Toronto, Ontario - Susan Tice had recently made the move from Calgary to Toronto before she went missing on August 17, 1983.
When her brother hadn't heard from her after reaching the city, he ended up flying to Toronto to check up on her. When he arrived, Susan was nowhere to be found and her mailbox was overflowing with mail. Upon entering the house to look around he wasn't prepared for what he saw in Susan's upstairs bedroom. She was the victim of a grisly stabbing murder. She had been raped and stabbed with a knife numerous times.
Susan Tice was 45 years old and a mother of four children. She worked with disadvantaged children and had obtained a nursing degree from McMaster University and a master's degree in social work from the University of Toronto. She lived alone in her home at 341 Grace Street near Harbord Street. Her body was in the bedroom. Police believed she had been lying there dead for several days, and was likely killed on August 14.
Police collected the DNA from the perp, but couldn't do much with it at the time. Erin Gilmour was the next victim four months later after being discovered in her home in Yorkville a short walk away from Susan Tice's home. She suffered the exact same trauma and injuries that Susan Tice had endured and after the police conducted a DNA test in 2002, they discovered the same person had killed both women.
Erin's father is billionaire David Gilmour. The most famous of his businesses is Fiji Water which he founded in 1996. His other businesses include Barrick Gold and Zinio.
Erin Gilmour was 22 years old and trying to break into the fashion industry in Toronto. She aspired to be a fashion designer. Erin had studied fashion at Ryerson University. She had her own apartment in Toronto's glamourous Yorkville neighbourhood and worked at a high-end clothing boutique, Robin's Knits. She had recently moved into the apartment above the shop, 37B Hazelton Avenue.
On December 20, 1983, Erin was going to attend a Christmas party with her boyfriend Anthony Munk. Anthony is the son of Peter Munk, billionaire and business partner to David Gilmour.
Erin finished work at Robin's Knits at 8:45pm and closed up shop. She went upstairs to her apartment. At 9:20pm, only 35 minutes later, Anthony showed up to Erin's apartment above the shop, looking for her. Erin had been tied to her bed, raped and stabbed several times with a knife including a fatal wound to the heart. All this had happened only minutes before Anthony had arrived. By the time Anthony called the police, Erin was dead.
The two murders had occurred only a ten-minute drive apart from each other. Both women were sexually assaulted and stabbed multiple times. However, the victim profiles were very different and police did not definitively connect the two murders at the time.
Police received a tip that indicated that both Erin and Susan frequented bars and restaurants in the Yorkville area, where they may have met their killer. Police determined that since both were murdered in their own homes, the killer figured out where they both lived and started to follow them or knew the women personally. There was no sign of forced entry at either crime scene, which could indicate a familiarity to the killer. Police have also noted that in Erin's case she may have opened her door without thinking because she was expecting Anthony at around the time she was killed.
Despite the close proximity of the two murders and the similar circumstances in which the victims were found, it would take another 17 years before the two crimes were linked by DNA evidence.
March 15, 2022
⨀ Now, nearly 40 years after the killings took place, and thanks to the detective work in the decades that followed, police say they are closer than ever to catching the man responsible.
"We're on the right track," Det. Sgt. Stephen Smith told CTV News Toronto. "We're very close to being able to narrow it down further where we can get to the point where we can identify the offender."
Leaning on genetic genealogy and family tree websites, Smith, who heads the Toronto Police's Cold Case and Missing Persons division, says he and his team have identified one family unit of interest, which encompasses all male relatives, including first cousins, brothers, fathers and sons.
"We're not talking 3,000, 5,000 people, but we're talking a family unit where there's a number of people still involved," Smith said, adding that he and his team are anxious to see more DNA testing processed before narrowing down their search even further.
'It's someone from a small town in Canada.' Remaining tight-lipped about specifics, Smith said the suspect is a man from a "small town in Canada" and that he was in Toronto at the time of the murders.
He revealed that the killer is part of a "very large" family unit.
A number of those family members were also living or visiting Toronto at the time of the murders.
"We do believe that at least a number of members of the family are still alive and living in small towns throughout Canada," Smith said.
But it's unclear if the killer himself is alive today.
According to Smith, the chances of that are "50/50." Nevertheless, he says he hopes to make an arrest in the next "six to eight months."
Smith did not divulge any details about the family unit he's investigating.
November 4, 2022
⨀ Police narrowed suspect down to 1 of 5 brothers. Joseph George Sutherland is from a family of five brothers. The Fifth Estate has learned that police had already cleared the other four, and the process of elimination led them to Sutherland's door. He was arrested and has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder. Full story via CBC.
The Erin Gilmour and Susan Tice cold case is now getting closer and closer to becoming a closed case.
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