Saskatchewan

DNA analysis re-opens 40-year murder case

CBC's Fifth Estate is revisiting a 40-year-old unsolved murder of a Saskatoon beauty queen. Today, decades after the case went cold, people in Saskatchewan still remember the case of Alexandra Wiwcharuk.

CBC's Fifth Estate is revisiting a 40-year-old unsolved murder of a Saskatoon beauty queen. Today, decades after the case went cold, people in Saskatchewan still remember the case of Alexandra Wiwcharuk.

On a spring evening in 1962, Alexandra Wiwcharuk left her Saskatoon apartment on a simple errand. The 23-year-old apparently mailed some letters and never returned home.

Her body was found in a shallow grave two weeks later. She'd been raped, battered in the head with a concrete block and apparently buried alive.

Her older sister Marie Moss will never forget the moment her family found out.

"Oh God, we just..screamed, cried. Yelled," she remembers. "Then they had to tell mum and dad. My dad just froze. My mother, she didn't speak that night. She passed out on the floor."

Forty-two years later technological progress in forensic science, especially in DNA analysis, means police hope for a break in the case.

Wiwcharuk struggled ferociously with her attacker, Sergeant Neil Wylie says. When police found her body, she was clutching 30 strands of reddish-brown hair and there was skin under her finger nails.

"If you came up with a hit on the DNA, of course, then you would have a suspect," Wylie says. "And if modern technologies will assist us in pinpointing who was responsible for that crime, we can close the book on our file."

Police recently sent evidence from the Wiwcharuk murder case to the RCMP crime lab in Regina. They're now waiting for DNA test results.

CBC Television will have an in-depth look into the murder of Alexandra Wiwcharuk, Wednesday night on the Fifth Estate.

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