Okay so I’ve read about the case, but I had no idea the documentary was going to ruin me like this. I’ve got so many questions and so much hatred.
Where are shirleys other kids? Why would they allow Shirley to make demands and phone calls from jail if she was on suicide watch all the time? Why would they give her custody of a child after being on suicide watch in jail? Why did her freaking therapist pay for her bail? Sorry if this is a dumb one, but was Shirley about to go to prison for good for andrews murder? Why didn’t they keep Shirley in America?
This documentary broke my heart. Zachary looks so happy with David and Kate. He looks so content. I can’t imagine what Kate and David felt towards this woman. She ruined their lives. Completely ruined them.
Case File Overview
On December 6, 1991 fifteen-year-old Sarah Harbison and her thirteen-year-old friend Amy Ayers were hanging out at Northcross Mall in Austin, Texas.
They were killing time on the chilly Friday night until Sarah’s sister Jennifer and her school friend and co-worker Eliza Thomas, both seventeen, were done their late shift at the “I Can’t Believe It’s Yogurt!” shop located in the Hillside strip mall in the 2900 block of West Anderson Lane.
Sometime after 10:00PM, Sarah and Amy made their way the few blocks to the yogurt shop from the mall to help close up. After the store closed at 11:00PM all four girls had plans to go to a slumber party.
Just before midnight, Austin Police Department officer Troy Gay noticed smoke rising from the strip mall while out on patrol. The officer reported the fire and firefighters soon arrived on scene. As they were extinguishing the blaze, they came across a horrific sight.
Jennifer, Sara, Amy, and Eliza were dead. All of the girls were naked and bound and gagged with their own clothing. Amy’s body was discovered in the middle of the back room, while Jennifer, Sara, and Eliza were found in the rear of the back room clustered into one corner. Eliza and Sarah were stacked on top of each other while Jennifer lay close by.
The girls’ legs were spread wide open and an ice cream scoop was placed between one of their legs. Their bodies were burned almost beyond recognition, as the killer or killers had collected napkins and other flammable items from around the shop and had doused them and the bodies with lighter fluid before lighting the shop ablaze and fleeing.
Autopsies done on the girls uncovered they were all shot in the back of the head execution-style. And at least two of the girls had been raped. Authorities also informed the media that two guns had been used to commit the murders, suggesting there may have been at least two perpetrators.
The yogurt shop management and police investigators determined there was approximately $540 missing from the store.
Despite a lengthy police investigation by lead detective John Jones and his partner Mike Huckabay, numerous suspects, and an outraged community, these appalling murders remain unsolved.
Case File Theories
From the start, there were a number of issues with the investigation. First off, the firemen who responded to the call did their job…and in the process potentially washed away precious forensic evidence. Even more, in the early 1990s Austin lacked forensic expertise, having only one fingerprint unit. Plus with the small size of the city’s homicide squad there was only one homicide investigator on shift the night of the murders.
Regardless of the department’s shortfalls, Jones and Huckabay had more than their fair share of suspects. The phones at the police station rang off the hook as tips flooded in. The investigators were understandably overwhelmed when confronted with 342 suspects and dozens of false confessions.
Considering the horrific nature of the crime as well as the staging of the bodies, the investigators first looked into serial killers who may have been at work in the area….which led them to Kenneth Allen McDuff.
Kenneth Allen McDuff
McDuff was a Texas serial killer suspected of at least fourteen murders. He was convicted of murdering three teens on August 6, 1966: Robert Brand, Mark Dunman, and Edna Louis Sullivan. These killings were dubbed the Broomstick Murders because Edna’s neck was broken with a broomstick after she was repeatedly raped.
McDuff was sentenced to death, but his sentence was changed to life with the possibility of parole in 1972 after the US Supreme Court abolished capital punishment in a 5-4 decision. Due to prison overcrowding, McDuff was paroled in 1989. It is now believed that after his release McDuff committed many other murders, including the killing of Melissa Ann Northrup, a 22-year-old Texan, in 1992. After evading capture for years, McDuff was finally taken into custody and sent to death row.
On November 17, 1998, the day of his execution, McDuff confessed to the yogurt shop murders. If he thought this last-minute confession was going to spare his life he was mistaken. His execution was carried out that day as scheduled. After McDuff’s death, the authorities investigated his confession but ruled him out when fingerprints and hair collected from the yogurt shop could not be linked back to him.
Eight days after the murders, the investigators got a tip to look into a teenager named Maurice Pierce. The sixteen-year-old was seen at the Northcross Mall with a gun on the very same night Sarah and Amy were hanging out there before they headed the yogurt shop. The gun was a .22-caliber handgun – the same caliber as one of the guns used to execute the girls.
But when Jones and Huckabay questioned Pierce along with the three friends he was with at the mall – Michael Scott, Robert Springsteen, and Forrest Welborn – nothing came of the lead.
