Slain woman's family asks about Williams link

A couple in Deep River, Ont., say they have asked authorities if they are investigating any connections between their daughter's unsolved murder case and Col. Russell Williams.

Mother remains leery of making connection

A couple in Deep River, Ont., say they have asked authorities if they are investigating any connections between their daughter's unsolved murder case and Col. Russell Williams, the former commander of Canadian Forces Base Trenton who has been charged in the deaths of two other southern Ontario women.

Cpl. Marie-France Comeau, 38, left, was slain Nov. 25, 2009. The body of Jessica Lloyd, 27, right, was found by police last Monday. (Canadian Press)

Margaret McWilliam was found raped and killed at Warden Woods Park in Toronto's Scarborough region on Aug. 27, 1987. McWilliam was a native of Deep River, a community located about two hours' drive northwest of Ottawa.

She was 21 at the time.

Williams, 46, had graduated from University of Toronto's Scarborough campus that year.

He was charged last week with first-degree murder in the deaths of Jessica Lloyd, 27, and Cpl. Marie-France Comeau, 38.

He also faces charges for home invasions and sexual assaults.

Charlotte McWilliam, Margaret's mother, said her first reaction to Williams's arrest was "absolute shock," particularly because he was such a high-profile member of the military.

After that initial reaction, she began thinking of her daughter's cold case.

Her husband Ivan has contacted Toronto police to inquire if they are investigating if there are any connections between Williams and her daughter's death.

An officer at the police force did not offer comment on McWilliam's case, saying he wasn't familiar with it, Charlotte McWilliam said. But the officer said Toronto police would get back to the McWilliam family if they had more information.

"You always think every time something comes into the media — could this person possibly be the one who was involved [in Margaret's death?]," Charlotte McWilliam told CBC News.

Daughter's death 'a nightmare'

Margaret McWilliam moved to Toronto in 1986 after graduating from Kemptville College south of Ottawa. At the time, Williams was attending classes at the University of Toronto's Scarborough campus.

The area where McWilliam's body was found is also near where Williams lived with his parents as a teenager some eight years earlier.

Charlotte McWilliam acknowledged she was struck by some of those "coincidences," but said she feels there doesn't appear to be "any real connection" between Williams and her daughter's case.

"I try to remember her life, because if one dwells on her death, it's a nightmare. So we have tried to get on with our lives and remember the life that we had with Margaret, not the end of that life," McWilliam added.

The Ontario Provincial Police said they have been receiving calls from other police forces in communities across the country where Williams lived about possibly looking into past cold cases.

However, the OPP said its main focus is on the current deaths and sexual assault cases.