Episode 3

A suspect

Note - The transcript below is taken from the podcast of Missing & Murdered: Who Killed Alberta Williams? We encourage you to listen to the podcast as some of the material is better conveyed in audio format. This transcript may contain errors, please refer to the audio in the podcast to ensure accuracy.

As soon as I read Garry’s email I knew this day would come.

The day when we would try to track down the person he named in that email, the person he believes killed Alberta.

It was a gray morning.

Cold and windy, when we got on the ferry to Vancouver Island.

With every passing minute I felt increasingly anxious.

Almost as soon as we started looking into Alberta’s case we came up with a list of people we wanted to talk to.

People who were with Alberta on the night she disappeared.

People who might have answers about Alberta’s unsolved murder.

We’ve talked to Garry Kerr, the former RCMP officer who was the lead investigator in her homicide case.

Alberta’s sister Claudia Williams who was with her the night she disappeared.

But there were at least five more people we didn’t talk to.

A mix of friends and family members.

They were the other people we’d heard sat with Alberta that night at the bar.

I thought, if Alberta said she was going to a party after maybe they went too?

Or even if they didn’t, they might know who Alberta left with.

But it wasn’t as easy as calling them up and getting all of the answers we wanted.

Some of the people we contacted didn’t want to talk about Alberta’s death.

It brought up too many painful memories.

Some didn’t even respond or acknowledge our requests.

Others we simply couldn’t find.

But there was someone we didn’t even try to contact.

Someone we wanted to wait before calling.

Someone we were pretty sure wouldn’t want to talk to us.

The person who was named in the email that started us on this road.

The person who Garry believes killed Alberta.

The person whose identity we haven’t revealed until now.

Alberta’s uncle, Jack Little.

Jack was Alberta’s uncle through marriage.

He was married to her mom's sister, Rosie Marsden.

Claudia told us that when she last saw her sister that night 27 years ago, Alberta told her she was going to a party at Jack’s house.

Before I go any further I absolutely need to stop here and point out that Jack has never been charged in connection with Alberta’s death.

He certainly has never been convicted.

In fact, as far as we can tell Jack has no criminal record at all.

Unlike some of the other people on our list.

I also think it’s important to point out that Garry’s suspicions about Jack are based on his investigation from nearly three decades ago.

And despite his beliefs the RCMP’s investigation into Alberta’s murder hit a dead end in 1989.

But Garry has always believed that Alberta’s murder can still be solved.

Garry Kerr: Absolutely it's a solvable case. If some person or persons were just willing to, you know step up the plate if you will.

We were taking a gamble getting onto that ferry.

Jack didn’t know we were coming.

We had no idea if we’d even be able to find him.

We had an address In Port Alberni, B.C.

A small city on Vancouver Island.

But honestly, we had no idea if Jack still lived there.

Or if he did live there would he be home today?

We didn’t know if he had a job.

We didn’t even know if he was still married?

We actually knew very little about Jack.

It was difficult to try to track down information about him without alerting him that we were coming.

We had to get special approval from the head of journalistic standards and practices at CBC News to try to interview someone without first asking their permission.

Those kinds of requests are only granted in certain circumstances.

We talked a lot before we left about whether to try to contact Jack in advance to ask for an interview.

We knew that in the past he left town when police were first investigating Alberta’s murder and we didn’t want to lose the chance to have a conversation with Jack.

But trying to find Jack wasn’t the only thing making me anxious.

I was more worried about what would happen If we actually found him.

What would his reaction be to us showing up out of the blue asking what he knew about the murder of his niece 27 years ago.

A murder in which according to Garry, he was a prime suspect?

Would he talk to me?

Would he slam the door in my face?

Would he get angry?

We had no way of knowing.

And that only added to my anxiety.

Garry told us what happened when police tried to talk to Jack after Alberta’s body was found.

Garry Kerr: I hate to use the word cooperate with us. It's not cooperating with us, it's just simply tell us what you seen. Tell us what you did. Tell us where you where. And that person who was very close to Alberta - and that was confirmed by all the family - and chose very, very quickly after the body was found - again, I hate that word cooperate but chose not to speak with us I guess might be the best way to put it. And that raised, it still raises huge again red flags if you will.

Garry says he wasn’t he only RCMP officer who suspected Jack in Alberta’s murder.

Rick Ross was also an RCMP officer who worked with Garry.

Rick Ross: I left Rupert in '92 and got transferred down here in Chilliwack.

He’s also now retired but remembers Alberta’s case well.

Rick Ross: It’s one of those cases when you do retire you always think about the ones that you never solved. And Alberta Williams is one, I got to know her family very well, and we worked on the file. It was a small town too, so, you know, it's kind of hit home pretty hard.