When Pierce’s gun was tested, the ballistics showed it did not match the murder weapon. Also, just like with McDuff, the fingerprints and hair collected from the crime scene did not match any of the four teens. Eventually, the investigators moved on.
Years went by with no arrests, so the case was passed on to new detectives. Then in 1999 four suspects in their twenties were taken into custody for the murders – Forrest Welborn, Michael Scott, Robert Springsteen, and Maurice Pierce – the same suspects who were questioned eight days after the girls were killed and released due to a lack of evidence.
One of the suspects, Michael Scott, confessed to the killings. And he was not alone; Robert Springsteen also confessed to killing the girls and raping one of them. After the confessions, the police were convinced they had their killers.
The theory was that the four had planned to rob the yogurt shop. Scott, Springsteen, and Pierce entered the shop while Welborn waited outside and served as a lookout. But then something went very wrong during the robbery and all of the girls were killed.
The authorities tried twice to indict Welborn for the murders, but they lacked the evidence to link him to the crime, so all charges against him were dropped. Charges against Pierce were also dropped due to a lack of evidence, which was particularly hard for the police and the victims’ families to take as he was considered the mastermind behind the crime and the subsequent killings.
Springsteen and Scott were tried separately for the yogurt shop killings and both were found guilty of capital murder. Springsteen received the death penalty, which was possible even after the Supreme Court ruling in 1972 because the State of Texas had passed a new death penalty statute, whereas Michael Scott was sentenced to 99 years in prison.
However, not long after their trials serious concerns were raised that suggested Springsteen and Scott may have been innocent. To start, there was no physical evidence linking either of them to the crime. Additionally, both men said their confessions had been coerced. And there was some evidence to back up their claims. One of the detectives on the case was transferred after he allegedly extorted confessions in an unrelated case. And a photo came to light of another member of the Austin Police Department pointing a gun at Scott’s head during his interrogation.
Roughly fifteen years after the yogurt shop killings were committed, both convictions were overturned when the courts found they violated Springsteen and Scott’s Sixth Amendment right to confront their accuser. Scott and Springsteen’s confessions were used against one another at trial, but their lawyers were never given the opportunity to cross examine the accuser. As a result, it was determined their constitutional rights had been violated.
Later, in 2008, DNA testing was done on the evidence collected from the crime scene and the male DNA found did not match Scott and Springsteen, or any of the other men suspected of the crime for that matter.
Then-Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg said even though she was sure Scott and Springsteen were responsible for the yogurt shop murder, the men would not be re-prosecuted until the unknown male connected to the DNA evidence was found.
Most of the authorities still believe they had the right four guys all along, and that a fifth man must have helped perpetrate the crime, explaining away the unknown DNA evidence. But the defense attorneys for Scott and Springsteen call the fifth man theory ridiculous and stress that no one ever mentioned a fifth participant until the “inconvenient” DNA results came in.
Some of the lawyers, investigators, family members, and armchair detectives who have studied this case think the killers are actually two yet unidentified customers who were in the yogurt shop at closing time. The police apparently interviewed 52 customers who visited the store on the day of the murders, but two men who witnesses placed there at closing time have never been found.
Three customers who left the store just before closing said on their way out they noticed two men sitting in a booth not looking like they were leaving any time soon. The men may have ordered a soft drink. At least one of the customers then saw Jennifer lock the front door and put up the closed sign so no more customers would enter while her and her co-worker closed up the store. The two men in the booth remained behind after all of the other customers left.
Witnesses described the persons of interest as follows: “One has lighter hair, maybe like a dirty blond, and is about 5 foot 6 … in his late 20s, early 30s. The other is described as a bigger man. Both were wearing bigger coats…one had a green coat…army-fatigue kind of looking jacket, the other had a black jacket.” To this day, neither of these men have been identified.
In the end, it is questionable if robbery was ever really the motive in this case. Given the small amount of money taken and the extreme level of violence, it is hard to imagine that these murders were merely the result of a robbery gone bad.
It is much more likely the crime was sexually motivated and the killers grabbed the money as an afterthought. One of the girls may have known the killers or maybe Sarah and Amy were followed from the mall to the yogurt shop. Regardless, it is doubtful Springsteen, Pierce, Wellborn, and Scott had anything to do with the murders. The key to solving this case potentially rests with linking the DNA evidence found at the scene to the two male customers seen by witnesses lingering in the yogurt shop after closing.
Who do you think is responsible for the Austin yogurt shop murders?
The 1991 yogurt shop murders changed Austin forever. The then-mayor called the murders “the crime where Austin lost its innocence.” The violent and sudden loss of four young girls with their entire lives ahead of them caused residents to question the safety of their city.
