Theresa Allore had just started a new school year away at college when she died mysteriously in 1978.
Her brother, John Allore, was 14 at the time. He believes she was murdered, and his lifelong search for her killer has led to a chilling Calgary connection, and the possibility that several unsolved Calgary murders were the work of a serial killer.
John Allore and crime writer Patricia Pearson are now revealing the long trail from Theresa's death in Quebec to Luc Gregoire, the man they believe murdered her, and several women in Calgary, in a new book called Wish You Were Here: A Murdered Girl, a Brother's Quest and the Hunt for a Serial Killer.
The book will be launched in Calgary at a virtual book launch Thursday, hosted by Owl's Nest Books.
Allore says he knows this book will stir up painful memories for the families of the women murdered in Calgary, but he also hopes it will start a conversation about the justice system and crimes against women.
"I will say to the other victims in Calgary, there's about six to eight that we profiled, it seems like every five to 10 years, I understand that this gets dug up again in the newspapers, Allore told The Homestretch. "And it causes I know a lot of trauma for families and I'm sorry, but my road, in what I believe, that Luc Gregoire was a serial killer, leads from Quebec back to Calgary."
It started with Theresa Allore.
"She was a student, she had just arrived at college for the fall semester, Champlain College, just outside of Sherbrooke, Quebec, and had only been there for about six or eight weeks and disappeared on November 3rd, '78," Allore said. "And then when the snow melted in the spring of '79, her body was found about a kilometre from her residence."
Though the 19-year-old student from Montreal was found wearing just her underwear, and had no trace of drugs in her system, her death was dismissed by local police as a drug overdose.
For a long time, no one questioned that ruling. But John Allore was uneasy.
In 2001, he reached out to his friend and crime writer Patricia Pearson to help him explore the possibility his sister was murdered.
Pearson had known him for more than 20 years.
"It's been an interesting, lifelong trajectory for me because I became John's girlfriend in 1979, the year after his sister died, and then didn't really understand the seriousness of what had happened," she said. "I was just a teenager."
Pearson went on to become a crime journalist and published several renowned books including When She Was Bad, questioning our simplistic understanding of violent women.
"It was after that, a few years after that, John got in touch with me and said, 'Wait a minute, when we look back, do we really think the police were right, that my sister died of a drug overdose?' And at that point, given the research that I had been doing as a crime journalist, I was like, 'Whoa, wait a minute. No, no, that makes no sense.' And we went from there."
Allore and Pearson have shared the details of their investigation in the new book.
Allore and Pearson were successful in getting the file reopened and investigated as a cold case. Eventually, the trail led to the chilling Calgary connection.
"First we figured out that Theresa had not, in fact, been a drug overdose, that she'd actually been murdered. It was a sexual murder. There were other sexual murders in the area in the Eastern Townships that we felt were connected, Pearson said. "And that led us to a suspect ... who was in prison for a 1993 really, really brutal murder in Calgary of a young woman named Lailanie Silva," she said.
That suspect was Luc Gregoire.
He had abducted Silva from her job as a convenience store clerk in a 7-Eleven on Rundlehorn Drive N.E. in 1993.
Pearson and Allore consulted criminologist Kim Rossmo, a former Vancouver police officer who pioneered a technique called geo-profiling, which maps the local pathways of serial offenders. They also sought help from criminologist Eric Beauregard, an expert in incarcerated violent sexual offenders who had been active in Quebec.
The trail led them to Gregoire, who did time in Edmonton for armed robbery and then worked as a roofer in Calgary.
"We followed the trail back out to Calgary and began to see the connection between what he'd done to Lailanie Silva and to several other unsolved murders in the city in the previous couple of years," Pearson said.
Pearson says they now believe that Gregoire is responsible for at least two unsolved sexual murders of young women in Calgary, those of Tracey Maunder, 26, in 1992 and Rebecca Boutilier, 20, in 1993.
Tracey Maunder, 26, vanished on Oct. 28, 1992. from the 3rd Avenue downtown, an area known for prostitution at the time. Her body was found a few days later in a field off Garden Road, S.E.
Boutilier, 20, went missing in February of 1993 from the same area, and her body was found nearly a month later, on March 11 in a field near McKnight Boulevard and 68th Street N.E.
Gregoire died in 2015 in a Quebec prison, where he was serving time for Silva's murder.
"My feeling is, had he been interrupted, arrested early in his offending career in Quebec, what happened in Calgary might never have happened to those young women. So I feel as much as anybody can feel confident in these things, that he is the killer." Allore said.
The book is about more than the Theresa Allore case — it is about the lack of justice for many cold cases involving women.
"This kind of thing is very scintillating, the hunt for a serial killer and all that," Allore said.
"There's, for me, something more important in the book that we worked very, very hard to point out problems in the criminal and social justice systems that we feel need to at least spark a conversation."
For more information on the book and on the book launch, go to Owl's Nest Books.
With files from The Homestretch.