Rick and Garry worked closely together.

So maybe it’s not surprising that they drew the same conclusions.

Rick Ross: We pretty much identified who we thought was responsible right away. Probably within the first 24 hours, yeah. And that's never really changed, Gary and I talked about that. I've talked with other investigators about it and everybody pretty much shares the same view, yeah. But, you know, it's the old story, and that's the game we play, you've gotta have the evidence, or, you know, before charges are laid you gotta have the evidence and we just never quite had enough evidence.

Rick says hundreds of people were interviewed in Alberta’s case.

He says their interviews and their evidence pointed back to one person.

Uncle Jack.

Rick Ross: Everybody that we interviewed said that they basically saw her leaving with her uncle, and there was just nobody else that she was seen with that night, right?

And he's still a prime suspect today from what I can learn. It was just a whole lot of series of events that led up to her, you know, concluding that. On the other hand too, you never want to get tunnel vision, you know, so we always left every avenue open. But it always came back to him.

And like Garry, Rick didn’t believe Jack’s story that Alberta left the bar with a white guy in a pickup truck.

Rick Ross: There was always a mysterious pickup truck with some, I believe Caucasian guy that Jack Little told us about and that never really went anywhere. But we always felt that was always sort of a, you know, something that was thrown out there to mislead us a little bit and I never did believe that, but yeah. So according to him she supposedly left the bar with this guy in a pickup truck, went back to their house. But we, you know, I think that we put out composite sketch of the truck and a description of him but it never ever materialized in anything. Yeah.

Marnie Luke: Did he give you enough of a description to actually even make a composite sketch?

Rick Ross: No, we didn't do a composite, but I do believe he gave a physical description. He described the Caucasian guy very young and I think he described a Ford pickup truck, an old Ford pickup, 4 by 4 type truck, he described a truck, and that just never ever went anywhere, we just never came up with anything. And of course I only know that she was back at his house, so the mysterious guy in the pickup truck never did, never went anywhere. Yeah.

Marnie Luke: And you know she was back at his house how?

Rick Ross: Well Jack told us that, I mean he told us that this white guy in this pickup truck had driven her back to his house. Now why he would've went there unless Alberta steered him there, who knows, if there was such a guy. But they did supposedly arrive at that house and that's the last place we can put her down at it.

And like Garry, Rick says his suspicions intensified after Jack refused to cooperate with police.

Rick Ross: Well yeah that's what jumped out at us right away, like why wouldn't an uncle want to talk to you right away, right? He was the last person who'd seen her, right, you know, family member that saw her at his house the night before. Yeah there should've been 110% cooperation and we didn't get that so right away our antennas went up, right, there's something not right here, right.

Marnie Luke: Was he ever given a lie detector, polygraph or anything like that?

Rick Ross: I think he was, yeah, he was requested to do so and he wouldn’t take one, on the advice of his lawyer, as I recall, yeah. Oh, no that was considered right away, yeah. No. That would've, that would've cleared up a lot of things for us, if he had've done that, but he chose not to and that's, he exercised his right, which is his right, but if he were, yeah, if he were a family member, the last person saw your niece, you'd think you'd want to do that, right, to clear your name, right? But that's the world we live in, right?

The police weren’t the only ones who noted Jack’s behaviour after Alberta vanished.

Larry Marsden was another one of Alberta's uncle.

He remembers when he first heard about her disappearance.

Larry Marsden: I was there most of the day Sunday, and Rena and - her husband were really upset, and they just didn't know where Alberta was, and already at that time the stories - different stories came out, who all seen Alberta that night. And the first person of interest that came up was my brother in law.

Jack’s wife Rosie was out of town that weekend.

She and their son went home to Gitanyow, a reserve two hours east of Prince Rupert to attend a party for her mother.

Alberta’s grandmother.

Larry says that Jack arrived at the party late on Saturday.

The day after Alberta disappeared.

Marnie Luke: And do you recall if Jack was there too, at the gathering on Saturday?

Larry Marsden: He came late, like I think we were at the dinner when we heard that Alberta went missing. This was on Saturday. And we were at the dinner, and everybody started getting concerned about it.

Connie Walker: Did you notice anything about Jack when he came to the dinner? Was he just like acting normally, or was there anything significant?

Larry Marsden: I didn't really talk to him until we got back to Rupert we seen him, and he looked - he was really nervous. He said he was there that night, he seen Alberta, and after a while we kept questioning him, and he started changing his story, saying different things after. And he was really nervous. At that time everybody knew that he was with her that night.

