With a faery, hand in hand… photo shoot for the #graphicnovel at Salmagundi West!

On March 7, 2013, I was humbled at the generosity of Salmagundi West owner Anna Banner who allowed us to use her store as a back drop for our latest photoshoot!

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I was joined by Jocelyn Louise (who portrays Molly) and stylist Jay Fisher…

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Jay, Jocelyn, Anne

… and my daughter Anna Thorsen who took the main shots (to be shared in the book).

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Anna, Jocelyn

Here are some moments I captured.  The focus for me was to emulate Molly’s restless travels.

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Where dips the rocky highland
Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,
There lies a leafy island
Where flapping herons wake
The drowsy water-rats;
There we’ve hid our faery vats,
Full of berries
And of reddest stolen cherries.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s morefull of weeping than you
can understand.

The Stolen Child, WB Yeats

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MOLLY- A TRUE CRIME ANALYSIS

WEEKLY SERIAL

AT MOLLYGRAPHICNOVEL.COM

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

– The Vancouver Province April 15, 1953

Jocelyn Louise as Molly. Styled by Jay Fisher.

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MOLLY- the graphic novel

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Regarding Molly- importance of working titles and “acting as if…”

As I experiment with marrying text to illustration in my graphic novel, I am working from the end backwards, creating a working title and promotional mockup. Acting as if the book is completed, the project feels organized and allows me to create a skeletal framework on which to flesh out ideas. This framework can then be dismantled, contorted and altered as needed. It is not the final result by any means, but it is a great way to MOVE FORWARD. And I’m moving forward fast!

I have some exciting ideas as to how to present the finished work (format, paper etc) but first I will marry image to page and and image and pages to chapters and I am loving the creative process. Next up is ensuring all the permissions are in place for using primary sources, news articles, photographs and names within the work. And more photoshoots!

COVER TEST

GRABLINE:

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

– The Vancouver Province April 15, 1953

SYNOPSIS:

Who killed the Babes in the Wood? Artist, art therapist and researcher, Katarina Thorsen, makes her case as to the resolution of this historical Vancouver mystery through crime scene reconstruction, forensic taphonomy, historical archives, genealogical records, behavior evidence analysis, circumstantial connections and artistic interpretation. Katarina first immersed herself in the investigation in 2003 when she volunteered as a criminal profiler and researcher with the Babes in the Wood Task Force. She has remained dedicated to the case ever since.

Using a combination of text, primary sources, illustrations and photographs, Katarina now presents her research journey, equivocal findings and creative process to the reader. The goal is to identify the children whose skeletal remains were found in Stanley Park on January 15, 1953. Through rich and insightful imagery, Regarding Molly reveals a portrait of a troubled young woman in post war Vancouver. The reader is encouraged to draw their own conclusion as to the identity of the Babes in the Wood, their mother and killer.

TEST nurturant

Following Katarina’s lead, readers will be inspired to search out their own stories using intensive genealogical research.

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AUTHOR’S BIO:

Artist/ art therapist Katarina Thorsen is passionate about the power of research and collaborative approaches to create solutions. She specializes in providing therapeutic art to at-risk youth and young offenders. Her own art work includes drawing, painting, crafting, journaling and street art and can be found in private international collections and on the streets of North America and Europe. She believes wholeheartedly in the healing power of art and its ability to build connections. Katarina resides in Vancouver, BC.

Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick
Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick
Jocelyn Louise as Molly. Styled by Jay Fisher.

MOLLY- the graphic novel

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Vintage fur coat arrived. Very moving. Photoshoot soon! #graphicnovel #Vancouver

PROJECT FUNDED on KICKSTARTER!

MOLLY- the graphic novel

Today , the furcoat I purchased on ETSY from wolfman1377 Vintage Clothing and Accessories arrived!  As it is very close to the original found at the crime scene, I felt quite shaken thinking about a woman covering her dead children.

Here is a look at opening the box.

