Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Paul Bernardo & Karla Homolka

Green Ribbon Task Force

Now that Paul and Karla were living and murdering in St. Catharines, the police investigation was centered in the Niagara Falls area. Superintendent Vince Bevan was in charge once the body of Leslie Mahaffy was found. After the death of Kristen French, the Ontario government formed the Green Ribbon Task Force. Hotlines and a base of operations were set up just outside St. Catharines. Forensic experts of the American FBI advised the task force.

Later when Kristen French was abducted, a woman remembered seeing a struggle going on in a car at the scene. While she was not familiar with various makes of cars, she thought it was a Camaro. Vince Bevan focused on tracking the ownership of all the Camaros in the region.

Meanwhile, Bernardo's name surfaced once again from one of the many tips that police received. Two policemen called on Paul at his 57 Bayview home. Paul was very gracious and polite during the interview and admitted that he had been a suspect in the Scarborough rapes because of his facial similarities to the composite picture. The police noted that Paul was very clean-cut and good looking, that he was intelligent and cooperative and that his home was very clean and orderly. They also noted that he drove a Nissan, which looked nothing like a Camaro.

Police look for the car
Police look for the car

Nevertheless, the two policemen tried to contact Detective Steve Irwin in Toronto to ask about the results of the inquiry into the Scarborough Rapist. Eight days later, Irwin responded to the message and explained that final testing of Bernardo's blood and saliva samples had not been done. Thus, technically, Bernardo had not been cleared as a suspect. Irwin sent the task force some information, but neglected to send results of the interviews with friends of Paul who had tipped off the police about him, a woman's report that Bernardo was stalking her and the police reports filed by his former girlfriend, Jennifer. Consequently, Bernardo was not pursued as a suspect.

Incredibly enough, in February of 1993, several years after blood samples had been taken from Paul Bernardo, the forensic laboratory in Toronto finally got around to analyzing his blood. The tests proved conclusively that Bernardo had raped the three women victims from whom they had semen samples.

Had the laboratory been speedier, Paul Bernardo would have been in jail instead of raping more women and murdering several school girls!

Despite this irony, Detective Irwin excitedly put Bernardo under surveillance.

What he learned was that Bernardo had just been charged with assault in St. Catharines.

The assault charges had been filed by his wife, Karla.


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