Connie Walker: Do you remember which - how his stories changed, or what he originally said?

Larry Marsden: I can't really remember what he was saying, but all I remember him saying was that he's seen her that night. And then after that I noticed he was changing, started to say - change his stories and Rena noticed it too, and started to really question him. Cause they really wanted to find out where she was hey.

On September 27, 1989 Garry went to talk to Jack’s brother Alphonse Little.

He was also at the bar the night Alberta disappeared.

Here are Garry’s notes from his conversation with Alphonse:

Garry Kerr: Jack getting phone calls. Caller never says anything. Alphonse was there on Sunday night when 2 calls came. No voice on other end of line. Thinking of selling the house and car, leaving and starting all over again. Jack has said he was very drunk that night and feels the person who was with Alberta may have been the one who killed her. He cannot recall the male who was in the house. Feels he fell asleep and when he awoke they were gone. Losing sleep - taking prescription sleeping pills. Father flew up from Port Alberni on Monday & back Thursday - a week ago. He says the cops were harassing him. Has told Jack and Alphonse and father that he should get a lawyer. Jack was a pallbearer.

Dick Chadwick was a neighbour of Jack’s when he lived in Prince Rupert.

They both lived on Crestview Avenue, a quiet street in a residential neighbourhood.

Dick Chadwick: Basically, if I looked straight out my front window into his front window his driveway lined up with my driveway.

Dick didn’t know Alberta. But distinctly remembers what happened on Crestview Avenue after she disappeared.

Dick Chadwick: On at least one and i think maybe more occasions - my wife and I we were woken up in middle of night - it was something was going on across the street, very noisy - it was a group from Alberta's family that were at Jack's house trying to get in. They were shouting, chanting, screaming, they were pounding on the door.

Connie Walker: Do you remember what they were saying?

Dick Chadwick: No. I didn’t want to get close. It was fairly soon after that he left Prince Rupert.

Connie Walker: So his move out of Prince Rupert was pretty abrupt?

Dick Chadwick: My guess from the amount of anger that night they they were pounding on his door, screaming and yelling, there was so much anger. And at that point I don’t think it was safe for him anymore to be in Prince Rupert. That’s just my personal opinion. And very soon he just disappeared.

In one of our earliest conversations, Garry told me that after Alberta’s body was found Jack stopped talking to police and abruptly left town.

He found that suspicious.

But he never mentioned that her family was harassing Jack.

And that may have been the actual reason he moved away.

Connie Walker: Did you notice if the police ever came to talk to Jack?

Dick Chadwick: I can remember him once either leaving or coming home in the back of a police car.

Dick says that police also came to question him about Jack.

Dick Chadwick: They came to CIBC where I was working. Just one police officer. Wish I could remember which one, I knew most of them.

Connie Walker: Was it Garry Kerr?

Dick Chadwick: Maybe, was he a sergeant?

Connie Walker: Or Rick Ross, I think Rick Ross was the sergeant?

Dick Chadwick: Could have been. I think it was a non-com, not just one of the regular constables just sort of getting background info of Jack himself, as a neighbour living across the street - had some questions about if I could recall any info. I basically told them what I knew at that time & what I could recall.

Connie Walker: Did you recall anything suspicious, comings & goings at Jack’s house after Alberta went missing? We heard that another neighbour referenced his blinds, it was strange that is blinds were always closed after Alberta disappeared.

Dick Chadwick: I can't really recall that, whether that was the case or not.

Connie Walker: Did you ever talk to Jack around that time?

Dick Chadwick: No. After Alberta went missing and her body was found it was wide knowledge in town that he was the last person to be seen with her. That was common knowledge in Prince Rupert at that time. She had been at his house, being his niece, she and Jack had gone out downtown Prince Rupert drinking beer or whatever that night.

Alberta’s best friend was Geraldine Morrison.

She was at the bar that night and was questioned by police after Alberta disappeared.

Connie Walker: Was she having fun that night?

Geraldine Morrison: Yes, we were. Everything was going the way it should have been going. But after I left I never seen or heard her again until the cops came up & asked if I’d seen her or know where her whereabouts were, and asked to me to trace where we went. I said we didn't’ go anywhere, we just stayed at Bogey’s. We didn't’ go to no house party that I knew of that she would have gone too. They asked me where she might have gone.

Geraldine says she noticed something strange about Jack that night and the way he was treating his niece.

We didn’t have a great connection on our phone call with Geraldine so you’ll have to listen closely.

Connie Walker: What about other people at the table. We also heard that Phoebe was there with Gordon McLean and Alphonse Little was there with his brother Jack Little. Do you remember any of them?