The next photoshoot with Jocelyn and Jay is in the works!  It feels quite humbling to experience the story revealing itself.

From photo by wolfman1377

      

Recall my previous post about A WOMAN’S FURCOAT.

… 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.

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
EVIDENCE 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. 

See also:

Photoshoot 1

Photoshoot 2 

A woman’s furcoat 

Vintage furcoat

 

Many have been asking if they can still contribute to the graphic novel project.  That’s wonderful!!!  The rewards will stay the same as on Kickstarter.  Take a look at the rewards on the Kickstarter site.  You can donate via PAYPAL here: DONATE


Vintage fur coat. Eerily perfect.. #graphicnovel #Vancouver

PROJECT FUNDED on KICKSTARTER!

MOLLY- the graphic novel

Today I purchased a vintage furcoat on ETSY from wolfman1377 Vintage Clothing and Accessories for use in the next illustration resource photo shoot.  It sends shivers down my spine as it is very close to the original found at the scene, including bakelite buttons.

From photo by wolfman1377
From photo by wolfman1377

ETSY ITEMSCRUMPTIOUS vintage 40s 3/4 length Bakelite button brown gray ladies rabbit FUR Coat size small

here is a great vintage ladies coat, 40s or early 50s, nice soft rabbit fur, browns and grays, two huge bakelite buttons,heavy shoulders, fully lined in gold tone satin, some fur lose on inside front panel right chest, some loss on inside 1/4 inch at collar, small section of lining could use few stitches, not noticeable when wearing but am asking less due to these issues, heavy and warm, a great vintage find, would look fab with jeans, measurements as follows with garment laying flat

bust 18″
waist 17″
hips 19″
length 38″

Recall my previous post about A WOMAN’S FURCOAT.

… 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.

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
EVIDENCE 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. 

See also:

Photoshoot 1

Photoshoot 2

Many have been asking if they can still contribute to the graphic novelproject.  That’s wonderful!!!  The rewards will stay the same as on Kickstarter.  Take a look at the rewards on the Kickstarter site.  You can donate via PAYPALhere: DONATE

To help fund this graphic novel go to KICKSTARTER!


The murder weapon: a lather’s hatchet. #graphicnovel #Vancouver @Kickstarter @annatfabulous

PROJECT FUNDING HAS LAUNCHED on KICKSTARTER:

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

– The Vancouver Province April 15, 1953

The case itself centres around two unknown children, two young brothers who deserve to be identified.

By its very nature, physical evidence is circumstantial; it provides clues to a particular course of events, but does not do so directly[1]

LATHER’S HATCHET:

The lather’s hatchet was in a deteriorated state when found in 1953.  My father noted that the hatchet might have been broken off or cut at the sharp end.

 

A shingler’s hatchet or lather and shingler axe is a typical tool used when installing Cedar shake roofs.  It may also be called a “roofing axe”.  The axe weighs about 1.5-2 pounds with a short handle to ease the installer’s work on roof.  The flat head is used to hammer the end of the shake into position under the previous shake.  It is also used to hammer the nails through the shake and into the laths, which are horizontal strips of wood 3/4” x 2” place on roof.  Shakes that are too wide are split to narrow width with the axe blade while the worker is on the roof.  There are two different roofers: Lather (aligns and nails wood strips) and Shingler (places and nails shakes to laths, including splitting shakes for fitting).

A shingle is a sawn and tapered slice of wood cut from a pie shaped “bolt” of Western Red Cedar.  A shake is a board split from a bolt by hand or a machine, producing a rough face. The Greater Vancouver area in British Columbia has a history of cedar millwork.  In the 1940’s, there were a variety Shake and Shingle Mills in Mission, Pitt Meadows, Ruskin, and Maple Ridge.  It is important to bear in mind that the buildings found around Stanley Park in the late 1940’s were (and still are) primarily cedar shingle and shake construction. Many cedar shake buildings and roofs are found around the Children’s Miniature Railway, which is in the vicinity of the crime scene.  The Miniature Railway was completed in 1947.  I interviewed two maintenance workers at the Children’s Miniature Railway.  They indicated that it was their current practice is to simply discard broken tools, such as shingler hatchets, directly onto the ground where they are working.  They noted that squatters who reside in Stanley Park sometimes collect these tools.

