Out of the Cold
Out of the Cold — File No. 4: YRP and Peel Regional Police pair up for Blue Light taskforce
By Stephen Metelsky
We are proactively profiling a cold case in every other issue for our readers to share in order to spark renewed interest and hopefully generate tips and information.
By Stephen Metelsky
It was midnight on Sept. 27, 2013, when a young female exited a transit bus on the South Service road in Mississauga, Ont., near the Port Credit OPP (Ontario Provincial Police) detachment. This did not deter the unknown perpetrator who was lurking nearby, armed with a weapon. The female victim was dragged into a nearby wooded area and violently attacked.
On Nov. 13, 2014, a young girl exited a bus at 12:30 a.m. at Yonge Street and Canyon Hill Drive in Richmond Hill, Ont. She is approached by a masked, armed suspect and then dragged into a wooded area where she is violently assaulted.
“It is a violent sexual assault over a significant period of time,” confirmed Det.-Sgt. Simon James, the unit commander of the York Regional Police (YRP) Special Victims Unit.
The modus operandi and suspect description for both assaults are identical. He is described as 5’10, of medium build and physically fit. The suspect wore a mask during both attacks – concealing his identity.
When DNA linked the unknown suspect to both assaults, a multijurisdictional joint task force was formed between police services in York and Peel regions – dubbed “the Blue Light taskforce.”
York Regional Police are one of the few agencies in Canada with an active Special Victims Unit – Sexual Assault Cold Case section. They have the largest taskforce in Canada dedicated to working unsolved sexual assaults.
York’s Special Victims Unit achieved recent success solving a cold case sexual assault from Canada’s Wonderland in 2000. Two young boys were abducted and assaulted in a washroom at the theme park. The case went unsolved for decades until new forensic technology and investigative techniques cracked the case, resulting in the arrest of the offender, who was identified through DNA.
James confirmed the two unsolved sexual assaults in Peel and York remain the top priority of the joint taskforce.
“There is a good chance there are additional victims out there who have been attacked in the past who are afraid to come forward,” he added, noting there are other attacks similar in nature, but nothing can be linked through DNA.
“This case is constantly being investigated. We are trying to leverage new forensic technologies and advancements to help further the investigation along and advance the case.”
The Blue Light taskforce is currently working with multiple agencies across North America — including the FBI and the OPP — to identify the unknown offender, who is also believed to be of east Asian descent based on the DNA profile.
Investigators are seeking additional information from agencies involving cases with similar methods of operation and that match the two cold case assaults in Peel and York regions.
Police are asking anyone with information to contact the YRPS Special Victim’s Unit at 1-866-8-POLICE x 7071 or anonymously at Crime Stoppers – 1-800-222-TIPS.
Stephen Metelsky, M.A., is a writer, (ret.) police intelligence sergeant and professor at Mohawk College. Find him on LinkedIn, follow him @StephenGm—Jr or email Stephen.Metelsky@mohawkcollege.ca.