Geraldine Morrison: Ah, Jack Little, he...wasn’t very happy with Alberta.

Connie Walker: Why?

Geraldine Morrison: Ah he was acting like he was the fiance and stuff like that.

Connie Walker: What do you mean?

Geraldine Morrison: Kind of being bossy.

Connie Walker: He was bossy with Alberta?

Geraldine Morrison: Yeah, like overprotective of her, like...like he didn’t agree with what she was doing and she shouldn’t be out and stuff like that. It seemed weird to me that he would be doing that to her when he wasn’t really close to him.

Connie Walker: What was their relationship like? Do you think Alberta liked him?

Geraldine Morrison: No

Connie Walker: Why not?

Geraldine Morrison: Just the way he would give her attitude.

Connie Walker: And what was Jack like that night with Alberta?

Geraldine Morrison: Ah….bossy. If we went outside he’d be like, ‘where you going? What are you doing? Why are you going outside?’

Connie Walker: Did that strike you as odd.

Geraldine Morrison: Yes.

Connie Walker: Why?

Geraldine Morrison: Ah, he was acting like he was the fiance of Alberta. He wasn’t acting like a family member. He was acting like he was the boyfriend, like he was with Alberta. Like that.

Connie Walker: Did he & Alberta ever have a relationship?

Geraldine Morrison: No, she didn’t like him.

Geraldine had to work the next morning so she left the bar early.

But she said that Alberta and her cousin Carole called her after the bar closed to try to convince her to come back out.

Geraldine didn’t think her grandparents would approve of her going out so she stayed home.

A decision she has regretted for 27 years.

Geraldine Morrison: I was back at the hotel and she was down at Bogey’s. Cause they were wanting to go somewhere and I had wheels. I had a vehicle at the time.

Connie Walker: Oh, so they wanted a ride somewhere.

Geraldine Morrison: Yeah.

Connie Walker: Where did they want to go?

Geraldine Morrison: I don’t know. I don’t know. That’s why I say, I should have not listened that night, Maybe she’d be home. She’d still be with us. If I’d only not listened that one night and went out when they asked me to. That’s what I keep telling my mom too. (crying)

Connie Walker: You can’t, I mean it must be agonizing to think that way.

Geraldine Morrison: (crying) I’ve been thinking that way for all these years. If I’d only gone out and picked them up when they asked me to, she’d be home (crying). I’d know where she is. And I still think it today - if I”d only gone out and picked them up when they wanted to be picked up they’d be home. None of this would be going on. And my best friend would be having babies.

Connie Walker: I’m so sorry Geraldine.

Geraldine Morrison: (crying) But yeah that place haunts me all the time. And I just finished talking to my mom - ma I said I should have not listened that one night.

It’s been nearly three decades and Alberta’s death is still so painful for so many of her family and friends.

The ferry docked in Nanaimo, British Columbia and we got back into our rental van to drive to Port Alberni.

Our GPS said it would take about an hour to get there.

Our cameraman Harold drove.

Marnie, my producer sat next to him.

And I sat in the back.

You might be wondering why we were travelling with a cameraman.

Well, when we set out to do this story we never imagined it would turn into this, an 8 episode podcast.

We were actually aiming to do a standard news story for TV and online.

We never expected what was going to happen.

The drive to Port Alberni was along Highway 4.

It was a windy road.

And started to feel sick sitting in the back seat.

I didn’t know if it was motion sickness or anxiety.

We had a lot of important questions to ask Jack.

Questions that Alberta’s family has also wanted to ask for decades...

Even though I’d known this day was coming and had time to prepare I was incredibly nervous about what we were about to do.

We arrived in Port Alberni and wanted to check out the address we had for Jack right away.

We didn’t necessarily want to knock on the door but we wanted to get a lay of the land.

To see what we were dealing with.

We plugged the address into the GPS and within a few minutes we were pulling onto a quiet residential street.

It wasn’t a house like I’d expected.

But a row of eight townhouses.

Beige two story buildings with short fences in front and minimal landscaping.

Each townhouse had a white door next to a large living room window.

We drove up the street very slowly looking for the house numbers.

They were written on the door but were really hard to see from the van.

We passed the first house, then the second and before I even saw the house number

I saw a woman standing right in the middle of the big living room window staring out at the street.

I recognized her immediately.

I’d seen her photo online.

It was Jack’s wife Rosie.

It was like she was waiting for us.

I ducked down in my seat, paranoid that she could see me.

Even though I was in the back and the windows were tinted.

I urged Harold to drive faster and we parked down the street, out of her view.

My heart was racing.

Why was she doing standing right in the window like that?

