VANCOUVER EASTSIDE MISSING WOMEN
Vancouver police probe serial killer confession
A convicted murderer has claimed he killed 17 people in Canada and Seattle.
Police in Vancouver and other cities across Canada and the U.S. are dusting off unsolved-homicide files after a man convicted of murder in New Brunswick claimed responsibility for another 16 slayings.
Michael Wayne McGray, 34, who pleaded guilty this week to slitting the throat of Joan Hicks in Moncton, said the other murders occurred in Halifax, Saint John, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver and Seattle.
Vancouver police media liaison Constable Anne Drennan said the city's homicide unit and the provincial unsolved homicide unit started comparing notes several weeks ago with their counterparts in Eastern Canada, where McGray is charged with killing three other people.
Because McGray has supplied few details about the alleged victims, investigators are looking for any similarities between the crimes he claims to have committed and unsolved murders in B.C.
"To date no matches have been found, but obviously we will continue liaising," Drennan said.
McGray, a soft-spoken, chillingly articulate man, said Thursday in a telephone interview from his segregated cell in New Brunswick's Renous penitentiary, that his other victims included several prostitutes and gay men.
He said the urge to kill remains in him like a hunger. "From the moment I wake up, every time I'm around people, all I want to do is lash out. I need to hurt somebody in order to satisfy me, it's like [a] high for me."
Drennan said it is possible Vancouver officers will fly to New Brunswick to interview McGray.
Detective Constable Lori Shenher, the lead investigator on the disappearance of 27 women from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, many of them drug-addicted or sex-trade workers, said her curiosity was piqued after hearing about McGray's confessions.
"That's something we'll look at, certainly," Shenher said.
But in Seattle, the King County sheriff's office said it is unlikely McGray is responsible for the unsolved murders of 49 women, mostly prostitutes or drug addicts, that occurred there between 1982 and 1984, because he would have been so young when the so-called Green River killings were committed.
McGray said he wanted to come forward with the confessions because he needs help and wants to stop what he called a 15-year killing rampage.
"I need help and I'm not going to get it in prison," he said. "I really, really want it to stop. I want to stop hurting people. I don't want to do it anymore and I don't know how to stop it.
McGray's lawyer, Wendell Maxwell, said he told his client not to speak to the media.
"I think he's crazy to be talking to you people but that's his business," Maxwell said.
"He won't listen to me. He wants to talk, he's going to talk. But the question is how much of this is truth, how much of this is fiction? Only the police can determine that if they interview him, I suppose."
McGray, born in Collingwood, Ont., but raised in Yarmouth, N.S., pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the death of Hicks and was sentenced to life.
He is also facing first-degree murder charges for the 1991 slayings of two gay men in Montreal and the 1987 killing of a cab driver in Saint John, N.B. Preliminary hearings on those cases are to be held in May.
McGray, who has drifted from one city to the next since being kicked out of his father's home when he was in his early teens, said he will confess to all of the killings. He will offer police details, names and dates if he is granted three demands.
"If they want to clear them up, we can do it very fast," he said, at times becoming emotional when speaking of the medical help he claims to need.
He said he doesn't want to be charged with any of the other murders, since he is already serving a life sentence and won't be eligible for parole for at least 15 years. (He was sentenced to serve 25 years without parole but theoretically could be freed sooner under the so-called faint hope clause that allows for an earlier review.)
He also wants to receive medical treatment, such as psychological counselling and access to medications that would control his rage, for several "mental problems" he claims to suffer from.
And he doesn't want any of the people who witnessed and participated in the alleged crimes to be charged.
In an hour-long interview, McGray said "someone he cares a lot about" helped in luring victims to him over the last few years.
He claimed that in 1985 he and a friend picked up hitchhiker Elizabeth Gail Tucker, 17, of Dartmouth, N.S., and that he stabbed her repeatedly.
No one has ever been charged in the case and he refused to identify his accomplice.
McGray said he killed a prostitute in Halifax, but he couldn't remember her name or the date it happened.
Asked if he recognized the name of Kimberley McAndrew, a Halifax teenager who disappeared while returning from work in 1989, McGray said the name was familiar, but he wasn't sure if she was one of his victims.
Updated: August 21, 2016