After six years feeling suffocated by the tragedy of his parents' disappearance, Bret McCann says he can finally breath a sigh of relief.
A judge ruled Tuesday that Travis Vader will go to trial on first-degree murder charges in the case of Lyle and Marie McCann, an elderly St. Albert couple who vanished in the summer of 2010.
"It was just a huge sense of relief," said McCann during a Wednesday morning interview on CBC's Edmonton AM morning radio show..
"We couldn't think about anything else. We were fixated on this single moment, this single decision that needed to be made and it was such a relief that this is going forward."
The ruling comes after a lengthy abuse of process hearing. Court of Queen's Bench Justice Denny Thomas denied a defence application to have the charges against Vader judicially stayed.
Vader's defence team applied to the court last November to stay the charges, citing numerous incidents where the Crown failed to disclose evidence.
The five-week trial is scheduled to start March 8.
Vader, 42, was originally scheduled to go to trial in the spring of 2014. B ut the charges were stayed weeks before the trial was scheduled to begin when the Crown became concerned the RCMP hadn't disclosed all evidence in the case. Charges were reinstated in December of 2014.
'It is a marathon not a sprint'
Despite years of legal wrangling, McCann says his confidence in the justice system remains unshaken.
"The wheels grind slowly, and it is a marathon not a sprint, but be patient," he said. "This is the lesson that we're learning, be patient and the train will finally get there. We're hopeful."
Court documents released during the abuse of process hearing show police believe forensic evidence, such as cellphone records, an undercover sting and DNA at the crime scene link the accused to the couple's disappearance.
Although the documents and allegations have yet to be proven in court, McCann says the evidence has made him feel a sense of closure in the death of his parents is finally within reach.
"Some of the evidence that was disclosed lately was a surprise to us, it seems to indicate that there is a lot there that needs to be told," he said. "And we're quite confident that we'll have a good idea what happened to my parents."
Lyle McCann, 78, and his wife Marie McCann, 77, were last seen on July 3, 2010, while on a road trip from their hometown of St. Albert, to Chilliwack, British Columbia. Their burned out Hyundai SUV was discovered 13 days later.
The bodies of the St. Albert, Alta, couple have never been found. But their son is holding out hope that the trial will trigger new tips in the case, and help put his parents to rest.
"It's very important to me that we find my parents bodies. There is a reward, if you know anything at all."