Was she waiting for us?

How did she know we were coming?

We had interviewed Claudia the day before in Vancouver, maybe she’d told another family member that we were coming to try to find Jack?

And maybe they told Rosie?

We didn’t have a concrete plan but when I imagined approaching Jack I didn’t picture Rosie there.

We ended up parked in a spot where we could see their house but still far enough away that we weren’t arousing suspicion.

What should we do?

Knock on the door and ask - Is Jack home?

Wait until Rosie left and then knock on the door?

We were still trying to figure out our next steps when a white cable van drove past us and stopped right in front of Jack’s house.

When I realized what happened, relief flooded over me.

Rosie wasn’t waiting for us!

She was waiting for the cable guy to show up.

The cable guy went inside and we tried to figure out what we should do next.

We wanted to know if Rosie was home for the day or if she’d be leaving.

We knew where she worked, so we called her office.

Woman: Good afternoon (beep beep), Summer speaking.

Connie Walker: Hi There, can I speak to Rosie Marsden please?

Woman: Um Rosie's out of the office on lunch right now, would you like her voicemail?

Connie Walker: Um, what time is she expected back?

Woman: Uh I'm not sure, she's on a late lunch, so um and she's got an appointment, so-

We settled in.

Our new plan was to wait until Rosie left to go back to work and then we would knock on the door.

We had no idea if Jack would be home.

Or even if he still lived there with Rosie.

After about half an hour we saw the cable guy start packing up his van.

And we got another idea.

My producer Marnie waited at the end of the block and when the cable guy left she flagged him down and asked him if Jack was home.

The cable guy said he’d been all over the house but Jack wasn’t there.

Rosie was the only one home.

We weren’t sure what to do next.

We could wait outside all day.

But what if Jack never showed up.

What if he didn’t even live there anymore.

We decided to contact another family member, Alberta’s uncle Wally Samuel.

He also lived in Port Alberni.

We were a little reluctant to contact him because we didn’t know how close he and Jack were.

We were worried that he might tip off Jack off that we were in town, and we were looking for him.

But we were running out of options so we took a chance.

Wally met us for coffee and agreed to do an interview About Alberta.

Connie Walker: What was Alberta Like?

Wally Samuel: Oh she was nice ah young girl, you know, she was like a daughter to us. Like um she liked having fun, you know, she worked hard. She always had a job and had fun on weekends like any other young person. Yeah. It, it's been really hard because some of our immediate family members were persons of interest, suspects and ah being involved with Alberta that night. But nobody seems to be cooperating ah as so-called witnesses or people that were in, in ah contact with Alberta that night. And a lot of them were family members.

Connie Walker: And they’re not, they’re not talking?

Wally Samuel: They're not talking. I don't know if they ever told the family their, their version or their story of what, of how they seen Alberta that night; what she was doing or where they seen her. That's the real frustrating part. Ah immediate family members and community members have not been cooperating with the family.

That’s the part of Alberta’ story I hadn’t really considered before.

Like Alberta, I come from a really big family.

Lots of aunts and uncles, tons of cousins.

There is always a family event happening.

Birthday parties. Graduations. Weddings. Funerals.

I can’t imagine what it has been like for Alberta’s family to go to these every day events with the man some people suspect was involved in her murder.

And although some family members have suspected Jack from the very beginning no one we’d talked to has directly confronted him with their questions.

Connie Walker: I know that you haven’t spoken to him about any of this but if you were, if you could ask him something, what would you want to know?

Wally Samuel: I would like to know where he was that night and if he seen 'em and where he last seen her. You know, and compare it with other stories. But you know what I heard was that they were all together in a bar that night, him and other people from the community.

Connie Walker: And Alberta.

Wally Samuel: Yup, and Alberta.

Connie Walker: And there’s a rumour that he hosted a party.

Wally Samuel: That's what I heard, yeah, there was a party in his house ah that night. That's all I know. And I heard that he cleaned up his house ah, you know these are all rumours I hear. I wasn't there so I just go by what I'm told.

I was glad we called Wally.

Not just because he gave us this interview but because he also gave us the information we needed about Jack.

Yes, he lived in Port Alberni.

Yes, we had the right address.

Yes, he would be home later that afternoon.

Wally said Jack worked as a courier.

He drove from Port Alberni to Nanaimo, to Tofino, and back, everyday.

The irony is that we had spent all of this time trying to find out where Jack was and what he did and the information was right in front of us.

We just didn't know where to look.

Wally showed us his phone.

He’s active on social media.

And he’s part of a group on Facebook group for people looking for rides around Vancouver Island.

