Toronto cops ID suspect in 1984 killing of Christine Jessop

Elias Hubbard
October 16, 2020

'If he were alive today the Toronto Police Service would arrest Calvin Hoover for the murder of Christine Jessop, ' Toronto Interim Police Chief James Ramer said on Thursday.

Hoover, who was 28 at the time of the murder, was known to the little girl's family but was never considered a suspect.

He said two Toronto police officers came to his home Thursday morning to tell him they had identified the man who murdered Jessop. "It has obviously generated many more questions". Her body was found on New Year's Eve that year in a farm field about 55 kilometres away. Forensic evidence indicated she had been sexually assaulted and stabbed soon after her abduction.

Described as a sweet girl who loved animals and sports, Christine's killing sparked widespread fear, sadness and anger.

Hoover died in 2015, police said.

Hoover was identified as a potential suspect through genetic genealogy tracing that was finally confirmed from an existing blood sample, police said.

'I can assure you that there is a great sense of relief.

"This has impacted the entire judiciary and the legal system in terms of prosecutors, judges and everyone involved in this process", Ramer said.

"We can stop looking backwards now", he said.

"We just came in and finished out what had already been a very long investigation that had tried a number of different things", Anthony Redgrave, a forensic genetic genealogist who spent six months working with Toronto police to identify the killer, told CBC News Network.

Police also put out an old photograph of Hoover in hopes it might jog memories about his whereabouts at the time of the killing. They also said Hoover may have worked for Christine's father at one point.

Her neighbor, Guy Paul Morin, ended up being charged in 1984 before being wrongly convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

"There's nothing I could say today that can reverse the tragic events of 36 years ago", Ramer said. "There are no winners".

Morin was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison.

The Ontario government apologized to Morin for his prosecution and paid him $1.25 million in compensation.

Morin issued a statement through his attorney on Thursday, saying he's relieved for the Jessop family.

In 2018, California investigators compared crime-scene DNA evidence with information from genealogical websites to identify one of the state's most prolific serial killers and rapists - more than three decades after the case of the Golden State Killer went cold. His wrongful conviction was subject of a judicial inquiry.

"I am grateful that the Toronto Police stayed on the case and have now finally solved it", Morin said.

"Christine's murder was a awful and tragic event".

Genealogist Cece Moore used family tree research to identify Talbott, whose DNA was found on Van Cuylenborg's body and also on her trousers and zip ties found in the couple's van. "Then there will be a press conference".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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