmonton, and likely knew that her line of work could lead to danger. She vanished on May 9, 2004.


Yesterday, RCMP officers announced they had identified her remains near a rural property in Leduc, Alberta, using the hair she provided. Her remains were found near those of three other women, which RCMP say means a serial killer could have been involved.

"We consider Corrie's death to be a homicide," said RCMP Inspector Stacey Talbot during a press interview on Tuesday. "One of the investigative theories in relation to these deaths is we may be dealing with a serial predator."

On Wednesday, VICE spoke with Alberta RCMP Inspector Gibson Glavin, who said that for Ottenbreit's case, and the others, the main task for is to consider anybody who might have been capable of the deaths.

This could include two men, Thomas Svelka and Joseph Laboucan, who are already behind bars for killing other Edmonton sex workers. Svelka is currently serving an indefinite prison sentence for second-degree murder of a sex worker. Laboucan was convicted of first-degree murder for killing a sex worker in 2005, while he was already serving a life sentence for sexually assaulting and beating another girl to death.

Since 2003, a special unit of RCMP officers called Project KARE has been taking voluntary DNA samples from women in precarious positions, such as Ottenbreit, so they can track and identify them if they go missing or are killed. Project KARE was formed in response to growing number of cases involving missing women and remains of dead people being discovered on the outskirts of the city.


The list of names in the database has since grown to 1,200, and women still are adding themselves every day.

Ottenbreit is the fourth woman officers with Project KARE have identified since 2003—all within a few kilometers of each other near Leduc, which is south of Edmonton.

In 2003, the remains of Katie Ballantyne were found in a field, months after she disappeared.

In 2010, another woman, Amber Tuccaro, went missing. Her remains were found in September 2012.

And the remains of Delores Brower, an Aboriginal sex worker from Edmonton who went missing in 2004, were discovered this April.

Ottenbreit's family released a statement today asking for privacy. "Our only hope now is that we will someday learn more about what led to her disappearance and death," the statement reads. "We ask anyone who has any information that could help the police to come forward."

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