The “I Can’t Believe It’s Yogurt!” shop became a nail salon, but a plaque remains in the parking lot under an old oak tree memorializing Jennifer Harbison, Sara Harbison, Amy Ayers, and Eliza Thomas…and reminding all those who pass by that justice has yet to be served.
If you have any information that can help solve this case, please call 512-472-TIPS.
Sort of like r/tipofmytongue , but for true crime. Sometimes I can't remember a certain crime and I want to remember it or learn more about it. With this type of subreddit we could all help each other identify crimes we want to learn more about.
Serial killer teams are certainly not a new phenomenon. There have been hundreds of unsolved women murders right across the border from El Paso in Cuidad Juarez. Have there been teams this prolific? What are your thoughts? Why have these cases received such little attention?
I'm not sure if this is the place to write about this, but I'm having serious trouble finding an appropriate place to discuss this issue. The definition of the TrueCrimeDiscussion appears to be focused on slightly different topics, although this sort of includes criminal behavior, but this time from the Russians, however as the definition also mentions that this is a bit more of a slack place in terms of moderation, then I decided to try my luck and see if I can have a discussion here over this topic.
Long story short, I live in Finland, and I think I was tarteged by the Russians for some kind of a recruitment attempt. To be specific, I don't know what the motivation was, but I was sort of intimidated and harassed along the way. This has also included subtle online harassment, a couple of threats in person.
I've had this issue since like 2015 or 2016 and there's a lot to go through. Additionally, the Russian's have specifically tailored their methods so that it's difficult for local law enforcement to do anything about it.
So I don't know... What thoughts do you have of this? What do you think I should do? Where do you think I could discuss this more appropriately?
Henry Bedard Jr. was born on June 25, 1958 to Henry Sr. and Gloria Bedard. He enjoyed a rather idyllic American middle-class childhood, spending his early years in Lynn, Massachusetts and growing up with loving parents alongside his three brothers—John, Stephen, and Scott—and his sister Cheryl.
Henry loved playing with trucks, spending time at the beach, and eating chocolate ice cream. He was also a huge sports fan, with a particular affinity for baseball and football. It was no surprise to anyone that Henry had a ton of friends—he was always happy and had a smile his family said could “melt anyone’s heart.”
In 1970 the Bedard's moved to Swampscott, Massachusetts. A suburb of Boston, the small city of around 13,500 people is known for its beautiful beaches and for being a safe place to raise a family.
In Swampscott, Henry was a popular teen. By 1974, the high school sophomore played on the Varsity Football Team. And with his good looks, sense of humor, and confidence Henry was never short of friends and had even started dating.
Henry was also independent and a hard worker. He worked at his family’s Sunoco gas station on the weekends and had already saved up $900 so he could buy his first vehicle when he turned sixteen. He wanted to open the station on his own on the weekends so his dad could sleep in – something he rarely got to do.
On Monday December 16, Henry left the family home at 21 MacArthur Circle and walked his younger brother to school. Henry continued on to Swampscott High School where he attended all of his classes. When school let out at 2:15PM, instead of following his usual routine and walking home with friends, Henry caught the bus to the Vinnin Square Shopping Center.
While at the mall, Henry first dropped off a roll of 8-millimeter film to be developed at CVS, a large pharmacy chain in the US. His dad had recently found some film that had gone undeveloped for years and Henry was excited to see what gems might be on it.
After leaving the CVS, Henry did some Christmas shopping. He loved Christmas, especially saving his money and thoughtfully picking out perfect gifts for his family. On this outing, he purchased perfume for his older sister Cheryl: Love’s Musky Jasmine Flower. It was her favorite.
Henry left the mall around 3:00PM. A short while later, Peter Cassidy, then a Lieutenant with the Swampscott Police, stopped his vehicle to let Henry cross Paradise Road. They waved a friendly hello as Henry strode by.
At 3:40PM, nearly a mile south of the mall, Henry was spotted by a group of city workers as he took a shortcut through the Department of Public Works (DPW) yard. He chatted with them as he walked by, wishing them a merry Christmas and proudly holding up his CVS bag while explaining he was headed home to wrap gifts. The workers watched as Henry followed the path of the former rail line and climbed a trail into a wooded area near his home.
Henry’s parents really began to worry when darkness fell and Henry did not show up for dinner. He was always home by 5:30PM and never missed a meal with his family unless he told them in advance he would not be home.
By 7:00PM the Bedard's were in full panic mode. They gathered family and friends and threw together an informal search party. They split up and combed parks and local pathways, focusing on the possible routes Henry might have taken home.
Their efforts were made all the more difficult by an unrelenting rainstorm that had rolled into the area. The searchers, though, refused to give up. They were concerned Henry had somehow injured himself on his way home and required medical attention, in which case time was of the essence.
