Toronto

Police make arrest in 25-year-old cold case investigation into stabbing death of Barbara Brodkin

Charles Mustard, 63, has been arrested and charged with first degree murder in connection with a 25-year-old cold case investigation into the 1993 stabbing death of Barbara Brodkin, police announced Monday.

Charles Mustard, 63, arrested and charged with first degree murder in connection with Brodkin’s death

Charles Mustard, 63, was arrested on Oct. 19 in connection with a 25-year-old cold case investigation into the 1993 stabbing death of Barbara Brodkin. (Toronto Police Service)

Charles Mustard, 63, has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder in connection with a 25-year-old cold case investigation into the 1993 stabbing death of Barbara Brodkin, Toronto police announced Monday.

Brodkin, who was 41 years old at the time, was found dead in her apartment.

Shortly before 8 a.m. on Friday, March 19, 1993, police received a 911 call from a six-year-old boy who had found his mother dead in their apartment.

Barbara Brodkin was found dead in her apartment on March 19, 1993. She was 41 years old at the time. (CBC)

Emergency services were dispatched to the apartment building at 155 Balliol Street where police located Brodkin's body in the apartment with the young boy. Brodkin died from a stab wound to the chest, police said.

Police said at the time that a quantity of cash and marijuana was missing from the apartment, and they believed that Brodkin may have been the victim of a robbery.

"During the months that followed the murder, canvases for witnesses, examination of evidence, polygraphs, photographs, phone records, banking records and over 100 persons were interviews at the time," Det. Sgt. Stacy Gallant of Toronto Police Homicide Unit said at a news conference on Monday.

"Her alleged killer was never identified and the case went cold. After 24 years, a review of this case was commenced last August. Additional forensic examination on evidence collected at the time of the offence were ordered and sent to CFS for DNA examinations."

Mustard, who was 37 at the time of Brodkin's death, was an acquaintance of the victim's family, police say. (Toronto Police Service)
Mustard was also known to Toronto police and DNA evidence which was collected from the crime scene was used to link him to the Brodkin's murder, Gallant said. 

Gallant said Mustard was arrested on Oct. 19 and charged with Broadkin's murder. Mustard is due to appear in court on Wednesday.

Gallant said Mustard, who was 37-years-old at the time of Brodkin's death, was an acquaintance to the Brodkin family.

"Now, 25 years later, the boy who found his mother in their apartment murdered can have some answers," Gallant said.

"Although there will be a process for this case to work its way through the justice system, at the very least he can know that we never gave up."

A police officer standing in the hallway of Barbara Brodkin's apartment in 1993. (CBC)

Toronto Police Homicide Unit is still appealing to anyone who knew both Brodkin and Mustard who did not speak to the police during the original investigation to contact cold case investigators.

At Monday's news conference, Gallant also appealed to two people, known only by their first names — 'Dirk' and 'Linda' — to contact investigators.

"You may hold the key to this investigation. You may not even know it. Investigators spoke with dozens of people in relation to this investigation. Perhaps they did not speak to you," Gallant said.

"The young boy that found his mother dead in that apartment would now be 31 years old. It's time to step up and help solve this case."

Brodkin's first cousin Herb Brodkin, who also spoke at Monday's news conference, thanked police for their work on the case.

Herb Brodkin, first cousin of Barbara Brodkin, speaking during a press conference on Monday, Oct, 22. (CBC)

"I was so impressed by the diligence that went into this effort to now bring this matter before our courts," Herb Brodkin said.

"Up until recently, I thought cold cases was just something that happened in a TV series in the [United] States. Thank you personally on behalf of my family, and I am sure, on behalf of the public."

He too appealed to anyone with information to come forward.

"I diligently hope that people who knew more about this come forward and assist in this investigation so that, not only do we have a result and we have final closure to this matter, but we have a fair and just result."