The Vancouver Sun from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on August 12, 1992 · 18
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The Vancouver Sun from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada · 18

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Issue Date:
Wednesday, August 12, 1992
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Haart ProMama and Ctraaatlofi. 1095 VANCOUVER 2580 Main St. at 10th Ave. 879-7037 Open Sunday 12-3 Cindy James was murdered, private investigators claim Ai S THREE suspects are charged in the execution-style slaying of 26-year-old Alexandra Amber Pesic of Burnaby, two Vancouver private investigators say new evidence supports their view that Richmond nurse Cindy James whose drug-filled corpse was found tied up beside an abandoned Richmond house in June of 1989 was murdered. More than two years after an inquest drew no conclusions in James' mysterious death, detec- tives Wally Christensen and Ozzie Kaban say they're convinced James was murdered. , Both Pesic and James suffered threats, harassment and stalking. But while Pesic's shooting death took place before numerous witnesses on a busy Coquitlam street, James died slowly and alone massive and fatal amounts of flura-zepam and morphine in her system, a puncture wound in one arm, a black stocking wrapped around her throat, her hands and feet bound behind her back. In the seven years preceding her death, the 44-year-old James was the subject of more than 90 harassing and sometimes-violent incidents, including seven major attacks during which she was often found with a black stocking tightly wrapped around her neck, a puncture wound in one arm, an undetermined quantity of drugs in her system, and her clothes torn and partly removed. Determining the source of the attacks was made more difficult by James' evasiveness in answering questions, her tendency to withhold information, her troubled personality, and the lack of strong evidence or fingerprints to suggest an intruder's presence. The incidents that plagued James consumed hundreds of . hours' investigation before and after her death, including a $2 million tab for police, medical and coroners' services. Police and fire departments at one time concluded she'd set fire to her own home; B.C. Tel's tracing equipment determined she'd dialed her own number in a no-talk call. Still other harassing incidents took place in the presence of witnesses or at times when it was t-iViircinolNf irvmrteoihla fnw TomflC if Z ir "ft; : ' found no consensus, nor could the coroners' jury that, after the longest inquest in B.C. history, lasting 40 days, judged the cause of death "undetermined." i : The evidence showed James could have ingested the drugs herself, placed the stocking around her own neck, tied the knots herself and collapsed near the tall grass of that vacant Richmond house. . , The police never investigated her death as a homicide, never ; arrested any suspects, and even before the toxicology report was filed, stated there had been no foul play. : V James disappeared May 25, 1989. Her locked car was found abandoned in the parking lot of a Richmond shopping mall, her purse on the front seat beside four bags of non-perishable groceries. There was a trace of blood on the inside of her car door; her bank card and All new low prices every day! LADIES Infinity high heel.. 3. 99 Flat heels 5.99 Topy soles ..10.00 Heels.........8.99-9.99 Topysole ALSO AVAILABLE: b- Large assortment of shoe care Locks and accessones Key Knife and scissor sharpening On the concourse level at the Skytraln entrance Downtown Vancouver Phone 681-6211, ext: 2529 in mtm The v sJzJy - - Visit your authorized Ferrari dealer today. NICOLE PARTON bank machine deposit slip lay well under the vehicle, as though placed rather than dropped. Her badly decomposed body, hidden by tall grass, was accidentally found two weeks later. Unanswered questions persist. Although she was a nurse, James had no access to the drugs in her system, and there was no record of such drugs missing from Richmond General Hospital, where she worked. Still, she was known to hoard drugs. Environment Canada says that in May 1989, temperatures were above average, and yet a construction worker living in a van not far from James' body smelled nothing and saw nothing. Youthful party-goers who frequented the house saw and reported nothing, despite traversing the site. A group of scrap metal collectors' later found and interviewed by Christensen also saw and smelled nothing, even though Kaban says James' body reeked on examination in the morgue. Environment Canada also reports about an inch of rain (24.1 