Henry’s parents eventually realized they needed help, so at 9:15PM they called the police to report their son missing. And by early the next day it was all hands on deck. Searchers and scent dogs scoured surrounding neighborhood's. Even a helicopter was brought in to assist. But there was no sign of Henry.
Finally, at 2:30PM a local mom contacted the police and reported her son and his friend had found Henry’s body. Later it was revealed that on the previous day, just before 4:00PM, two boys on their way to a birthday party had spotted a brown empty wallet and a CVS bag containing a bottle of perfume on a rocky, wooded ledge overlooking the DPW yard.
One of the boys mentioned their discovery to the birthday boy—ten-year-old Cliff Goodman—at school the day after the party. Cliff and the unnamed boy went back to the site after school, nearly 24 hours after Henry had vanished, to look for the wallet and perfume…and found much more than they had bargained for. Buried under a pile of leaves was Henry’s severely beaten body.
Investigators closed off the area and thoroughly searched the crime scene. But the torrential rains that had swept through the region the night of Henry’s murder had washed away any footprints, and likely destroyed other viable evidence.
Floodlights were brought in to extend the search into the evening hours and investigators examined every square inch of the hillside. Even a metal detector was used to try to find evidence not easily visible to the naked eye.
Investigator Searching the Crime Scene
Henry’s wallet and the CVS bag were still at the scene. But what really caught the police’s attention was the blood-splattered Louisville Slugger baseball bat found just a few feet away from Henry’s body. And the bat had distinctive markings carved into the butt.
Autopsy findings indicated Henry had died from “brain lacerations and numerous fractures.” The young man was beaten to death, hit by “at least five distinct blows to the head” with a hard cylindric object like a baseball bat—all evidence pointed towards the bat covered in Henry’s blood found at the scene.
Over the years, the evidence has been sent in for testing multiple times… a good move given the rapid advances in forensic science. Two partial fingerprints were found in the blood on the baseball bat, but this is not as straightforward as it should be. Henry was never fingerprinted during the autopsy, so it is unclear if the fingerprints belong to Henry or his killer. However, it is believed the authorities also have DNA evidence, either from Henry’s clothing or the bat, but they have yet to find a match in any database.
In the months following Henry’s murder, police interviewed nearly 100 people. And nine unnamed teenagers agreed to take polygraph tests and passed. Within months, though, even a $10,000 reward stopped generating clues… and the case eventually went cold.
Henry’s killer has never been caught.
Case File Theories
Killed by a stranger
Was Henry killed by a stranger? Maybe, but it is highly unlikely.
In 1974, Swampscott was far from a crime hotbed. Henry’s case was the town’s only murder that year, with police spending the majority of their time responding to traffic incidents and medical emergencies.
Henry’s wallet was empty, suggesting maybe he was killed during a robbery. But beating someone to death with a baseball bat seems excessively personal—someone fueled by rage—which is not usually associated with a random robbery. The killer could have easily taken the cash from Henry’s wallet to make the crime appear to be a robbery.
Some theories of the murder going around town centered on Henry being killed by a stranger, either a deranged hobo riding the trains or “some nut from Lynn,” Henry’s hometown. The police looked into every theory, no matter how ridiculous, but none of them had any evidence backing them up.
And finally, the location where Henry was killed— the wooded area known as Swampscott View—calls into question a stranger killing. Would a person really hang out in the cold, wet woods just in the hopes someone would wander by to rob? Probably not.
Murdered by someone from his inner circle
Was Henry killed by someone he knew? This is the most probable theory.
Swampscott authorities think Henry was killed by someone in his close circle of friends. They point out most people who saw Henry after his trip to the mall thought he was in a rush. The police believe he was meeting someone up at Swampscott View. It was, after all, a popular meet-up spot for local teenagers—Henry had in fact been up there the past summer. But in the wintertime, it seems a strange place to plan to meet someone. Unless you wanted to be alone for some reason, as the odds of someone passing by would be pretty low.
Further evidence Henry was meeting someone the day he was killed comes from his friends and family. Mark Gambale, Henry’s good friend, said he never knew Henry to take a shortcut home that went through the area where he was killed. This carries a lot of weight since they often walked home together.
To add to this, Henry’s mom told reporters, “I just want to know why he was up there that day.” According to her, Swampscott View was not near a shortcut Henry would take home, even if he was coming from the mall and not from school.
There was some talk that on the day of Henry’s death he was seen by a teacher arguing about money with an unnamed student at the school. But it is doubtful there is anything to this story.
A couple of reports say both this student and Henry were absent from their last class, while other media coverage suggests Henry attended all of his classes the day in question. Besides, Henry went to the mall after school and was seen alive, and by himself, after that by several people—he was not killed right after leaving school. So even if Henry and this mystery student both missed last class, which is unproven, it is unclear why it even matters.
