Alberta RCMP offer $100,000 reward for serial killer

Police in Alberta have released a profile of a man they believe has killed several Edmonton prostitutes, and are offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.

Police in Alberta have released a profile of a man they believe has killed several prostitutes in Edmonton, and are offering a reward of $100,000 for information leading to his arrest and conviction.

Along with at least eight deaths that the RCMP are calling confirmed homicides, they're also investigating the suspicious deaths of two other sex-trade workers since 1998.

The bodies of 20 women have been found in rural areas around Alberta's capital since 1983. Four were discovered in the first seven months of 2003 alone.

A police task force called Project KARE has been looking into the cases of women living high-risk lifestyles who have disappeared or been found dead.

Up until Friday, RCMP officers working on the investigation would say only that they believe one person was responsible for "more than one" of the deaths.

Now they are referring to one or more "serial offenders," who may or may not be working together, in the hope that someone will come forward to stop the crimes.

"We don't necessarily use the terminology 'serial killer' because it seems to be terminology that is sensationalized by the media, by movies," RCMP Const. Tamara Bellamy told a news conference. "We prefer just 'serial offender.'"

A profile prepared by the RCMP's Behavioural Sciences Branch suggests the killer:

  • Drives a reliable, high-mileage truck, van or sport utility vehicle, and is comfortable driving in rural areas.
  • Likes to hunt, fish, camp or participate in other outdoor activities.
  • Has a past or present connection to the area south of Edmonton, including Leduc, Camrose and New Sarepta.
  • May clean his vehicle at odd times of the day.

"The public should not be discouraged from calling if the person that they suspect does not possess all of these traits," said a police news release about the profile. "We still want your calls.

"The offender is someone's neighbour, friend, brother or son."

Police have also identified three separate killing grounds around the Edmonton area that are being used for the murders.

One is the Sherwood Park area, where four bodies have been found since January 2003.

The most recent victim found there was Ellie May Meyer, 33, whose body was discovered in May of this year.

Kate Quinn, a member of the Prostitution Awareness and Action Foundation of Edmonton, welcomed word that the RCMP are offering a reward of up to $100,000 if someone comes forward to identify a suspect who is later convicted.

"That encourages me, and I think it sends a strong message to the political leaders and the community that they're getting closer," Quinn said.

"The person that killed the women is moving amongst the community."