After nearly four decades, Toronto police are laying charges in connection with two cold-case murders.
Back on August 17, 1983, a relative went to check on Susan Tice, 45, at her home on Grace Street and found her body in a room upstairs. Officers say she had been sexually assaulted and stabbed multiple times.
Four months later, a friend went to the home of Erin Gilmour, 22, on Hazelton Avenue to check on her and found her body in a bedroom on December 20 of that year. She had also been sexually assaulted and stabbed numerous times.
The women did not know each other.
In 2000, DNA obtained at the crime scenes linked the cases and police determined the same man was responsible for both homicides.
After appeals for information in 2008 and 2016, police launched a genetic genealogy investigation into the two cases in 2019 with the help of OTHRAM Inc. The homicide team was able to identify a suspect in the murders, who lived in Moosonee.
Police say the suspect lived in Toronto at the time of the murders and moved to northern Ontario after.
Joseph George Sutherland, 61, of Moosonee was arrested Friday with the help of OPP.
He’s charged with two counts of first degree murder.
“As pleased as we are to announce this arrest, it will never bring Erin or Susan back, and on behalf of the Toronto Police Service, I want to again express my condolences to their families,” said Chief James Ramer. “After 39 years of dogged police work, our investigators have made sure this individual will answer for these heinous crimes. The Toronto Police Service will never give up on finding people who commit crimes in our city and who show a flagrant disregard for people’s lives.”
To watch the full news conference from Toronto police, click here.
Photos courtesy of Toronto police