Plus it would be odd for Henry to be arguing with another student about money. Henry was very careful with his finances. He had saved up and purchased his own bike, had put $900 aside for a car, and had a history of squirreling away his allowance to buy Christmas gifts for his family. Does this sound like someone who needed to borrow money? Let alone someone who would borrow money and then not be able to pay it back?
If anything, it is more plausible someone borrowed money from Henry, was not able to pay it back, and a fight ensued that ended in Henry’s death. The killer might then have taken money from Henry’s wallet to make it look like a robbery. All we can do is hope the police carefully went through Henry’s financials and investigated if any money was unaccounted for.
One thing not mentioned anywhere is the mysterious film Henry dropped off the afternoon he was killed—the film that had been sitting around undeveloped for years. What if Henry was killed because there was something on that film someone did not want to become public?
Albeit the film was already in for processing, but still… it is bizarre timing. No doubt the police reviewed the film after it was developed, so we likely would have heard more about it by now if it played a role in the case. Anyways, perhaps this theory requires too vivid of an imagination.
If Henry was killed by someone close to him, then it is likely the murderer’s family and friends have managed to keep a gigantic secret for years. Particularly because of the unique markings on the baseball bat found at the scene. It is impossible to believe someone close to the killer does not recognize the bat.
Forty-five years after Henry was murdered, the authorities made public photos of the baseball bat believed to be the murder weapon. The Swampscott police explained, “This bat has unique markings on the handle that investigators are hoping can lead to the owner.”
The bat appears to have the Roman numeral “VI” carved into the butt. But it also looks like the number “1” is on the bat, and that it may have at one point been the number “10” and then the Roman numeral was carved over top.
It has been suggested little league players sometimes carve their jersey numbers into the butt of their bat for sentimental reasons, as well as to help them quickly identify their bat. And then if they changed jersey numbers for some reason, they would just adjust the number carved into their bat.
If something like this happened here, it could explain the markings on the murder weapon. The person who owned the bat first could have worn jersey number “10” and then later got assigned jersey number “6.” They might have used the Roman numeral “VI” because the number “6” might be mistaken for a “9.”
Even another possibility is the bat belonged to a family member or a friend of the killer.
What does NOT seem possible is that no one recognizes the unique markings on the bat. Odds are someone out there knows whose bat it is—and is letting someone get away with murder.
What do you think happened to Henry?
Henry’s death had a long-lasting impact on the Swampscott community.
His childhood friend, Cindy Cavallaro, said the town was never the same. Residents started locking their doors and trust became a thing of the past. Cindy dubbed the day Henry was killed “the day that the Swampscott children lost their innocence.’’ To honor Henry, a college scholarship was established in his name. And at least two high school yearbooks were dedicated to the young man and all that he accomplished in the short time he had.
The loss of Henry also still reverberates in the hearts and minds of those closest to him.
Paul Zuchero, Henry’s good friend, has spent many sleepless nights wondering what happened… pondering how the killer is still free and thinking about all that Henry has lost. Decades on, Paul keeps a photo of Henry on his fridge door. It is surrounded by images of Paul’s family taken over the years. This way, Paul explained, Henry remains at the center of his life.
Cheryl, Henry’s sister, said her brother’s murder “tore our family apart, each of us retreating into our own cocoon, never discussing his death as a family.” Henry’s parents eventually divorced and left town. This is very common when a couple experiences the loss of a child as the grief can be all-consuming. It is hard to function let alone nurture a marriage.
And heartbreakingly, because Henry broke his normal routine to stop at the mall to buy Cheryl perfume for Christmas, his sister blamed herself for his death for years. Cheryl said “a part of her died that day as well.”
Really, solving this case after so many decades have gone by will likely come down to one of two things.
One, someone will come forward with information and solve the case—this could be either a deathbed confession by the murderer or a person who recognizes the markings on the baseball bat will finally step up and identify the killer.
Or two, there will be a DNA match. Police have both the murder weapon and the clothing Henry was wearing the afternoon he was murdered. With the advances in technology since Henry was killed, a DNA match could be made any day. And then the perpetrator will hopefully end up behind bars where they belong.
If you have any information about Henry’s murder, please contact the Swampscott Police Department at 781-595-1111.
Can somebody point me toward YouTube true crime channels that are more professional in quality or well researched?
I’ll admit - I am not the target demographic for much of YouTube’s content anymore haha - but anytime I check out a YouTube recommendation, I feel like I’m just watching a lot of speculation piled on top of hyperbole. I’m all for personal voice and plenty of people obviously enjoy that style, but I really like to know the facts of a case/investigation.
So am I barking up the wrong tree and should stick to my documentaries and podcasts or is there a hidden goldmine out there that I have yet to discover?
Edit: Thank you so much, everyone! Looks like I’ve got a lot to watch!
