A bonus episode of a podcast examining the unsolved 1986 murder of 15-year-old Kerrie Ann Brown of Thompson released earlier this week took a look at some of the other possible suspects whose names have floated around in the more than 32 years that have passed since her death.
Producer David Ridgen of the CBC podcast Someone Knows Something follows up on these leads in the addendum to the show’s fifth season, discounting some and seeking more information about others.
The most promising include one centred around a man with a white van who was 19 or 20 at the times Brown died, whom Ridgen has yet been able to contact, as well as a pair of men whose stories are connected: Carlton Jackson and Robert Delaronde.
Jackson was questioned following Kerrie Ann’s disappearance, according to her brother Trevor and father Jim, and afterwards came to the house to tell Jim that he had nothing to do with her killing. Delaronde was implicated after the fact, mainly due to the fact that he had a somewhat violent history and had hanged himself in 1992, leading people to speculate that he may have been involved, though he was also diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Ridgen was told that Delaronde’s parents had not consented to his DNA being taken because they were worried that police would try to pin the crime on him because previous suspect Patrick Sumner had had charges laid against him dismissed. Delaronde’s former girlfriend Heather McIvor also said that she had not let police take DNA from the child she had with Delaronde when police begin reinvestigating the case more thoroughly several year’s after Delaronde’s death.
McIvor said Delaronde had been having a party on the night of Kerrie’s disappearance and that he had noticed Jackson and another man in attendance had left for a long time before returning. Ridgen was told that Jackson may not have been able to remember what happened back then after receiving a blow to the head in a beating, but Delaronde’s sister told him that she had been recognized by Jackson in Winnipeg and that she didn’t notice anything off about him.
Kerrie went missing Oct. 16, 1986, after attending a party with a friend. No one realized she was gone until the following afternoon. The day after that, her body was found by a hydro line near the horse stables north of Thompson.
In the 10 episodes of the podcast that preceded the bonus episode, Ridgen was spoke to a woman in Thompson who remembers hearing her former boyfriend in Nelson House making reference to a white girl getting killed and a former RCMP telecommunications operator who says she got a call from someone about a murder between the time when Kerrie was last seen and when her family realized she was missing the next day. That call may or may not have been followed up on, depending upon which RCMP officer you believe, and there were obstacles along the way, including the fact that there is no transcript of Sumner’s 1987 preliminary hearing – the charges were dismissed by the judge due to lack of evidence – and that the Brown family is unable to obtain a new copy of her autopsy report to replace the one they lost.
Ridgen’s podcast has uncovered evidence in several previous cases that either led to criminal proceedings or established the most likely way that a missing person had died.