fell in the Richmond area May 25, 26 and 27 during the period James' JAMES body was missing and was presumed to have been lying at the Richmond site. . Yet Kaban notes James' shoes were new and unmarked by either dust or dew: "The shoes were like they'd been polished totally clean IU1 O and spotless. That shows us the shoes were not there for any length of time." There are other curiosities never brought to the attention of the coroners' jury. Kaban says that in previous attacks, James' slacks and underpants were removed several times. Once, she claimed someone threatened to twist a knife up her vagina; on another occasion, an attacker pushed twigs up her rectum. Kaban says the evidence suggests James' slacks were not on her body at or about the time of death: "The body's evacuation of fluids is very prominent and very well seen on , her pantyhose and her panties, but there isn't a spot of secretion on , her pants from the anus or vagina." On the theory that James may herself have bought the stockings with which she was tied, much was made of the fact that although the police spent hours at a nearby Safeway unsucessfully trying to f.ll.l.l.HTJ',W.JI..l....l-.'l. ? "I.'.WIUI. (I. ,.IJJ! MENS 10.00 products cutting 3a EerrarL Possible Dream BRITISH COLUMBIA VANCOUVER Carter Motor Cars 2390 Burrard Street (604) 736-2821 reconstruct James' unreceipted ' grocery purchases, none of the tallies matched her purchases. Christensen's own investigation led him to the Woodward's food floor at Lansdowne, which at the time of James' disappearance, had used Safeway grocery bags. James' May 25 charge-card grocery receipt he eventually found shows no purchase of black stockings. "None was ever found in her home, in her office, or in her car," he says. "That, to me, was a signature of the person" who repeatedly attacked her. Nor was any container for pills or liquid or injectable drugs ever found near James' body, even though death would have occurred within 30 minutes of the drugs' ingestion, and even though heavily drugged James would have had to wrap the stocking around her throat before tying herself up. "She injects herself, she takes a whole pile of drugs, where the hell are the containers?" asks Kaban. A discarded McDonald's cup near the body showed only traces of coffee: "If she did the hypo thing, where the hell's the hypo?" Kaban further notes James' body was neither chewed by animals or pecked by birds, although a large slab of pork he later placed at the scene (pork flesh being the closest to human flesh he could find) was rapidly consumed and carried away. . Also of note: A male's blue denim jacket (wrongly reported as James' own blue suede jacket) found under the body was not James'; her blue suede jacket was at home, in her closet. Contrary to the police report that says the jacket was neatly folded, Kaban says it was rumpled, as though dropped. Kaban and Christensen suggest James was killed elsewhere and carried to the site in the jacket, her body dumped before dawn, six to eight hours before she was found. "We're not going to give up on it," says Kaban, who has now spent between 300 to 500 hours on the case."I believe we have a good chance of bringing this whole thing to light." Christensen who is also a lawyer, and who, together with his wife Marion, was a longtime friend of James' says he can't let the case go because "I couldn't picture her the way the police had pictured her. I found that totally impossible, but I tried to use what (legal) skills I have in looking at things objectively." Both say they have some a lead on a suspect and a motive they can't yet discuss. Says Kaban: "I believe this case has been so bizarre and has hung around so long, with so many unexplained things about it, that everybody just wanted to get rid of it. That's what we're looking at, right there." (Kaban said he wants to firm up his evidence of murder before going to police). Christensen has written an as-yet unpublished book about the case, Killer on the Loose. Author Ian Mulgrew, in one of the two published books about Cindy James, writes: "Both the Vancouver police department and the RCMP refuse to discuss the case officially. They publicly claim to have ongoing investigations. ' "However, this is a smokescreen. In truth, they are not actively investigating the death of Cindy James. The files remain open because the inquest jury's verdict prevents the police from closing them." At the RCMP's E division headquarters in Vancouver, Sgt. Peter Montague refuses to comment on the case: "If Mr. Kaban has new evidence," he says, "then he should present it to us." 348 ts

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