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COLD CASE NEWS Sometimes the passage of time is all a cold case -- one that has gone unsolved for years -- needs to generate heat.

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Old 08-25-2009, 09:44 PM
Texaskowgirl
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Couple Missing 1973 compared to "Jacque and Jill" 1976 Sumter Co SC

http://www.theitem.com/article/20090...9980/-1/ITNEWS






Lead in missing couple case?

Unidentified pair found off I-95 may have been from Canada


Photo provided
A couple missing since 1973 from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, is a close match to the descriptions of the unidentified couple killed near the Florence County line in 1976.

By JASON WERMERS
Item Staff Writer
jwermers@theitem.com

A case that has baffled authorities for more than 30 years may finally have a solid lead.

Police in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, sent DNA to Sumter County in February from a young couple who have been missing since 1973.

They are a close match to the descriptions of young couple whose bodies were found on the shoulder of Locklair Road, a dirt road between Interstate 95 and S.C. 341, near the Florence County line, on Aug. 9, 1976, according to Constable Jim Gurney of the Edmonton Police Service. The couple had been shot to death by a .357 Magnum.

The couple who disappeared from their hometown of Edmonton in 1973 are Ron and Terry Yakimchuk. They were reportedly last seen on their way to a wedding in Montreal, more than 2,200 miles away. They weren't formally reported missing until 1974.

"Back in those days, the early '70s, the times were different," Gurney said. "A lot of people were traveling more. People were finding who they were."

No one has been able to find the Yakimchuks since 1973.

Ron Yakimchuk's sister, Marlene Ball, told the Edmonton Journal on July 21 that she does not believe the bodies found here are the Yakimchuks.


"Having seen the pictures, there's no flipping way," she said. "It's just not them."

Gurney said the case of the couple found in Sumter County came to his agency's attention in about the past year or so.

"The Sumter County file has been floating around with information on the Net for some time," he said. "Then it was one of those things where sometimes it takes a while to collect DNA. It's something that in the '70s, people didn't think about it."

Verna Moore worked the scene as a deputy coroner. The case vexed her throughout her time as deputy coroner and continued through her time as coroner from 1993 through January of this year. A segment on Unsolved Mysteries in 1995 and a probe by the former Court TV didn't turn up any valid leads. Last year, Moore talked to a Montreal newspaper and Readers Digest French, both of which printed stories about the couple.

The current coroner, Harvin Bullock, said he received the DNA from the Edmonton police, then forwarded it to a laboratory at the University of North Texas. That university has bones from the couple. Jennifer Timmons, a spokeswoman for the State Law Enforcement Division, confirmed that DNA was sent to the university earlier this year to see if there is a match.

"I have not heard anything back," Bullock said. "We'll have to see what the university tells us."

Gurney does not guarantee that the couple found dead in Sumter County is the Yakimchuks. Even if there isn't a DNA match, though, at least a profile will be established that can be used to check other remains that may be found in the future, he said.



"There is nothing to be lost by doing a DNA comparison," Gurney said. "In these cases, there is no such thing as too much information. Our main focus is simply to find them. The criminal investigation isn't something we'd be involved with up here."

Because the case is so cold, finding the couple's killer isn't a priority in Sumter County, either.

In the months before she left the coroner's office, Moore said her focus was to find out who the couple were.

"It doesn't matter any more who killed them," she said in an interview with The Item in August 2008.

Four months after the man and woman were killed, police in Latta arrested a North Carolina man, Lonnie George Henry, for driving under the influence. While searching his vehicle, they found a .357-caliber handgun that they thought was used in the killings. Henry was never charged in the slayings, and anything he might have known about them died with him in 1982.

The woman was about 5 feet 5 inches tall, 105 pounds with brown hair and blue-green eyes. She had two unique moles on the left side of her mouth and long, beautiful eyelashes, Moore said last year. The man was about 6 feet tall, 155 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes. They were both white, with olive-toned skin, reports said. Neither had identification, and no purses or wallets were found.

Moore said last year the man was wearing a gold watch, each had recently showered, and each was wearing nice jewelry.

They are buried in donated plots in the Bethel United Methodist Church cemetery in Oswego under tombstones that read "Male Unknown" and "Female Unknown."

Last edited by Texaskowgirl; 08-25-2009 at 09:49 PM.
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Old 08-25-2009, 09:45 PM
Texaskowgirl
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Default Re: Yakimchuks Missing 1973 compared to "Jacque and Jill" 1976 Sumter Co SC

I've seen the PM pics on them......... I sure don't think "Jill Doe" is Terry Pettit.

Last edited by Texaskowgirl; 08-25-2009 at 09:50 PM.
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Old 08-25-2009, 09:53 PM
Texaskowgirl
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Default Re: Couple Missing 1973 compared to "Jacque and Jill" 1976 Sumter Co SC



EDMONTON Edmonton police have sent DNA from the family of a couple who disappeared 36 years ago to South Carolina to check for a possible match with two people found slain there.


Police are trying to determine whether the remains found off a dirt road in Sumter County, S.C., could be Ron and Terry Yakimchuk, who vanished during a cross-Canada drive to attend a wedding in Montreal in 1973, said Const. Jim Gurney.


The unidentified bodies of the couple found in South Carolina were discovered Aug. 9, 1976, by a truck driver, about 400 metres from an interstate highway. They had each been shot three times with a .357-calibre handgun. Their bodies are buried in a local cemetery.


There has been no explanation offered for how the missing Edmonton couple would have wound up in South Carolina, nor of the years between when they went missing and when these bodies were found.


Their bank accounts were never touched after their disappearance. Their car was never found.


Edmonton police looking into the cold case requested the DNA testing in February.


Ron Yakimchuk's sister, Marlene Ball, said her parents provided a DNA sample to police years ago, in the hope that it would help solve the mystery of what happened to the couple after they sent a postcard from Dryden, Ont., in June 1973.


She said she doesn't believe the young couple found with fatal gunshot wounds in South Carolina are her brother and his wife.


"Having seen the pictures, there's no flipping way," she said. "It's just not them."


Gurney said he can't say if the U.S. victims are the Yakimchuks, but even if they are not, sending the DNA samples to a U.S. crime lab will produce a DNA profile that can be used to check against any other remains found in the future.


"Do I think it's them or not? I would have to say I have no idea. The positive from that is, once we get a DNA profile, then we have that on record. If it's not them, we can use that profile to speed up the process for comparing with other cases."


Gurney said that in Canada, unless there's evidence of a crime, you can't get a missing person's DNA profiled in a crime lab.


"Unless you have a crime, you can't do much with your DNA," he said.

Ball said she was grateful for the effort police were putting into solving the 36-year-old case.


"They're quite dedicated to the case, so that kind of helps," she said.
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