Toronto Police have solved an infamous Canadian cold case tied to one of the most notorious wrongful convictions in the country's history.
In October of 1984, nine-year-old Christine Jessop was abducted from her home in the Greater Toronto Area. She was then raped and killed. Her body was found on New Year’s Eve. She was stabbed to death.
Police were able to use DNA to identify Calvin Hoover as the main suspect in the case, acting Toronto Police Chief James Ramer said at a press conference today. Police say the Jessop family knew Hoover, who was 28 years old at the time of the murder. He was not previously identified as a suspect and died by suicide in 2015.
“However, if he were alive today, the Toronto Police Service would arrest Calvin Hoover for the murder of Christine Jessop,” said Ramer.
The news comes over three decades after police arrested and charged the wrong man for the murder. Less than a year after Jessop's murder police arrested Guy Paul Morin in April 1985. After a mistrial and a lengthy appeal process, Morin was convicted in1992 for first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. DNA evidence proved he was innocent in 1995 and police released him. After an inquiry into the wrongful conviction showed police mismanaged the case and Morin was awarded $1.25 million.
Morin told the CBC that TPS officers came to his house recently to tell him they discovered who the real killer was.
"I can say that I'm happy that there's closure for the Jessops' peace of mind," Morin told the national broadcaster. "It's something I was always expecting…. The justice system failed me but science saved me."
The Jessop family told Global News they were stunned when they heard the information earlier today. Jessop’s brother Kenney told Global that Hoover’s father and his were coworkers and he was a friend of the family.
Police were able to solve the cold case by using technology that analyzes DNA and identifies genealogy. Police said they sent semen stains they found in Jessop’s underwear to an American lab who were able to use the DNA to identify Hoover as the perpetrator after “establishing the family tree.” Ramer said they were then able to test a DNA sample the Centre for Forensic Science had for Hoover against the DNA found in the underwear to prove they were correct.
Ramer said that while they have identified Hoover as the suspect the investigation is still ongoing and there are still questions that need to be answered. He said they are hoping to “create a timeline of his whereabouts and the last moments of Christine’s life.”
“There are no winners in this announcement, and this is not a reason to celebrate,” he added later. “It does, however, allow us to take a major step forward in our efforts to bring justice to Christine’s family.”
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