RCMP are marking a sombre anniversary with a commitment to not give up.
It’s been 20 years since Jane Johnson and her daughter Cathryn were found murdered in their Turner Valley home on Sept. 3, 1996.
No one has been arrested and charges have never been laid in the case, but an RCMP officer working on the case said police will not forget it and they won’t give up on bringing the killer to justice.
“We have a couple suspects in mind, but we just don’t have the evidence to put it over the top,” said Staff. Sgt. Doug Wattie with the RCMP major crimes unit.
Jane was 36 and Cathryn was eight years old when they were killed.
Their remains were found by Turner Valley firefighters after they put out a house fire near the Turner Valley Golf Course.
Initially, it was thought the pair died from smoke inhalation. Subsequent investigation revealed they were murdered and the fire was set to cover up evidence.
RCMP have not released the cause of death for evidentiary purposes as part of the investigation.
Police collected physical evidence and interviewed witnesses and several friends and family as part of their investigations. Thousands of hours have been spent on the investigation, interviews have been completed and redone, police have followed up on hundreds of tips. At one point there was a $100,000 reward offered for the arrest and conviction of the murderer. The funds have since been reallocated into a trust for education.
In spite of the extensive investigation, police have not been able to uncover enough evidence to warrant laying charges.
While they have the big picture, investigators need a few critical pieces of information before pressing charges.
Wattie said the key to completing their investigation and being able to lay charges is obtaining information and statements from people police believe may know details about the murder.
“When you’re doing a crime there’s always somebody that’s being told something, even if they might not think it’s significant, it might be significant to us,” he said. “Again, we just ask for anybody that has any kind of information on it at all that they might think, even though it might be something small, it might put the puzzle together.”
Wattie said they are not giving up the investigation, even after 20 years, and they will continue as long as it takes.
“We’ll continue,” he said. “Unsolveds like this, they never go away. We’ll keep working them until they’re solved.”
Anyone with any information in this case can call local law enforcement or Turner Valley RCMP at 403-933-7227. Anonymous tips can be made to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222 TIPS (8477).