Calgary, Alberta - Jean MacLean was described as a socially outgoing free-spirit who liked to hang out late at the local bars. By November, 1976 she had found a stable, well-paying job at the Palliser Square Branch of the Royal Bank and shared an apartment with her boyfriend.
February 25, 1977 was the last time Barbara Jean Maclean was seen after getting into an argument with her boyfriend at the Highlander bar after a night out. Witnesses say the two exchanged heated words and after some time Barbara returned to the bar and continued drinking until closing time. Meanwhile, her boyfriend waited for her in his dark green 1970, Volvo parked just outside.
When the bar closed at 2:30 a.m., Barbara returned to the vehicle where she and her boyfriend continued fighting. The altercation escalated and the couple split. Her boyfriend stormed off in his car, leaving Barbara behind in the parking lot. Witnesses stated that her boyfriend drove off at 2:30 a.m., leaving Barbara alone where she reportedly was planning to hitch hike to a different party but she never got here.
The following morning, a man walking his dog discovered Barbara's fully-clothed, strangled body beside a gravel road near 80th Avenue and 6th Street N.E. in Calgary.
Police traced her movements the night before to the Highlander Hotel tavern, where she and her boyfriend had argued after closing time.
The daughter of a retired physician, MacLean was originally from Nova Scotia and had moved to Calgary, where she worked at the Royal Bank, the Calgary Herald newspaper reported after the murder.
The only suspect was Gary McAstocker who was a known sex offender. He committed suicide after he found out that the police wanted to talk to him about the murder of another girl named Tina McPhee.
McAstocker had just been released from prison after serving his full 11-year sentence for a 1982 rape and a subsequent 1988 sexual assault committed while on parole.
RCMP investigators also suspected her killer might be the same man who killed Melissa Ann Rehorek, 20, who was found Sept. 16, 1976, in a ditch along a gravel road about 20 kilometres west of Calgary near the Trans-Canada Highway. She had been strangled.
McAstocker was also reportedly the prime suspect in the 1976 murder of an Edmonton teenager, Marie Judy Goudreau, 17, who disappeared Aug. 2, 1976 on the way home to her family farm on the edge of Edmonton. Her body was found two days later near Devon, southwest of Edmonton.
McAstocker hanged himself in 1994 in his Edmonton home hours before he was to be questioned by police.