A group that Jack is also a part of.

One that he posts in every day looking for passengers.

This is Jack’s post from the day we were looking for him:

Off to our beautiful west coast as usual folks. Port Alberni to Ukee at 10 ish. Then leave Ukee to Tofino 11:50. Tofino to Port Alberni 1 ish. Port Alberni to Nanaimo 3:45. Return to Port Alberni and leave Nanaimo 5:15. Hook me up if you need a ride. Text me.Be safe out there.

Leaving Nanaimo at 5:15 and returning to Port Alberni according his post in this group, Jack would be back in Port Alberni around suppertime.

I remember one of my very first conversations with Garry Kerr about his investigation into Alberta’s murder.

He outlined all of the reasons he suspected Alberta’s Uncle Jack.

He was the last person seen with her and couldn’t remember key events from the night she disappeared.

Jack said she left with a mysterious white guy that police could never find and didn’t believe existed.

After Alberta’s body was found, Jack stopped talking to the police and refused to take a lie detector.

Shortly after Alberta’s body was found, Jack left town and moved hundreds of kilometres away.

It might seem like suspicious behaviour, sure but not exactly a silver bullet.

I know that Garry and Rick haven’t told me everything they know about the case.

There is something called ‘holdback information’.

Key details in an investigation that only a handful of police officers are privy to.

Information that only a perpetrator would know.

Garry hasn’t shared that information with us because he says he doesn't want to jeopardize the investigation into Alberta’s murder.

So maybe there is more that has made him convinced that Jack killed Alberta.

But i’m not so sure.

I still have questions about that night.

And I’m going to have to face my anxiety to try to answer them.

We headed back to Jack’s house.

We needed to figure out the best place to park so that when he got home we would be ready to jump out of the van and try to talk to him.

There was a front door and a back door.

The back door was connected to a little carport.

And in the front - the street was wide enough that people parked right in front of the townhouses.

We didn’t know which entrance Jack would use so we parked in a spot where we could see both.

In order to find out more about Alberta’s last night we needed to try to get Jack to engage with us.

We thought he’d be more likely to talk to me if I was alone.

If my producer and cameraman stayed back in the van and filmed from there.

But I wasn’t so sure about that approach.

Truthfully, it made me nervous.

I had no idea how Jack would react and I didn’t want to be stuck out there on my own.

We called our senior producer in Toronto to discuss.

We decided that instead of filming from the van, Harold, our camera guy would come out with me but stay back a little and hold his camera in his hand, not on his shoulder.

So now we had a plan.

We knew Jack was coming home.

We were in a good spot.

All we had to do was wait.

And Wait.

And wait.

Waiting can be stressful.

You can’t do much while you’re sitting in a van with your colleagues.

There is only so many times you can go over the plan.

Imagine how things will unfold.

There is a lot of time to think about everything that could go wrong.

I grew more and more anxious the longer we sat there.

I’d only ever done one other ‘unscheduled interview’ before about a completely unrelated story.

It was a similar scenario though.

Sitting in a van for hours riddled with anxiety not sure if the guy I wanted to talk to would even show up.

He did and it was awful.

The man we confronted got angry.

Pointed his finger in my face.

And at one point he actually reached out and touched my cheek.

He didn’t actually slap me but I think he wanted to.

And although his reaction in the interview revealed a lot we didn’t actually get any answers to our questions.

I didn’t want the same thing to happen with Jack.

As the minutes passed the tension got even worse.

Our camera was set up in the back ready to roll at the push of a button.

I had my mic on and was ready to go.

Marnie was in the driver’s seat with a little handi cam.

She was planning to film from the front window but also be ready to start the van if we needed to get out of there quickly.

Every car that pulled on to the street made my heart race.

Was this him?


Only moment of relief until I was jumpy again.

Wally told us Jack drove either a dark SUV or black Dodge Caravan.

After we’d been waiting outside for a few hours a black van pulled up and parked in front of Jack’s house.

My heart raced.

This was it.

The black van.

It stayed parked there for a few seconds before anyone got out.

Was it Jack?

Was this our chance?

It was a bit earlier than we were expecting but then an elderly man get out of the van from the passenger side.

He moved very slowly and walked with a cane.

I didn’t recognize him.

Two other men got out of the van but neither was Jack.

And I didn’t know what to do.

It wasn’t Jack.

The men only stayed at Jack’s house for a few minutes and our wait began again.

One of the neighbours came out to walk her dog.

And walked right by the passenger side window where I sat.

I turned away and tried to avoid eye contact.

If anyone was paying attention to us, it must have seemed so strange.

Three people sitting in a van on a residential street for hours on a Tuesday Afternoon.

