It was a cold winter evening in British Columbia, Canada, on the 27th of November, 2010. Constable Aaron Kehler was driving along the rural Highway 27 between Vanderhoof and Prince George at around 9:45PM when a pickup truck emerged from a disused logging road and sped past him. As Kehler put his sirens on to stop the car, he assumed it would be a routine stop. Never did he imagine he was about to apprehend a serial killer – one of Canada’s youngest serial killers, in fact.
The driver was 19-year-old Cody Legebokoff. He had been raised by a respectable family in northern British Columbia and spent his childhood hunting and fishing with his grandfather. Other than the occasional bar fight, Legebokoff didn’t seem to get into much trouble; he wasn’t known to police.
It seems as though Legebokoff easily compartmentalised his life. On one hand, he was a baby-faced country boy that loved sports. When he was arrested, nobody who knew him could quite believe it. On the other hand, however, he was harbouring sadistic fantasies.
When Legebokoff was pulled over that evening, Kehler noticed that he had blood smeared over his face and his legs. Inside the car, he discovered a puddle of blood on the floor mat and a bloody pipe wrench. He initially claimed he had killed a deer yet no deer was in the truck. Kehler also discovered a teddy bear backpack that was stuffed into the door pocket. On the backpack was the name “Loren Leslie” – a 15-year-old partially blind girl from Fraser Lake that had been reported missing.
The Nechako Valley Secondary School student had told her mother that she was going for a coffee with a friend but never returned home.
Following the fresh tyre tracks, Leslie’s lifeless but still warm body was discovered in the bush just a short distance off the highway between Fort St. James and Vanderhoof. She had been raped before being brutally bludgeoned with a heavy object and then stabbed once in the neck. Her jaw and nose was broken and she suffered defensive wounds on her hands. In addition, she had swollen and broken fingers on her left hand which appeared to have been “stomped on.” Her pants were pulled down to her ankles.1
When questioned about the body, Legebokoff told police that he had discovered her before panicking and leaving the scene. He said he had taken some of her personal items with him because he had touched them.
However, Legebokoff would be linked to the murder by his DNA. An investigation also uncovered that Legebokoff had been in contact with Leslie via the social media website, Nexopia, where he went by the username “1CountryBoy.” The two had exchanged phone numbers and had been texting one another in the run up to her murder.
Legebokoff was soon linked to three other unsolved murders from 2009 and 2010 when their blood was discovered during a search of his apartment.
35-year-old singer, Jill Stacey Stuchenko, was reported missing on the 22nd of October, 2009. She was a mother of six that dreamed of becoming a famous singer. Her body was discovered partially buried in a gravel pit off Otway Road, Prince George, on the 26th of October, 2009. She had been raped and beaten to death.
35-year-old Cynthia Frances Maas was reported missing by her concerned friends on the 23rd of September, 2010. Her body was found on the 9th of October, 2010, in L.C. Gunn Park in Prince George. She had been raped, bludgeoned and then stabbed. She died of “blunt force trauma to the head and penetrating wounds to the chest.” Like Leslie, her pants had been pulled down her ankles.2
23-year-old Natasha Lynn Montgomery was last seen on the 31st of August, 2010. The mother of two was reported missing on the 23rd of September. While her body was never discovered, her blood was discovered throughout Legebokoff’s apartment as well as on an axe which was also found inside the apartment.
Each murder had been sexually motivated and in each case, the victim had been severely beaten and bludgeoned with a blunt object.
Before Legebokoff was apprehended, investigators had believed that the murders could have been related to the Highway of Tears murders. Between 1969 and 2011, a number of women (mostly aboriginal women) have disappeared and been murdered along the 720 km section of Highway 16 between Prince George and Prince Rupert. “When we were first dealing with the homicides and the disappearance of the ladies, that was at the forefront of our minds,” said Royal Canadian Mounted Police Inspector Brendan Fitzpatrick.3
During his trial Legebokoff said that he was present during each of the murders but claimed that it was somebody else who committed them. He told the jury that a drug dealer and two other people were the real perpetrators and that he was just an innocent bystander despite the fact that the victim’s blood was found throughout his apartment as well as on an axe and knife inside the home.
When pressed to name the alleged real killers, he couldn’t produce a name.4
Legebokoff also claimed that Leslie wasn’t murdered and that she had killed herself. He declared that they had consensual sex and afterwards, she used a pipe wrench and a utility tool to bash herself across the head before stabbing herself in the neck. The pathologist refuted this ludicrous claim by stating that the heavy blows to the head would have rendered her unable to perform the other injuries.
Legebokoff was found guilty of all four murders and was sentenced to life imprisonment. He will not be eligible for parole until 2039.
- Caledonia Courier, 18 June, 2014 – “Pathologist Says Leslie Could Not have Killed Herself”
- Caledonia Courier, 11 June, 2014 – “The Trial of Cody Legebokoff Under Way”
- The Daily Beast, 23 October, 2011 – “A Teen Serial Killer in Canada”
- Waterloo Region Record, 28 August, 2014 – “B.C. Man Blames X, Y and Z For Killings”