Who killed Cindy Blazek? 31 years later, her family is still trying to find out
Brother and sister hope for break in decades-old case of teacher slain on Onion Lake reserve
More than three decades after Cindy Blazek was brutally murdered in her Onion Lake First Nation, Sask., residence, her family still doesn't have a full picture of what happened to her.
Thursday marked 31 years since Blazek's death. After a night of wrapping Christmas gifts alone, the 23-year-old teacher was stabbed and left to burn after the house was set on fire.
Beyond that, little is known.
"What we want to really happen is the whole truth to be unfolded," said Debbie McCulloch, Blazek's sister.
"You're wondering if we felt justice was served or not," said the victim's brother, Jamie Blazek, on Thursday's grim anniversary. "I'm still insure of that."
Two people were tried in the late 1980s for Blazek's 1986 murder.
A teen was found not guilty during a judge-only trial because "it was really not enough evidence beyond a reasonable doubt," said McCulloch.
Another defendant, a man named Brian Perry, was initially convicted but then won an appeal because, according to McCulloch, the jury in the original trial had seen pretrial materials it shouldn't have.
'Police weren't doing anything'
Jamie began investigating his sister's case on his own four years ago, after growing dissatisfied with the RCMP's own investigation.
"I knew the police weren't doing anything and hadn't for the last 10 years previous to that," he said. "So I just had a real need to find out what happened."
The Bigger, Sask., farmer-turned-detective made trips to the reserve — his last as recent as a year ago — and passed on "good information" and evidence to the RCMP.
'Put on the back burner'
Asked if he thinks someone other than the teen or Perry killed his sister, Jamie declined to answer.
But he said, "there's a lot of things they should be investigating. They just don't have the manpower to do it. They're continually being pulled away to work on other cases.
"We're getting put on the back burner. That seems to be happening a lot the last 30 years."
Jamie said the RCMP's Historical Case Unit in Saskatoon gave him an update on the case earlier this week.
"Cindy Blazek's homicide case remains unsolved and is still under investigation by members of the RCMP Historical Case Unit," Staff Sgt. Rob Embree told CBC via email Friday.
" As recently as this year, investigators have received information in regards to this file and have been working, trying to advance the investigation."
For now, though, Jamie and his sister are left with only a partial account of what happened to Cindy on Dec. 7, 1986.
Jamie said Cindy was dating an RCMP officer from another community at the time.
"He was working that night," said Jamie. "He actually phoned her at two o'clock in the morning. The people were in her house then.
"I believe she answered 'yes or no' and then she ended by saying 'I love you.' He thought she was mad at him for waking her up but it was because they were there.
"Later the police had found that the telephone cord had been cut with a knife in her bedroom."
The last time Jamie saw Cindy was two weeks before her death.
"I remember she gave me a hug goodbye and I told her to take care."
"I am frustrated that it hasn't been solved yet," he said of Cindy's death.
"I think that Cindy really deserves to have it solved and have the truth come out so that people know what happened to her that night."
With files from Alicia Bridges