It was starting to get dark.

Jack was supposed to been home by now.

But maybe he stopped somewhere else.

Maybe he had car trouble.

Maybe he and Rosie were going out for dinner that night.

When the sun starts to set, there is a small window camera people call ‘magic hour’ when there is still enough light to be able to shoot and the sky looks incredible.

But it doesn’t last long.

Our camera guy Harold began to worry that we were losing our light.

We only another had 10 or 15 minutes before it would be too dark to shoot anything.

And we’d have to pack up and call it a night.

I felt conflicted when he said that.

I didn’t want a day of anxiety and waiting to be for nothing.

But honestly, I was mostly relieved.

We could put it off for tomorrow.

Try again in the morning.

It would be light out.

Things look better in the daytime.

We decided to wait another few minutes

But suddenly, headlights swung onto the street and lit up our front seat.

A dark SUV was pulling into the car port.

It was him.

I jumped out of the van and quickly crossed the street.

I saw Jack get out of his car and start toward the back door.

Connie Walker: Jack? I'm Connie Walker, I'm a reporter at CBC News. Do you have a minute? We're doing a story about Alberta and we're hoping to talk to you - Alberta Williams.

Jack looked up at me when I called his name but as soon as I mentioned Alberta he turned away.

Connie Walker: We really need your help trying to piece together the final night before she vanished. Were you with her? Was she at your house?

Jack was looking down at his keys and walking quickly to his back door.

Rosie had been doing dishes at the kitchen sink and as soon as she saw me and the camera she flipped the blinds closed with a flick of her hand.

Connie Walker: Can you tell us? We just want to ask you a few questions about it.

Jack Little: I've been working all day, so, sorry.

Connie Walker: Was she there that night? Some people think you might have been involved, Jack. Were you?

Jack walked in the house and closed the door.

Connie: We just have a few questions. Can we come back tomorrow?

All that, For that.

A whole lot of nothing.

I was relieved that things didn’t escalate but also surprised by how calm Jack was.

He seemed unflappable.

When Jack went inside and closed the door I could still see into their house through a small window on the back door.

I saw Jack walk through their kitchen into their living room where he sat on a chair and slowly starting taking his shoes off.

Like it was any other day.

I watched for a minute then headed back to the van to regroup.

Connie: (Big sigh) Well, I hope he talks to us. I don’t know what to say after that.

Wally had given us a number for Jack so we decided to call.

Let him know we really wanted to talk to him.

If now wasn’t convenient, we could come back anytime.

Rosie answered the phone.

Connie Walker: Hello?

Rosie Marsden: Hello.

Connie: Hi, is Jack available?

Rosie Marsden: He's just eating dinner right now.

Connie Walker: Ok, should I call back in a bit?

Rosie Marsden: Umm, who's calling?

Connie Walker: It's Connie Walker calling from CBC News. Just wondering if tonight wasn’t a good night if we could talk to him tomorrow.

Rosie Marsden: (long pause) Um…

Connie Walker: We are going to do this story and I think it's really important to have

Jack's side of the story. We want to give him a chance to be heard and we want to give him a chance to tell us his side of the story.

Rosie Marsden: Maybe try back tomorrow.

Connie Walker: Ok, I'll try back tomorrow. What time is a good time to reach him?

Rosie Marsden: I'm not too sure. He works 10 hours a day so....

Connie Walker: Well we can come any time. We can come first thing in the morning or we can meet him on a lunch break. Any time that's convenient for him we can definitely come. I know that it's...we're definitely doing this story about Alberta and we really just need his help trying to piece together some of the last hours of her life and it's really important to have his side of the story because we're speaking to other people and you know we want to make sure that we're being fair and balanced.

Rosie Marsden: Well try him back again tomorrow.

Connie Walker: Ok, we’ll we'll try again in the morning maybe and see how it goes but please think about it because we are doing this story. We've heard from a few other people that have raised some concerns about Jack and we really want to give him a chance to tell his side of the story. I understand you know he spoke to other, to police about seeing someone in a pickup truck and we really want to get as many details as we can about what happened.

Rosie Marsden: Alright.

Connie Walker: Thank you very much. I appreciate it. we'll try to call you tomorrow.

Rosie Marsden: Alright.

Connie Walker:Thank you.

(call ends)

Connie Walker: (speaking to Marnie): So, I guess we'll try him again tomorrow. They didn't hang up which is always a good sign. He was very calm. Cause like you heard him on the, he was like, "I work 10 hours a day" and I'm like ok, we'll come any time.

Jack may not have been rattled, but I was.

I was exhausted.

