Tireless victims' advocate who hunted for clues to his own sister's death dies

Cold case investigator, John Allore, died on Thursday morning after being struck by a car in North Carolina. (Submitted by Fréderic Serre  - image credit)
Cold case investigator, John Allore, died on Thursday morning after being struck by a car in North Carolina. (Submitted by Fréderic Serre - image credit)

In November of 1978, Theresa Allore went missing. The following spring, her body was discovered on the bank of the Coaticook River in the Eastern Townships. At first, police called it a probable drug overdose. Later, a coroner ruled she had probably been strangled.

But the case was never solved.

Theresa's younger brother John was 14 when she vanished. He felt the authorities bungled the investigation and started hunting for clues himself, holding out hope he would find out what had happened to his sister.

Theorizing she had died at the hands of a serial killer, Allore ran a blog, a podcast and co-wrote a book looking for answers. Along the way, he lent a helping hand to other investigators trying to crack unsolved murder cases in Quebec.

Even as the years passed, Allore never gave up, but on Thursday morning, while out on a morning bike ride in Durham, North Carolina, he was struck by a car and died at the age of 59.

Submitted by John Allore
Submitted by John Allore

Fighting for the forgotten

Stéphane Luce is a private investigator and the president of Meurtres et Disparitions Irrésolus du Québec, a non-profit organization that raises awareness of unresolved missing persons and murder cases in the province.

"God, he was a great thinker, so I think it's a big loss in analyzing cold cases," said Luce. "He was always seeking the truth."

Allore and Luce would regularly team up, sharing their theories and helping each other with evidence-gathering efforts like collecting DNA.

What worries Luce most about losing Allore, is the loss of a tireless investigator dedicated to finding out what happened, not just to Theresa Allore, but to all the other victims Allore has spent years trying to deliver justice to.

Fréderic Serre produces the show Crime Beat for Global News in Montreal. Tonight's scheduled show is about Allore, a project the pair had worked on since the summer. The project chronicles Allore's journey from a teenager coping with his sister's death to a tireless champion for the forgotten.

But Serre didn't realize the show would turn out to be a tribute to the man.

"I think his legacy is that he gave hope to a lot of families," said Serre, adding that Allore's efforts also held the police accountable for what he — like Allore — considers a botched investigation into Theresa Allore's death.

"The great irony is that over the years, even though he's been very critical of law enforcement, he has worked alongside them in helping solve crimes," said Serre. "He never said 'no' to working alongside them for the greater cause, and that is to help bring closure to families whose loved ones have been murdered."

Serre too feels Allore's death will leave a void for crime victims. "It's a deep hole," he said.

Patricia Pearson dated Allore when they were teens. As a crime journalist, she would later co-write a book with him about his sister's killing and investigation titled Wish You Were Here: A Murdered Girl, a Brother's Quest and the Hunt for a Canadian Serial Killer.

Shaken up by the loss, Pearson praised Allore as a champion for women.

"John was a very loving spirit who wanted to see good in the world but wouldn't flinch away from evil if it meant there'd be no justice for his sister and no safety for young women, including his three daughters," said Pearson.

"He dedicated his life to combating violence against women, and I'm incredibly proud of him for that."

A long-time friend of Allore's, Steve Sullivan, says he is still in a state of shock.

"I think we all owe him a debt of gratitude for the issues that he's raised over that time in addition to having a full-time job," said Sullivan. "I'm really going to miss him."

"John wasn't someone who personally sought the spotlight, but he understood that he had a profile and a voice that he could use to talk about his sister, but also in talking about his sister, raise awareness for other families"

Submitted by John Allore
Submitted by John Allore

Proud father, man of passion

Despite the grimness of his own loss and his efforts to shed light on unsolved cases, Allore is remembered by those who knew the man behind the investigator as a proud father of three daughters.

"I think what I'll remember him for is his fierce love of his daughters. He just always would let the world know how proud he was of his girls," said Sullivan.

"He was smart, tenacious and fearless," said Pearson. "He was also playful and kind. His loss is an incalculable tragedy for so many of us.

Allore was a man of conviction and varied passions. He brought his intensity and drive to everything he did, whether he was trying to crack a cold case or doing a 30-mile morning bike ride.

"He loved to bike," said Serre, explaining that Allore would sometimes need to go for a bike ride to clear his mind and get some perspective. "That was his way of getting away from all the pain and the heaviness of all the work that he does."