Canada

DNA leads to arrest in 30-year-old sex slayings

A former Toronto police officer has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder, nearly 30 years after the crimes were committed. An arrest was finally made with the help of DNA technology.

Ontario Provincial Police Wednesday arrested Ronald Glenn West, 52, in the murders of two young mothers in May, 1970. West was a Toronto policeman at the time of the murders.

The women were Doreen Moorby, 34, and Helen Ferguson, 37. They lived in small towns north of Toronto. Both were nurses, married to schoolteachers, although they did not know each other.

Police have charged West with two counts of first-degree murder. He was serving time in Joyceville penitentiary on an unrelated matter.

Credit for the arrest goes to Detective Inspector Don MacNeil, a hardworking, veteran police officer who was an OPP constable at the time of the murders. The "cold case" was reopened three years ago, and MacNeil rejoined the investigation.

MacNeil worked with DNA specialists at the Centre of Forensic Sciences in Toronto. Police found that a DNA sample taken from West matched semen samples from the crime scenes.

It turned out that samples of semen from the crime scenes had been carefully preserved since May, 1970, long before DNA technology became a major ingredient in forensic investigations.

The two women had opened their doors to a young stranger, who raped them, then killed them with shots from a .22-calibre handgun. A massive search failed to find the killer, then called "the .22-calibre killer."

West had worked as a Toronto policemen from 1968 to 1972. Records show he was off duty at the time of the killings.