Suspects in hockey bag death named in documents

Cape Breton Regional Police in Nova Scotia have named the men they believe killed a woman whose remains were found stuffed inside a hockey bag on the Mira River.

Victim's mother reflects on what would have been daughter's 22nd birthday

Edna Jessome says she's relieved there may be a conclusion in her daughter's case. 0:58

Cape Breton Regional Police in Nova Scotia have named the men they believe killed a woman whose remains were found stuffed inside a hockey bag on the Mira River.

In court documents filed in December, officers identify Glace Bay residents Thomas Barrett and Morgan MacNeil as the suspects in the killing of 21-year-old Laura Jessome, who was from the Cape Breton community of Little Bras d'Or.

Neither man has been charged.

Jessome, 21, was last seen May 2 in the New Aberdeen area of Glace Bay. A hockey bag containing her remains was found floating along the Mira River near Marion Bridge several weeks later, on May 25.

Police have not said how she died.

Brian Augustine Deruelle, 37, and Robert Edwin Matheson, 49 — both from Glace Bay — were arrested last month and each charged with accessory after the fact.

Laura Jessome's body was discovered in a hockey bag several weeks after she was last seen in Glace Bay, N.S. (Facebook)

Although no one has been charged with killing Jessome and there is nothing proven to implicate Barrett and MacNeil, Cape Breton Regional Police allege Deruelle and Matheson knew Barrett and MacNeil had killed Jessome and helped them escape.

"Knowing that Thomas Barrett and Morgan MacNeil had murdered Laura Catherine Jessome did assist Thomas Barrett and Morgan MacNeil for the purpose of enabling Thomas Barrett and Morgan MacNeil to escape, contrary to Section 240 of the Criminal Code of Canada," the documents say.

Police won't confirm

But Desiree Vassallo, a spokeswoman for the Cape Breton Regional Police, said police will not confirm whether the two men are suspects.

"Police wouldn't release names of anybody until a charge has been laid against that person. So at this point, we've named the two individuals charged with accessory and that's all we can say," she told CBC News on Wednesday.

Daniel MacRury, the chief Crown prosecutor in the case, said it's not unusual for police to name others in documents related to accessory after the fact charges.

"It is part of the nature of the charge, so it is proper to have it before the court," MacRury said. "We have to name who they are an accessory after. The information is a public document, but the information is focused on the two accused and no one else."

Meanwhile, Jessome's mother Edna tells CBC News she wants justice.

"I want to get whoever did this to my daughter," she said. "We miss her everyday. She was our whole life, and I'm very glad and I trust in the detectives and everything they do and however long it takes to get the person or persons responsible for her death."

Edna Jessome said Wednesday was especially hard.

"Today is the ninth of January," she said. "She would have been 22 years old today. It's her birthday, Instead of putting out cake and candles and a present, I've got to go out and visit a gravesite just to say happy birthday to my little girl."

In November, Nova Scotia's Department of Justice added Jessome's case to the Major Unsolved Crimes Program, offering up to $150,000 cash for tips that lead to solving the case.

Deruelle and Matheson are currently in custody in a Sydney jail — Deruelle is scheduled to be arraigned on Jan. 16.

Barrett and MacNeil are also in police custody for charges unrelated to Jessome's homicide.