The bomb that killed Wayne Greavette: Family searches for answers 20 years on

On Dec. 12, 1996 near Guelph, Ont., Wayne Greavette was killed instantly in front of his family by a bomb disguised as a flashlight. His wife, son and daughter joined forces to confront one of Canada’s most terrifying cases for the first time with CBC filmmaker David Ridgen, discovering Wayne’s dark secret life, and important new evidence in the process.

Bomb disguised as flashlight mailed to family's home ahead of Christmas

Wayne Greavette was killed instantly in front of his family on Dec. 12, 1996 by a bomb disguised as a flashlight. (David Ridgen/CBC)

It's been 20 years since Wayne Greavette opened what seemed like an early Christmas present on Dec.12, 1996. The package, delivered to his Moffat, Ont., address by Canada Post, contained a bomb that was disguised as a flashlight and when he turned it on, it exploded, killing him instantly. He was 42 years old.

A letter that accompanied the bomb contained the names of some people Greavette knew, along with a fake business proposal and return address. To date, the case is unsolved. 

At the time of his murder, Greavette worked in the food and beverage packaging industry. He and his family were also developing a spring water business on their property. His widow, Diane, and his two children Justin and Danielle have been tormented and consumed by the murder for the past 20 years. 

Seven years ago, they joined CBC documentarian David Ridgen in a quest for answers over a number of difficult months looking back at the case for the first time. New evidence was uncovered, and tips were generated. But, ultimately, a solution proved elusive. 

Filmmaker David Ridgen helped the family search for answers beginning seven years ago. (Owen Ridgen)

Sometimes, family members feel like their search for some answers over the years will never cease. Every anniversary is like a sledgehammer to an already damaged family core. The Greavettes re-live the horrors of that day endlessly.  

But Diane Greavette also believes that over time, affiliations and loyalties can change and that eventually, the people responsible will be revealed.

"We all miss Wayne very much, and continue to fight," she says. "We appeal to all who knew him personally and professionally to step forward, with anything they may have, that could help us solve his case."  

Who could have killed Wayne Greavette? Suspicions have been placed over the years, variously, on people he knew through SERGE, a food and beverage equipment and installation company he worked at near Rockwood, Ont.; on various relationships Greavette may have had with other women; and on a competitor who may have been murderously jealous of the water company he was developing.

Around the time the package containing the flashlight must have been mailed, a pair of men were seen locally asking for  Greavette's address. Their composite drawings have been made public by police, and an anonymous man interviewed by the CBC's Ridgen claims that the flashlight bomb was at least facilitated by an outlaw motorcycle club.

WARNING:  The program begins with the 911 call placed by Justin Greavette moments after the flashlight exploded. The audience should be aware that the contents of the call and the documentary is unsettling and could be disturbing to some viewers.