A woman’s fur coat. Heartbreaking case evidence. #graphicnovel #Vancouver @Kickstarter


He brushed the leaves aside and uncovered the most baffling double murder Vancouver has ever had.

– The Vancouver Province April 15, 1953

In this post, I continue to share a piece of actual evidence from this cold case.  I will do it daily until our Kickstarter campaign deadline is reached on September 11, 2011 at 5:17 PM.  Please consider donating, even just $1!

See more links and posts about this cold case and the project at GRAPHIC NOVEL.

In the cool twilight of a January afternoon about six years ago, a fur-coated murderer crashed a shingler’s hammer into the heads of two small unsuspecting children, laid their bodies between a rotting log and clump of maple in Stanley Park, and fled…  

Detective Don McKay, head of the investigation team, and senior police officials, believe that either the children’s mother or a guardian struck them down from behind, covered their bloodstained bodies with her fur coat and then threw herself into the waters of nearby Burrard Inlet…

Each covering of leaves, each blanket of pine needles, was carefully removed and from this they determined the year and the season the children were placed there.[1]

Covering the bodies was the celanese lining of a woman’s’ coat and a small portion of the fur collar.  In the hairs of the collar were hemlock needles, which indicated that needles were falling at that time.[2]

Later from the scant clues, city furrier R.J. Pop. Fifteenth and Granville, laboriously reconstructed a duplicate of the coat of such accuracy that the original button, later found at the scene was identical to the one put on the duplicate.

Police say it was worn by a chunkily built woman about 5 foot 3 or 4…

– The Vancouver Province April 15, 1953


BOX 2 item 13: Woman’s fur coat- large bag containing fur coat remnant plus lining

The coat discovered at the scene was reconstructed and featured in an article in The Vancouver Sun on April 20, 1953.  Initially it was described as an “oilskin coat” but it turned out to be a fur coat with its lining facing out.  “[The victims] were covered with a cloth later found to be the lining of a woman’s fur coat of the factory mass production type.”

The article described the coat as a “dark brown Coney (dyed rabbit) with leg-o-mutton shoulders, popular in 1943.”  “The lining of Celanese material (a synthetic fiber first spun in 1921) indicated the coat had been worn two or three years.”

The coat was described as size 16 and 40 inches (101.6 cm) long.   “From the length of the fur coat lining which covered the skeletons, police believe it was worn by a short, stocky woman about five feet three or four inches tall weighing between 125 and 135 pounds.”

Remnants of woman’s fur coat with Celanese lining in evidence box. Video capture from Babes in the Woods Task Force meeting at Vancouver Centennial Police Museum, February 2004.

This ad reflects the coat mentioned in the original news articles and appeared in The Vancouver Sun on October 6, 1943:

“The coat was reconstructed right down to the button by Vancouver furrier R.J. Pop.”   The button is in the evidence boxes (see BOX 2 item 22: One large button- Dark brown with tulip pattern- likely from fur coat).

Button from woman’s fur coat in evidence box. Video capture from Babes in the Woods Task Force meeting at Vancouver Centennial Police Museum, February 2004

A good comparison photo:

Bettie Page, Christmas, Nashville 1944 “I loved that old rabbit fur coat!”

Essex, K., Swanson, J.l. (1996) Bettie Page- the Life of a Pin up Legend, Santa Monica: General Publishing Group

To help fund this graphic novel go to KICKSTARTER!

Note: All backers will receive a mention in the book (if they so wish).  Take a look at the fun rewards available for various donation levels!  In addition, backers who donate $100 and above will receive a signed copy of the book when it is published!

[1] “MacKay was [in 1953] in charge of the sudden death detail.  His report for the day noted that it was ‘not known how much leaf deposit had been scraped off by workmen in clearing land.’ “ From The Sun January 14, 1984

[2] “It is not until late summer that the nearly fully-grown chicks fledge.  The hemlock’s needles begin falling quickly, littering the ground.” The Secret Life of [Hemlock] Snags retrieved October 9, 2006 from http://www.spruceroots.org/April%202003/Snags.html

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Joanna Harks says:

    so much speculation…..this crime has so many possibilities without our modern day technology!

    1. Exactly, Joanna. so much mystery!

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