Case File Overview
Candice put aside her baby shower planning on the warm spring evening to go and watch her boyfriend play basketball. By 8:00PM, Candice, her boyfriend, his cousin, and one of his teammates had piled into a vehicle and were headed to a men’s recreational basketball game in Scarborough.
When the game was done, the group made their way to Jamestown to drop off the teammate. Around 11:00PM they entered John Garland Boulevard and drove eastbound towards Jamestown Crescent. Right after they pulled a U-turn in the intersection and stopped so the teammate could hop out of the car, seemingly out of nowhere the car was hit with a spray of bullets.
Intersection of Jamestown Crescent and John Garland Boulevard.
Candice was sitting in the backseat and was struck in the chest by a bullet. Amazingly no one else in the car was injured. The driver raced to Etobicoke General Hospital to get Candice help.
When they arrived at the hospital, Candice was whisked into surgery and doctors performed an emergency c-section. They delivered her baby even though she was only 24 weeks pregnant.
Candice died from her injuries shortly after the shooting, but her son Kyrie survived. However, three weeks later he died while surrounded by family at Sunnybrook’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
Even though police have surveillance footage from the area, six shell casings were found near the scene, and a number of people were in the area at the time of the shooting, the police do not have any suspects.
Candice’s murder remains unsolved.
Case File Theories
A targeted killing
Was Candice targeted by her killer?
Candice, a long-time resident of Malton, had absolutely no ties to Jamestown. She had not spent time in the area and did not know anyone who lived there. By all accounts, Candice had no enemies. Also, she was not known to police. Given all of this, it is unlikely someone was targeting Candice when they shot up the car.
But was someone in the vehicle Candice was travelling in at the time of the shooting the target?
Police have reported that none of the men in the car had a criminal record or were involved in any gang activity. They also cooperated fully with the investigation and were distraught by Candice’s death. Candice’s family does not think anyone in the car was the target. They have said that Candice knew everyone in the vehicle well and would never have been with them if she thought it was unsafe for her or her baby.
Both the police and Candice’s family doubt anyone in the car had anything to do with the shooting.
Was Candice the victim of gang violence?
Gang activity and gun violence have plagued Jamestown for years. A gang based out of Driftwood Avenue in the Jane and Finch area was said to be in a turf war with a gang from Jamestown Crescent in the Kipling and Albion area at the time of Candice’s murder.
Some of the suspected gang-related shootings in the area where Candice was killed include 14-year-old Lecent Ross, who was murdered just feet away from where Candice was shot; stay-at-home-dad Donald Beckles, who was shot multiple times on the same street as Candice; and 15-year-old Jarvis Montague, who was killed during a shooting at the Jamestown housing complex.
Investigators have a theory that when the car carrying Candice pulled a U-turn to drop off one of the passengers, the vehicle drew the attention of gang members. Perhaps they thought the occupants of the car were a threat, so they fired on the vehicle.
When Candice was murdered, Toronto city officials were outraged by the death of a pregnant young mother who may have been collateral damage of the turf war.
City Councilor Vincent Cristani blamed the violence in Jamestown on a small group of people, stating, “These gangs these younger people are involved in are in turf wars. They’re carrying guns and settling their differences showing their muscle in that way.”
Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders said Candice’s murder had “shocked the city.”
And Mayor John Tory called Candice’s murder “a travesty.” He told the media, “This is our city and we need to stand together in the face of this kind of senseless violence.”
Who do you think murdered Candice?
Candice’s close-knit family – including her parents and five siblings – are grappling with their loss. They still recall how the once-quiet Candice grew into a jokester who loved pulling pranks and doing impressions. They even saved a recording of Candice’s cackle – something she would send in reply to any funny messages she received.
Candice was also the family planner, a role that has been hard for others to fill. She was the driving force behind organizing family get-togethers, such as bowling nights and celebration dinners. She also supported her grandparents by taking them to all of their appointments. Candice was at the heart of her family. Without her, it will never be the same.
Not only was Candice an expectant mother who was excitedly decorating Kyrie’s nursery in preparation for his arrival, but also she was the proud mom of two teenage boys. After Candice’s murder, they moved in with their Aunt Natasha and have been surrounded by love and support. But still, these young men will tragically have to make their way through the world without their loving mom.
Jackie Weir, Candice’s mom, captured the family’s heartbreak and the long-lasting impact of Candice’s death when she told the media, “There is an empty seat at the table. She’s never coming back. We have been handed a life sentence.”
On top of losing Candice, her family also had to watch helplessly as baby Kyrie fought for his life and lost. Without doubt, Kyrie’s death complicated the murder investigation. It took a long time for authorities to decide if whoever killed Candice would also be held responsible for murdering her unborn baby.