Video captures from Babes in the Woods Task Force meeting at Vancouver Centennial Police Museum, February 2004
Photo in evidence box of hatchet fitting wound in skull

 She waved as she made her way to the back door and out to the fire escape stairs.  The firewood was stored under a musty tarp on the landing, and the hatchet [he] used to make kindling sat rusty and dull on top.  [She] never noticed the hatchet placed in that way before, not in all the weeks and months she’d been climbing these fire escape steps.  It was a sign, she knew, and though she wondered what exactly she would do with the hatchet if the footsteps followed her again, she snatched the thing up and rested it on her shoulder. – Lori Lansens Rush Home Road [2]

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] From Rudin, R., Inman, K. (2002) An Introduction to Forensic Analysis. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press LLC

[2] Lansens, L. (2002) Rush Home Road, Toronto ON, Canada: Vintage Canada

Two children’s aviator helmets. Cold case evidence. #graphicnovel #Vancouver @Kickstarter @annatfabulous

PROJECT FUNDING HAS LAUNCHED on KICKSTARTER:

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

– The Vancouver Province April 15, 1953

The case itself centres around two unknown children, two young brothers who deserve to be identified.

By its very nature, physical evidence is circumstantial; it provides clues to a particular course of events, but does not do so directly[1]

Research into the clothing worn by the victims confirms that children of this age group wore these types of outfits in the 1940’s.   A good photo regarding the type outfits worn by the two victims is found in The Vancouver Sun in 1941:

In 1941, Vancouver witnessed its first wartime blackout.  Windows were covered with tarpaper, and automobile headlights were taped to reveal only a sliver of light.  Fear of a Japanese air assault gripped the city.  This policeman is enforcing the dusk to dawn curfew imposed on Japantown.”  From Vogel, A., Wyse, D. (1993) Vancouver- a history in photographs, Vancouver, BC, Canada: Altitude Publishing Canada Ltd. [Vancouver Pubic Library Special Collections, VPL 1345]

As mentioned in previous posts, the April 15, 1953 edition of The Vancouver Sun ran an article on the crime entitled ‘Babes in the Woods’ Slain by Mother- Police Reconstruct Deaths of Boy, Girl Found in Park.  As DNA results show the victims were indeed two boys, the “girl” in the article pertains to the larger skeleton and the “boy” pertains to the smaller skeleton:

The [smaller skeleton’s] head was encased in a leather aviator-type helmet and subsequent investigation revealed that his other clothing consisted of a red Fraser Tartan jacket of Canadian manufacture, cream or fawn corduroy trousers and scamper-type shoes with plantation rubber soles.  Identical helmet was found by the right hand of the [larger skeleton] but [his] other clothing was deteriorated almost completely. 

This ad appearing in The Vancouver Sun, November 5, 1947 gives an indication of the prices of new children’s clothing, including aviator helmets:
This photo (video capture from Babes in the Woods Task Force meeting at Vancouver Centennial Police Museum, February 2004)  shows me holding the remnants of one of the helmets:

Pertaining the aviator helmets found at the scene, a popular literary character from the 1930’s to 1960’s was Biggles– a WWII aviator with a distinctive aviator helmet.  The character experienced similar popularity to today’s Harry Potter.  Children collected the books and wore outfits to emulate their hero.

Johns, Capt. W.E. (1947), Comrades in Arms: Stories of Biggles of the R.A.F., ‘Worrals’ of the W.A.A.F. and ‘King’ of the Commandos, London, England: Hodder and Stoughton, Ltd

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] From Rudin, R., Inman, K. (2002) An Introduction to Forensic Analysis. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press LLC

A child’s lunchbox. Heartbreaking case evidence. #graphicnovel #Vancouver @Kickstarter

PROJECT FUNDING HAS LAUNCHED on KICKSTARTER:

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

– The Vancouver Province April 15, 1953

The case itself centres around two unknown children, two young brothers who deserve to be identified.

