Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Clifford Olson

Spring Break

The police probe of Christine Wellers murder continued when another young Surrey girl disappeared.

Thursday, April 16, 1981 Colleen Marian Daignault

Colleen Daignault, victim
Colleen Daignault,

Colleen Daignault wouldnt talk to just anybody, shy as she was. A shade over 5 feet, the 13-year-old girl, with her lovely long brown hair and fresh face, smiled sweetly in her missing persons photo. She had told her granny that she would be home about 4 oclock in the afternoon, returning from a girlfriends house after spending the night.

Dressed for a fine spring day, she wore a colorful red and white jacket, blue jeans, and white running shoes. Two buses would take her home to Old Yale Road in Surrey, near the Scott Road exit on the Surrey side of the Patullo Bridge that spanned the Fraser River.

Patullo Bridge was a frequent Olson travel route (Jan Bouchard-Kerr)
Patullo Bridge was a frequent Olson
travel route
(Jan Bouchard-Kerr)

Around 1 oclock, while waiting at the bus stop in nearby North Delta, a car pulled up. Clifford Olson called to her from the car window, catching her attention.

Three days later, Colleen was reported missing. The Mounties treated her case as a runaway. With about 300 missing persons reports filed in the Vancouver area every month, Colleen was just another statistic.

It wasnt until September 17th that the skull and skeletal remains of Colleen were found in an isolated Surrey forest, east of 144th Street near 26th Avenue, not far from the American border.

Years later, Colleens sister, Coreen, remembers her as always doing her homework and getting good grades. Just three days before Colleens birthday, Coreen was called to identify her clothes. There was only half a bra, but I recognized the red Adidas T-shirt that she borrowed from me.

Only five days after Colleens disappearance, a 16-year-old boy went missing.

Wednesday, April 22, 1981 Daryn Todd Johnsrude

Daryn Johnsrude, victim
Daryn Johnsrude,

Also on Easter school break 16-year-old, Daryn Johnsrude vanished. He had been in Vancouver for only two days. His mother flew him to the West Coast as a birthday gift. It was a much-anticipated visit to Coquitlam with her and his 9-year-old sister and 12-year-old brother. The easy going, 5-foot-5-inch, 90-pound boy had traveled from Saskatchewan where he lived with his father. He planned to finish his school year, and then come back to live with his mother and find work. Their home was only a half-block away from the Coquitlam housing complex where Olson moved.

Daryn was last seen in a drug store at the bustling Burquitlam Plaza buying a package of cigarettes. As his luck would have it that day, it was also one of the two shopping malls used as a hang out by several children living at Olsons complex.

Burquitlam Plaza (Jan Bouchard-Kerr)
Burquitlam Plaza
(Jan Bouchard-Kerr)

There were many other younger boys and girls in the complex who didnt like Olson very much either, writes Jon Ferry and Damian Inwood in The Olson Murders. Behind his back, they called him `the creepy bogey man or `candy man. The tragedy was that there were so many more that could be taken in by him. With his easy smile and fierce brown eyes, no one would deny he had a certain animal magnetism. When he wasnt cruising around in his car for pickups, Olson hung around with the kids at the Burquitlam or Lougheed Mall shopping centers. He seemed to have a huge emotional and physical need for young children.

On May 2nd, Daryns bludgeoned body was found lying beside a lonely dike at Deroche, a small rural community east of Vancouver, seven miles east of Mission on the north bank of the Fraser River. His body lay crumpled at the bottom of a rocky embankment. The coroner said the boy died from repeated hammer blows to the head.

It was a confusing case. Olson varied both the sex and the age of his victims. This was one of the problems for investigators, given what was known about sex offenders in the 80s. Experts believed that predators targeted victims of one sex and age bracket. Consequently, the Mounties did not link Daryns case to the murdered girls.

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