In Canada, whether or not the murder of a pregnant woman should be viewed as one homicide or two has been debated for years. Answering this question can be difficult for some people, as it entails diving into murky political and ethical arguments on when a fetus becomes a human being.
But finally, in February of 2017, Toronto Police announced the case was being considered a double murder. Whoever killed Candice now also faces a homicide charge for the murder of her son Kyrie. According to Detective Sergeant Mike Carbone, the decision took so long because it involved “a very, very complicated part of the law.”
Police still do not have any suspects in the murders and are asking members of the public to come forward with information. They believe someone out there knows something and either may not realize the information they have is important or is too scared to come forward.
Charity had left her two children with a babysitter the night of the murder. Somehow, 13-year-old Paris was able to convince his babysitter to leave him and his sister alone for the night and this gave Paris ample time to follow through with his plan.
Paris Bennett entered the room of his sleeping 4-year-old sister with a knife. He then sexually assaulted her and stabbed her to death. He stabbed this 4-year-old child 17 times. Not in a frenzy, but in a slow and controlled attack.. one that he later described as feeling like "stabbing a marshmallow" and admitted to thoroughly sexually enjoying.
When arrested, the sinister details of his motive were revealed. Initially, Paris' plan was to kill his mother, Charity Lee. But after some consideration, he decided that that best way to punish his mother and hurt her endlessly was not to kill her, because if he did that should would only suffer a few minutes, but to instead murder her only daughter.. so, in effect, she's be losing all her children. One to death, one to prison.
This story is so wild from the fact that Paris Lee Bennett is considered a genius level psycopath, to Charity Lee choosing to visit her son in prison after what he's done, and the fact that she's had the strength to have another child after all she's been through, and to the theory... that Charity's own mother, Kyla Bennett, may be a killer and a psycopath herself.
All the information is in the linked video.
Watch the video here which covers the full case [14:10]: The Killer Caught On Camera - The Unlikely Arrest Of Anders Eklund | True Crime
A special thanks to the Sweden reddit community for helping me with this write up and some of the pronunciations of the words in the video, I hope I've got them right. I was also inspired to make this video from this previous post here.
On Saturday 5th April 2008, 10 year old Engla Höglund had just finished her football practice for the day in a nearby field in Stjärnsund and was ready to return home. Being less than 3 miles away from her house, and knowing that her bike was stored at the local community centre near to the fields, Engla called her mother to ask if she could ride home that day, rather than be picked up as usual. Engla pleaded with her mother, Carina Höglund, to let her take the journey alone, to which she eventually agreed, but only on the condition that she would call her mobile every 10 minutes, just in case she changed her mind along the way.
During Engla’s ride home, Carina rang her mobile to check how she was doing as promised. After speaking with her daughter, and estimating that she was roughly 20 minutes away from the house, she decided not to call again to allow her some independence.
As time went by, Carina began to worry when Engla didn’t arrive home as planned. She called her daughter’s phone, but this time Engla didn’t answer. With panic setting in, Carina got in her car and began searching for Engla in the hope that she had decided to walk or perhaps got a flat tyre along the route. Carina drove to numerous places, including the community centre where Engla started her journey, and her friends' homes to see if she had stopped there instead. Despite her efforts, Engla was nowhere to be found.
Carina drove slowly towards her home and waved down a couple that she knew, who told her that they saw Engla cycling not far from the house and assumed she had arrived. Continuing down the route home, Carina stopped when she noticed something in the woods. It was Engla’s bicycle, absent of it’s rider, left abandoned around 200 yards from the house. Carina immediately feared the worst, as she knew that Engla wasn’t strong enough to pull the bike into the woods alone. She also noticed a set of tyre tracks on the ground which looked as though a car had just fled from the scene.
The police were called immediately, who arrived with boats and a helicopter to search for Engla, and they soon began gathering volunteers at the local school. Wells, abandoned barns and outbuildings were all searched, but there was still no sign of Engla. As days passed by, the hope of a safe return home soon began to fade.
A few days later, with the case becoming national news, the police were approached by a local resident of Stjärnsund, Tomas Langton. Tomas explained to officers that he believed he had evidence as to what happened to Engla that afternoon, and that he had obtained it accidentally through sheer coincidence.
At around 2pm, Tomas and his wife, along with another couple, were out for a walk in the area. Since it was a nice day, Tomas decided to bring with him his new digital camera, which he had only just recently purchased, to test it out for the first time. At roughly 2:16pm, Tomas sees Engla riding towards him along the road, so decided to take a few pictures of her to test how the camera reacted to objects moving at speed. No more than 55 seconds later, at 2:17pm, a red Saab 900 car drove down the same road towards Tomas, to which he again decided to take a picture to test the camera’s capabilities.
