OPP call for fresh tips in 1999 murders of Roger Smith and Wendy Haveron
The province is offering a $50,000 reward for information that leads to a conviction
Elgin County OPP are renewing a call for information in connection to the deaths of Roger Smith, 40, and Wendy Haveron, 45, who were killed 20 years ago at their dairy farm near St. Thomas, Ont.
In the early hours of Feb. 2, 1999, police and fire officials were called to a house fire at the common-law couple's home. An investigation revealed that they were killed by blunt force trauma, and that their home was deliberately set ablaze, according to an OPP news release.
The bodies were too badly burned to be immediately identified, according to a Canadian Press report at the time.
"It appears they were trying to cover up the crime of murdering Roger and Wendy," said OPP Const. Adam Crewdson.
It has been 20 years since the bodies of Roger Smith and Wendy Haveron were discovered in their Wellington Road home north of St. Thomas, Ontario. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ElginOPP?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ElginOPP</a> PC Adam Crewdson has more on how members of the public can play a vital role in solving this case. ^dr <a href="https://t.co/MD51ipIh1i">pic.twitter.com/MD51ipIh1i</a>—@OPP_WR
In advance of the 20-year anniversary of the crime, OPP have released a social media video featuring Wendy Haveron's sister, Wanda Smith.
"We never thought it would last this long. We thought it was going to be solved fairly quick," said Wanda Smith, alongside footage that shows her leafing through a scrapbook of clippings about the case.
"We may never know the why or the where of it, but to know that someone is paying, that would mean a lot to all of us."
The week after the crime, relatives of the pair held a news conference where they pleaded with the public for tips. Wendy Haveron's son said his mother was 'frail' and unable to defend herself, while Roger Smith's cousin called him a 'caring' person who'd built up a top calibre herd of Jersey cows, according to a CP report.
Another CP report said that Roger Smith had been serving weekends at the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre for sexual interference, according court documents.
'Historical homicide,' not a cold case
The OPP's updated call for information is in part to remind the public that, despite the passage of decades, police are still working on the case, Crewdson said.
"As the OPP, we don't have cold cases, we have historical homicides," said Crewdson.
Although Crewdson couldn't speak to specific cases, he says past calls for information have been successful, even after a long period of time.
"Time changes maturity and where you are in life, and maybe you need to clean the slate," Crewdson said.
"People do come forward."
The province has put up a $50,000 reward for information that leads to the conviction of the person or persons responsible.
Those who wish to remain anonymous can call CrimeStoppers, which is offering a cash reward for information of up to $2,000.
"If you don't want to talk to police, that's fine, we get it, reach out to CrimeStoppers," said Crewdson.
"We really do need to resolve this for this family. They're still living and dealing with the deaths of Wendy and Roger."