Trenton colonel's charges spur cold case review

The 2001 slaying of a Nova Scotia woman at CFB Trenton in eastern Ontario is among the cases being re-examined after murder charges were laid against Col. Russell Williams.

Mother hopes for clues in 2001 slaying

Col. Russ Williams, shown here at the Battle of Britain parade in Trenton, Ont., last Sept. 20, has been charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of two eastern Ontario women.

The 2001 slaying of a Nova Scotia woman at CFB Trenton in eastern Ontario is among the cases being re-examined after murder charges were laid against air base commander Col. Russell Williams.

The body of Kathleen MacVicar, 19, of Glace Bay was found at the military base on June 2001. She had been sexually assaulted and stabbed.

Trenton isn't far from Tweed, where the body of Jessica Lloyd, 27, was found Monday, and from Brighton, where Cpl. Marie-France Comeau, 38, was found. Williams has been charged with first-degree murder in both women's deaths.

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"We're looking at where Kathleen was killed," Ontario Provincial Police Sgt. Kristine Rae said Tuesday.

"We need to see if there is anything else that is similar to the crimes that we are presently investigating."

Map of eastern Ontario, showing the location of CFB Trenton, the air base that Col. Russell Williams commanded. ((CBC))

Williams, 46, of Tweed remained in custody Tuesday after a brief court appearance Monday afternoon.

The commander of 8 Wing at CFB Trenton was also charged with breaking and entering, sexual assault and forcible confinement in connection with two home invasions in Tweed, about 30 kilometres north of Belleville.

During the home invasions on Sept. 17 and Sept. 30, 2009, a man entered the victims' homes while they were sleeping. In each case, he struck the victim, tied her up and took photos of her, the OPP said in a release.

A few days prior to Williams's arrest Sunday, police had pulled over vehicles along a highway close to where Lloyd went missing and took photos of the vehicles' tires.

Two sources, including Williams's neighbour, Larry Jones, told CBC News that police investigated Williams after his tire treads matched the tracks at Lloyd's home. However, Rae would not confirm that Tuesday.

Rae said police are still investigating and have not ruled out more charges against Williams. "We will follow the evidence," she said.

Rae added that police are following up on leads from other police services and the public.

MacVicar's case examined

Williams's rise through military ranks:

1987: Williams joins the Canadian Forces after earning a degree in economics and political science at the University of Toronto.

1992: Posted to Shearwater, N.S., where he flew the CC144 Challenger jet and patrolled the coast.

1996: Posted to Ottawa where he flew the Challenger jets that ferried around dignitaries like the prime minister and the governor general.

2004: Receives master's degree in defence studies at Royal Military College.

2009: Becomes wing commander at CFB Trenton.

*Read William's full biography.

Colleen MacVicar, Kathleen's mother, told CBC News on Tuesday she hoped Williams's arrest would provide some answers in her daughter's death.

"It's important to put a name and a face to what created such a horror in this family," MacVicar said. "We need to, I guess, have somebody to blame — to be angry at somebody. Right now we don't even know who to be angry at."

MacVicar said her daughter was a "bright and vivacious" girl when she moved to live with relatives at the Trenton base.

"I'd just like to get some answers. I don't think peace is something I'm going to get," MacVicar said.

Rae said a $50,000 reward is still offered for new information about MacVicar's killing.

Previous postings probed

Williams has been based in other cities, including Shearwater, N.S., and Ottawa, during his military career, and police are making inquiries in other communities where Williams was posted — both inside and outside Canada.

Police officers entered Williams's new home in Ottawa on Tuesday and came out with two bags. ((CBC))
"As we go through the investigation, we will be looking at where he has been posted before to see if there is any other occurrences that have any kind of similarity to what we've arrested him for," Rae said.

Mark Safarik, who spent more than 12 years as a senior profiler in the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit, couldn't comment on the Williams case specifically, but said it's unusual to see someone Williams's age arrested for sensational crimes with no prior record.

Police looking at unsolved cases after the charges against Williams will examine homicides and sex crimes but also precursor-type crimes such as burglaries, said Safarik, who is now retired. The fact that Williams was posted to multiple locations during his career makes the investigation more difficult, Safarik added.

George Macdonald, a retired lieutenant-general, told CBC News that everyone who enters the Armed Forces must go through a preliminary psychological exam, and he said Williams would have been required to go through several performance reviews and security checks as his career advanced.

"To have somebody at a senior level position be accused of this sort of a crime is fundamentally very shocking," Macdonald said.

Williams and his wife have a home in Ottawa and a cottage in Tweed. On Tuesday, the OPP entered the couple's home on Edison Avenue in Ottawa's Westboro neighbourhood shortly before 2 p.m. They came out 15 minutes later carrying two bags, threw them into a police car and drove away.

Police were still posted outside the house Tuesday evening.

Williams is scheduled to appear in court by video on Feb. 18.

With files from The Canadian Press