News: Second man eyed in ’81 homicide

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Published in the May 26 2010 issue of The Edmonton Sun. News


Second man eyed in ’81 homicide

A second man may have had a hand in the 1981 sex slaying of a city cabbie, say cold case homicide detectives who charged 50-year-old Robert James Fletcher last week with the killing.

Now they are asking anyone with information about the case — and the man they’ve charged — to come forward.

ANOTHER PASSENGER

“We believe there was somebody else in the cab and we don’t know what his involvement was, but we’d like to talk to him about it,” historical homicides Det. Howie Antoniuk said Tuesday.

“It could be somebody he just knew for a week or a couple days, it could have been a drinking buddy that night, that we don’t know.”

Fletcher, 50, was arrested at his apartment at 111 Avenue and 124 Street last Thursday in connection with the slaying of Barrel Cab driver Gerdina Kruidbos on Dec. 3, 1981. He has been charged with first-degree murder, rape, robbery, kidnapping and possession of an offensive weapon.

“We’re asking that members of the public who knew Mr. Fletcher back in 1981, who were close to him or friends with him, if they have any information about Mr. Fletcher’s activities regarding this occurrence … we’re asking them to come forward and speak to us,” said Antoniuk.

On the evening of Dec. 3, 1981, Kruidbos, 33, was working for Barrel Cab when she picked up a fare at the Continental Inn, 16625 Stony Plain Road.

She was found slain in her taxicab near 144 Avenue and 72 Street on Dec. 4, 1981.

She had been sexually assaulted and stabbed multiple times.

Investigators are crediting advances in DNA and forensic technology for leading them to Fletcher’s arrest, years after the original investigators retired from the case.

“The advances in science no doubt help every case. As science improves, we’re continually going back and reviewing cases to see if there’s something else we can do,” Antoniuk said.

“We have a fairly firm grasp on what happened and what the events were surrounding the night, but we’re always trying to firm those up and make the truth come out as clear as possible.”

OFFENCES

The offences Fletcher was charged with — including rape — reflect the law as it existed in 1981.

Fletcher was scheduled to appear in court Tuesday morning, but a lawyer was there on his behalf.

His next court appearance is scheduled for June 16.

Anyone with any information related to the case is urged to call city police or Crime Stoppers.

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