Man, 35, charged with murder in Edmonton woman's disappearance on Christmas Eve

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A 35-year-old man has been charged with second-degree murder in the disappearance of Billie Wynell Johnson, who went missing on Christmas Eve.

The 30-year-old woman was last seen on Dec. 24 near 113th Street and 107th Avenue, and was reported missing four days later.

Two weeks after she vanished, Edmonton police identified a pickup truck and its male driver in connection with her disappearance. Police looked to the public for help in tracking down the suspect and the truck.

Kenneth Courtorielle, 35, was arrested on Tuesday in St. Albert and charged with second-degree murder, Edmonton police said in a news release Wednesday.

Courtorielle and Johnson knew each other, police said.

"Courtorielle has been a person of interest since the beginning of this investigation," said Staff Sgt. Colin Leathem, with the homicide section.

Submitted by Edmonton Police Service
Submitted by Edmonton Police Service

"Following an extensive investigation, homicide section has compiled overwhelming evidence based on forensics, witness interviews and information about Billie herself — including how engaged and connected to others she was, and how very out of character her disappearance was — to conclude that she is, unfortunately, deceased, and that Kenneth Courtorielle is responsible for her death," Leathem said in the release.

Police continue to search for Johnson's body and is asking rural landowners in the areas around Edmonton to check their properties and contact police immediately if they notice anything suspicious.

Johnson had two children, aged four and 11.