Christine Prince was extra attentive as she set off to watch a movie in downtown Toronto with friends. The 19-year-old Toronto Argonauts cheerleader Jenny Isford had been raped and murdered less than a month before and the killer had not been caught.
“Don’t worry, I’m very careful,” Prince told friends.
The Welsh nanny really did not need to be warned. She was by nature a careful human being.
That was one of the reasons she was so appreciated by the GTA lawyer’s family, who hired her as a resident nanny to help with their three-year-old daughter.
At five feet three and 126 pounds, the 25-year-old prince was not physically impressive, by any means.
She was sympathetic and careful.
The night before Sunday, June 20, 1982, was light rain, and she was carrying an umbrella, which gave her a weapon.
After watching a movie on Yonge and Bloor, she chatted with her friends at a restaurant downtown.
Around 1:30 a.m. Monday morning, she took a tram off Clair Avenue West and stood five blocks from her employer’s Pinewood Avenue home.
What happened next continues to confuse the police.
Maybe a stranger was crying for help when she went home and pretended she needed help.
“We believe the perpetrator or perpetrators were waiting in a vehicle,” it worked. Sgt. Stephen Smith of Toronto police said in a video police made to make the case known. “They may have called her up. When she was a good person, she went to give them directions or whatever.”
Her umbrella was found in the middle of Pinewood Avenue.
“If she had gone willingly with them, she would have taken her umbrella,” Smith said. “So we think she was taken straight from the street.”
At the time, dashboard cameras and CCTV were not ubiquitous, so police have no vehicle or suspect description.
It is very possible that there were two or more people abducting her, Smith said, noting, “It would be very difficult to overpower someone and drive.”
The attacker or attackers drove her across the city through a wooded area near the Metro Toronto Zoo to a popular area with lovers.
The rugged terrain there made investigators wonder if the killer had a four-wheel drive.
For a time, investigators thought they had a promising lead through tire tracks, but it led nowhere.
There were several sightings of her naked, battered body later Monday morning as she lay face down on shallow water in the West Rouge River in Scarborough with full view of motorists on a nearby bridge off Sewells Road.
“Is this the ideal dump?” asked Smith. “I want to say no.”
Police later heard reports of a woman screaming from the area early that morning.
Investigators can not be sure if she was killed near the bridge or in a residence. They also wonder why her attacker drove all the way through town to dump the body in an area where it was quickly and easily found.
After her murder, the killer or killers doubled back across town when her wallet – containing ID and $ 2 – was found by a road worker on Highway 401 west of Morningside Avenue.
“They obviously had knowledge of this area as well as downtown Toronto,” Smith said.
Investigators are wondering if the killer or killers were stupid and lucky when they threw the body and the wallet.
“They did not take care to cover their tracks,” Smith said. “They may have panicked when they found out she was dead.”
Immediately after Prince’s body was found, it was compared to Isford’s murder.
They were both young.
They were both sexually assaulted.
No effort was made to hide any of their bodies.
They were both careful people with plenty to live for.
They were both killed on rainy nights.
Prince and Isford were both about to get off TTC vehicles as police believe they were attacked.
Isford had spent much of the evening on Thursday, May 27, 1982, practicing cheerleader dance routines at the German Canadian Club.
She then shared a drink with more than a dozen Argonauts boosters at Trump’s restaurant before taking a ride to the subway station.
Isford moved from a subway to a Bayview Avenue bus, which almost got her home.
Several hours later, her partially naked body and scattered clothes were found five doors from her parents’ home in North York.
Oddly enough, her shoes were left side by side.
She had been raped and strangled.
Police thought Isford was likely being escorted to her home from the Bayview Avenue bus stop around 1 p.m. 01.30 on 28 May 1982.
Prince and Isford were both considered victims of strangers – the most difficult killings to solve.
“The hardest murder to solve is the blitz-sex attack,” Insp. Wayne Oldham, a former member of Metro’s homicide squad, told Star at the time.
“What makes our work so difficult is that in such a situation between strangers and strangers, there is no evidence that identifies the perpetrator.”
Prince had come to Canada the previous October from little Porthcawl on the coast of South Wales and planned to spend a year in Toronto and then possibly go to university.
“She was a good girl who just wanted to help people,” her father told Star shortly after the murder. “She was really interested in working with disabled children and only took the job in Canada so she could work with children.”
While in Toronto, she met an English chef and they were engaged to be married that October.
Her fiancé fully cooperated with police, which included giving a full statement and a DNA sample, police said.
The unsolved murders brought an increased sense of vulnerability to women across the GTA.
The media reported a boost in self-defense lessons and in lessons with safety tips for women.
Police were searching for known sex offenders, including one in Saskatoon.
The city’s police commission set up a committee to find ways to eliminate violence against women and children on the streets.
When the commission was set up, Police Chief Jack Ackroyd said only one in 10 rapes is ever reported to police.
There was also hope that new laser beam technology could detect fingerprints from the corpses.
Eventually, Prince’s body was flown back to Wales, and a memorial to Prince was held near Pinewood Avenue in Humewood Park, where she had loved spending quiet moments.
A tree was planted there in her honor.
A spokesman for the group that planted the tree told Star that “neighbors often saw her enjoying walks in the area and in the park, and they appreciated her cheerfulness and her warm smile. Neighbors hope the Christine Prince tree will remind everyone , that we live in a safe, welcome place. “
In 1993, a new look was taken at the Prince and Isford murders by police after Paul Bernardo was arrested for the murders of Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French.
Nothing happened either, but William Brett Henson was convicted in 1997. Henson was a store employee who lived with his mother. The court heard he had a lengthy criminal record for sexual assault and burglary. He sexually assaulted three women after murdering Isford.
He was sentenced to life in prison.
Prince’s murder remains unsolved.