Mentally and physically.

We left hoping for a better outcome tomorrow.

The next morning we got up early.

We wanted to call Jack from right outside his house so in the off chance he’d spent the night thinking it over and decided he wanted to talk we’d be ready.

Jack Little: Hello

Connie Walker: Hi Jack, it's Connie Walker calling from CBC.

Jack Little: Sorry, I'm just out the door, I'm going for work, thank you.

Connie Walker: We'd just like to talk to you for a quick few minutes.

Jack Little: (Hangs up)

A few seconds later Jack walked out his door.

Connie Walker: There he is. Hi Jack. We just really want a couple of minutes. I don't know if you can spare a few minutes to chat with us

Jack Little: Sorry, I can't. I'm on my way to work, sorry.

Connie Walker: We really just want to get your side of the story. We're doing a story about Alberta and we really just want to hear from you about her last night. Can you tell us anything about it? Was she at your house?

Jack Little: (Silent -Jack closes car door)

Connie Walker: Was she there?

I wasn’t surprised Jack refused to talk to us, but I was disappointed.

We’d come all this way and we didn’t get two words out of him about Alberta.

We were no closer to finding any answers about her last night and we were running out of options.

We waited for a few minutes and tried calling him again.

(sound of ringing)

"Your call has been forwarded to a voice mail service that has not yet been initialized....”

We sat in the van for a few minutes and tried calling him again.

Not saying much.

Not really sure what to do next.

When the phone rang.

It was Jack.

We scrambled to record the call.

Jack Little: Connie, it's Jack here. You guys are being very aggressive and I will let you know later on today whether I'll do an interview.

Connie Walker: Ok, thanks Jack I really appreciate that. We definitely want to speak to you. If we can set up a time that's exactly what we want to do.

Jack Little: I will let you know later on today, thank you.

Connie Walker: Ok, so we'll call you back, this afternoon?

Jack Little: I will call you when I'm free, ok? I'm busy, thank you.

But Jack never called back.

We waited until early that evening and tried him one last time.

Connie Walker: It's Connie calling from CBC News. I'm just wondering if there's a time we can talk today.

Passenger: Just a moment. He's pulled over.

Jack Little: Connie, you got a pen handy?

Connie Walker: Yes I do.

Jack Little: 1-250...

Connie Walker: Who's this I'm calling?

Jack Little: Just take the number please and I'll tell you.

Connie Walker: Ok

Jack Little: 1250 beep beep -

Connie Walker:Ok, who's that?

Jack Little: No further communication. If you have any questions, you talk to my lawyer, Steven Littley.

Connie Walker: Steven....

Jack Little: I don't want to hear from you again. Littley. Little and ly

Connie Walker: L-I-T-T-L-E-Y.

Jack Little: Little and ly. You know how to spell Little.

Connie Walker: Ah, yes, I know how to spell Little. We really just wanted to talk to you for a few minutes and ask you about Alberta`s last night. We really want to get your side of the story.

Jack Little: Goodbye. (hangs up)

We contacted Jack’s lawyer.

In an email he said: “Mr. Little will not be making himself available for an interview with you. He asks that you not contact him or his household any further with respect to this matter.”

It was official.

Like the police 27 years ago our investigation hit a brick wall.

We got back on the ferry to Vancouver exhausted and disappointed.

I thought our story might be over.

But it turns out it was just beginning.

We were about to hear from someone with more information, who had never spoken to police

A man who said he saw Alberta with someone else after she left the bar that night.

On the next episode of Missing & Murdered: Who Killed Alberta Williams?

Yvonne Leighton: I don't know why they're not telling you guys the story.

Connie Walker: What we hear was that Alberta was at the Bar that night -

Yvonne Leighton: Yes. That's where they last seen her, and - somebody saw, I think somebody saw that black truck that she was taken into, and the two guys that brought her in there.

Rick Ross: He was sleeping in a back bedroom as I recall when Jack Little arrived at his old house with Alberta.

Doug Marsden: When I was sleeping and I remember being, hearing noises out in the house. I do remember seeing Carol there, and I do remember seeing. . . Alberta.

To watch the video of our encounter with Jack and explore more of the story, visit our website at cbc.ca/whokilledalbertawilliams.

You can listen to episodes online or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or your favourite podcast app.

Missing & Murdered: Who Killed Alberta Williams is written and hosted by me, Connie Walker.

The producer is Marnie Luke.

And the associate producer is Lori Ward.

Technical production by Ashley Walters, Cesil Fernandes and Harold Dupuis.

Arif Noorani is a consulting producer.

And Heather Evans is senior producer of the CBC News investigative unit.