In a child’s lunch box, a mother’s thoughts. [Japanese Proverb]

“In charge of the case is Det. Don McKay… Police have few clues- the bones, a few fragments of clothing, a tin lunch bucket and a rusty hatchet… Nearby lay a little blue tin lunchbox, the paper lining rotted to a pulpy mass.” [The Vancouver Sun January 16, 1953]

The image below appeared in The Vancouver Sun on April 15, 1953 and the caption underneath read: “child’s lunch bucket was lying beside skeletons when park worker stumbled on them.  It is pale blue with white trim.

The “lunch bucket” or “pail” for children was used in the 1920’s and through to the 50’s.  Most were simple metal oval boxes with two handles.

The one handled  classic “lunch kit” (the “Hoppy” kit), illustrated below, did not appear until 1950.  It is believed that the murders took place in the late 1940’s.

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!

Primary sources. Molly, the #graphicnovel. #Vancouver @Kickstarter campaign

PROJECT FUNDING HAS LAUNCHED on KICKSTARTER:

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

– The Vancouver Province April 15, 1953

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

Primary source is a term used to describe source material that is closest to the person, information, period, or idea being studied. [source]

Researching this case, I have gathered numerous primary sources.  It’s a veritable cornucopia of Vancouver history!  The sources include forensic evidence, news articles 1947-1953, autopsy reports, mental health evaluations, Cause of Death inquiries, registration of deaths, passenger lists, obituaries, eyewitness reports, genetic profile reports, historical photographs…

To help fund this graphic novel go to KICKSTARTER!  The campaign ends September 11, 2011 at 5:17 PM.

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!

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

PROJECT FUNDING HAS LAUNCHED on 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
EVIDENCE:

 

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

A child’s shoe. Heartbreaking case evidence. #graphicnovel #Vancouver @Kickstarter

PROJECT FUNDING HAS LAUNCHED on KICKSTARTER:

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

– The Vancouver Province April 15, 1953

I must address why my daughter and I are championing this project.  There are many reasons besides the simple artistic one of my dream to create a graphic novel.  It is a grandmother-mother-daughter project, and now that my mom, Karin, has passed, my daughter and I need to see this project to fruition to celebrate her memory.  The story belongs to Vancouver, and this is the perfect project to rekindle the discussions around the case.  But most importantly, the case itself centres around two unknown children, two young brothers who deserve to be identified.

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

All the evidence is moving, but it was particularly heartbreaking for me to hold and to sketch the remains of a child’s shoe:

The shoes worn by the children had rubber soles according to the newspaper accounts. This rubber was not used in Canada before 1947, though it was available in Asia. In fact, according to the 1953 investigation the “rubber-soled shoe” worn by [the younger] victim… [had] a leather top and was allegedly manufactured by an Eastern firm in only one year, 1947.  When considering ALL the evidence, the estimated time of death for the two brothers is October, 1947.

The following ad appeared in The Vancouver Sun on September 1, 1949 and shows the crepe sole:

New child’s shoe ordered by police in 1953 was compared to shoe found at scene:

Video capture from Babes in the Woods Task Force meeting at Vancouver Centennial Police Museum, February 2004, as we look at the shoe evidence:

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!

Crime re-creation using small axe and melons #graphicnovel #Vancouver @Kickstarter


PROJECT FUNDING HAS LAUNCHED on 
KICKSTARTER:

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

– The Vancouver Province April 15, 1953

From project backer, Joanna Harks: “I always felt this crime was a part of me… Every morning I look forward to these updates….. I get tears in my eyes and my whole being seems to open up.  I knew this crime had affected me personally, however not like this.  I feel so grateful for sharing in the making of this book as (my little girl in me) seems to be able to express feelings that have been hidden for over 55 years… I am now 59 and this book is personal therapy for me!”