Unbelievably, both of these photos came out almost perfect, with sharp images of both Engla on her bike and the car, including the number plate and even the driver inside. Upon realising that the photos he took were of Engla, Tomas provided them to the police.
Due to what must have been a complete lack of awareness, one of the officers working on the case contacted the owner of the Saab and began asking him if he had seen anything strange along his journey that day, despite the fact that he was a potential suspect. Unbeknownst to him, this man had a violent criminal past, and he now knew that the police were looking for him.
The man in question was Anders Eklund, a 42 year old truck driver from the nearby province of Gästrikland who had previously been imprisoned for multiple offences. Those who knew Eklund outside of his criminal past would provide differing opinions of him, from ‘social and friendly’ to ‘a miserable sex felon’, the latter of which would soon become the more nationally recognised of the two.
Eklund had previous run ins with the police as early as 1994, with multiple attempts of sexual assault, stealing girl’s underwear from a school, buying alcohol for children and even strangling attempts on women. He was sentenced in 1998 and in 2000 but later released after serving a couple of years behind bars.
On the 4th June 2000, 8 years earlier, 31 year old Pernilla Hellgren was found murdered in Falun, roughly 28 miles from Stjärnsund. She had been beaten and strangled just a few yards from her mother’s home, where she was celebrating her birthday. Her murder was witnessed by a 16 year old girl in a taxi, who saw a man on top of her on the path below a bridge she was travelling over. Once she got home, she raced back with a few friends to the location of the attack, but only found discarded clothes and no body. The police managed to find Pernilla’s corpse later that day, where she lay naked in the woods nearby. The witness described the man to the police as having a large stomach and a double chin, and looked like a stereotypical truck driver. Police investigating Pernilla’s murder made several arrests and produced a list of 64 potential suspects from Gävleborg and Darlana, but the case went cold and for some reason, the list of suspects from Gävleborg were never looked into. In 2006 and 2007, police received tips naming Pernilla’s murderer, but both of these were ignored and never followed up. These tips, however, would prove to be correct.
Police soon arrested Eklund and brought him in for questioning. He originally denied having anything to do with Engla’s disappearance or that he had even seen her on the day she went missing. However, after a few days of interrogation, police found blood on the back seat and in the boot of his Saab. His tyres also matched the tracks which had been left at the scene near where Engla’s bike was abandoned.
Police took Eklund’s DNA whilst in custody, and noticing the similarities of the witness statement from 8 years earlier, decided to test it against DNA which was found on Pernilla’s body. They also searched his apartment, where they found explicit images of children on his computer and several pairs of women’s underwear, which had been worn.
On the 11th of April, forensics confirmed that Eklund’s DNA matched, and pinned him to the murder of Pernilla Hellgren. Using this information, police managed to get a confession from Eklund, but not just for the murder of Pernilla. Anders Eklund, now cornered by the police, also confessed that he had murdered 10 year old Engla Höglund, and that he would take them to where he had hidden the body.
Eklund led police to an isolated wood area, where they discovered Engla’s remains. According to police accounts, Engla’s corpse was unrecognisable, and was only identifiable through dental records. She had been sexually assaulted, beaten and strangled before being burnt with gasoline. Eklund described how, whilst driving down a small road into the woods, he saw Engla on her bicycle and stopped to talk to her. In an attempt to get away from him, he claimed that Engla kicked his leg which sent him into a rage. He pulled her into his car and drove off, before abusing, murdering, and ditching her in a secluded area. It later emerged that, due to the accidental tip off from the police officer earlier in the case, Eklund had attempted to clean his car of any incriminating evidence, however some of her blood still remained in the Saab.
Eklund was later sentenced to life in prison for both the murders of Pernilla Hellgren and Engla Höglund on the 6th of October 2008. He is also presumed to be responsible for other unsolved murders across Sweden, Denmark and Norway, including that of 16 year old Malin Olsson in 1994 and 6 year old Jasmina Jasharaj in 1997, although there is no direct evidence linking him to any of these cases.
Eklund is serving his life sentence in the Norrtalje Correctional Facility, a high security prison near Stockholm. During his time there, he has been assaulted by several inmates, beaten so badly that he has required hospital treatment.
Engla Höglund’s funeral was broadcast on national TV in Sweden, as the nation mourned over her tragic death. Many people, including Engla’s mother Carina, blame the police for not being able to stop Eklund sooner, especially after the details of Pernilla Hellgren’s murder case emerged. It turned out that, out of the 64 potential suspects from Gävleborg and Darlana who had been forgotten, Eklund was number 21.
The murders of Engla Höglund and Pernilla Hellgren stand as two of the most tragic in the nation’s history, with many people believing that their deaths could have been prevented had the police followed up on information provided to them in the past. Eklund may have gone on to commit more crimes of this nature, and this case could have remained unsolved forever, had it not been for the unlikely event of one man and his camera.