The Alberta RCMP’s historical homicide unit is reviewing the 1976 death of a 17-year-old girl in hopes of solving the 45-year-old cold case.
Aug. 2 will mark 45 years since Marie Judy Goudreau was killed. She had just graduated from high school in 1976 and had been accepted into college in Edmonton for the upcoming fall.
“She has secured a summer job and looked forward to a career in law enforcement,” says her sister, Monique Goudreau, in a video supplied by the RCMP.
“But her dreams and potential were stolen from her.”
While her death was extensively investigated in the mid-1970s and reviewed again in 2005, her killer has never been found.
Just after midnight on Aug. 3, 1976, the Leduc RCMP were called about an abandoned vehicle on Range Road 244, about three miles (five kilometres) south of Township Road 510, which is now Ellerslie Road.
Police found a blue Plymouth Cricket, which had reportedly been parked there since about 11 p.m. the night before. The vehicle was registered to Goudreau’s father.
RCMP said the vehicle was stopped in the southbound lane of the road, the engine was still running, the headlights were on and the driver’s door was open. The driver’s side window was also rolled down about three-quarters of the way.
Inside the vehicle, police found a brown leather purse with money inside, a pair of sandals and a mahogany-coloured leather coat, which was folded neatly in the back seat. All of the items belonged to the teen.
Police said that they did not see any evidence of a criminal act, but then learned that Goudreau had not returned home.
RCMP searched the area by air and ground, including the use of dogs and members on horseback. There was no sign of the teen. At the time, police believed she was lured out of her car either by someone she knew or under the guise that someone needed help.
“We don’t really know what happened. It does appear that she got out of her car, it appears voluntarily — there wasn’t any signs of a struggle right there,” RCMP Staff Sgt. Jason Zazulak said.
“From there, we really don’t know.”
Police looked into Goudreau’s activities earlier that night and learned that around 9:15 p.m., she had dropped off a girlfriend at the Edmonton Industrial Airport. She then went to visit two other friends at their Edmonton apartment.
Goudreau told her friends that she was tired from a day at work at the Woodward Café at Southgate Shopping Centre. She left her friend’s apartment around 10:30 p.m. to drive home to her family farm in Beaumont, Alta., according to RCMP.
Police said while Goudreau was driving down Range Road 244, witnesses reported an idling truck at a nearby intersection. RCMP said the driver of the truck has never been identified.
“If a person knows who the driver of that truck was, we’d certainly be interested to speak with them,” Zazulak said.
Between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Aug. 4, 1976, Goudreau’s body was found on a rural property about 1.7 miles (2.7 kilometres) north of Devon. Her body was in a water-filled ditch near Highway 60, RCMP said.
“Her cause of death was strangulation,” Zazulak said.
Police searched the area extensively and learned that Goudreau’s brown pants and navy blue ankle socks were missing. Those items were never found.
More than 600 leads were investigated, and several more were looked into in the winter of 1977. In the years after Goudreau’s death, several more tips were followed but the case has remained unsolved.
“Our parents have since passed and her murder remains an unsolved cold case,” Monique Goudreau said.
“Marie’s death is a continuing heartache and she is still very much missed by her seven siblings.”
In 2005, homicide investigators reviewed the case as part of an examination into the deaths of women in the Edmonton area whose bodies were found in surrounding rural communities. RCMP said persons of interest were interviewed and some items were re-submitted to the forensic lab, but no new information surfaced.
“There were exhibits that were seized that had the presence of some DNA that’s never been identified. So part of our review process and — once again, that had been done before — is to see if those profiles can be identified.”
The Alberta RCMP historical homicide unit is now in the process of reviewing the case again and hopes anyone with information will come forward. Tips can be submitted to Leduc RCMP at 780-980-7200 or your local police force.
“People may feel that the information that they have really isn’t important,” Zazulak said.
“We gather everything, even from just a person’s simple observations that might have been before the period of time — a vehicle that was driving, loitering in the area, something that they saw afterwards — and they may feel that either the police probably know it and so why would I call it in? Or that it’s not important enough. We are very willing to take anything and everything that people will share.”
Zazulak said the Alberta RCMP currently has about 250 unsolved homicides dating back to the 1960s.
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