 The Vancouver Province April 15, 1953

[Det. McKay] is convinced the murderer was a woman.  There is the shoe and the coat and the blows, which destroyed the two young lives, were not heavy ones.  Just severe enough to fracture the skulls of both.  Had a man swung the hammer, which fits the declivities in the skulls of both, the bones would have been badly shattered.

At least one of the victims was wearing a leather aviator helmet, which would affect the impact of the hatchet. Gilbert (Investigative Significance of Coup and Contrecoup Head Injuries, 1990) cautions investigators to also consider that a child’s skull can be dramatically different from the fully developed adult skull.  The child’s skull is more elastic, and will accept a blow without fracturing, leaving an indented point of impact instead.

For the purposes of gathering illustration resources, I took two art therapy students out today to re-create the impact a hatchet would have on a child’s skull using leather on melons.  The experiment today was humorous, though this was in no way meant to make light of the actual case itself.  It is only by experimenting, questioning and considering, however strange and gruesome, that we can get closer to the truth in this case.

Experiment 1:

Strong impact (watermelon with faux leather aviator helmet)

 

Experiment 2:

Light impact (cantaloupe with real leather patch)- this most accurately reproduced the wounds seen in the actual skulls.

   

It was interesting to note that, though the melons were damaged significantly on impact, the leather and the faux leather remained intact.

Despite the melons being covered, there was “blood splatter.”

We re-created “the scene” using watermelon remains… My dog, Tobey was a tad confused (and concerned):

From The Province, October 17, 1986

Thank you Miko and Alicia for en eventful fun day!

To read more on this particular research section go to my rough notes in: To Put Flesh on Bone (PDF)


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] Turvey, B. (2002). Criminal Profiling- An Introduction to Behavioral Evidence Analysis.  (2nd Edition) San Diego, California: Academic Press.

Forensic taphonomy, wound patterns, bluntforce trauma #graphicnovel #Vancouver @Kickstarter

PROJECT FUNDING HAS LAUNCHED on KICKSTARTER:

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

– The Vancouver Province April 15, 1953

In 1953, the police focused on the investigation as a deliberate homicide.  As the victims were children, it is highly likely they were killed with pre-meditation and precaution but not defensively. From the information gained from the news accounts, the two brothers appeared to have suffered from blunt force trauma by a shingler’s hatchet to the skulls causing death.

Any victim and the injuries that they suffer (or do not suffer), is an extension of that crime scene. (Turvey, 2002)[1]

My sketch of an evidence photo of the skull and a screen capture from the video recording of sifting through the evidence.

Even though my graphic novel will be a fictional interpretation of real life events, the details are based on meticulous research of primary resources.

The crime has been reconstructed from the evidence at hand.  All that can be said with certainty is that two young brothers died or were killed elsewhere and brought to the park scene, or died or were killed in the park at some point before January 1953.  Whether or not they were killed at the scene cannot be verified.  It is very likely they were killed deliberately, as there are two victims- both unidentified and unclaimed.

Who killed them cannot be verified either but it appears from the evidence at the scene to have at least involved a woman- a woman who may or may not have been a parent or guardian.  The children were found laid out head-to-toe; it appears they were left at the scene with the intention abandonment or disposal.

Primary crime scene, Stanley Park BC

To reconstruct the crime and to get an understanding as to who the victims and the offender(s) may be, the time of death needs to be examined in order to establish a historical context. To put “flesh back on the bones” one starts with the skeletons and then moves backward in time by examining the amount of decomposition.  The field of forensic taphonomy examines the postmortem events of human remains and provides valid data to allow a narrowing or increasing of the time-of-death window…

To read more on this particular research section go to: To Put Flesh on Bone (PDF)


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[1] Turvey, B. (2002). Criminal Profiling- An Introduction to Behavioral Evidence Analysis.  (2nd Edition) San Diego, California: Academic Press.