Victims’ families react after RCMP link serial killer to historical Calgary murders

The murders of four young Calgary women went unsolved for nearly 50 years. Phoenix Phillips reports how Calgary police's cold case unit is credited with closing the investigation.

Four families are reacting after Mounties in Alberta released information about a decades-old murder spree in Calgary that resulted in the death of four young women and girls.

The RCMP revealed Friday that DNA evidence links the deaths to a deceased serial killer and convicted sex offender with an extensive criminal history in Canada and the United States.

Alberta RCMP say Gary Allen Srery, who died in 2011 in Idaho at the age of 68, was identified using advancements in DNA genealogy technology more than 45 years after the murders.

Investigators say Srery is responsible for the 1976-1977 deaths of Melissa Rehorek, age 20, Barbara MacLean, 19, Eva Dvorak, 14, and Patricia McQueen, 14.

Police say the parents of all four victims have since passed away, but siblings and other living relatives have been updated.

READ MORE: Timeline of how police tracked down Calgary serial killer

Eva Dvorak and Patricia McQueen were last seen walking together in downtown Calgary in February 1976, and the pair were found dead under an overpass west of Calgary a day later.

Dvorak family statement

Eva’s family would like to thank the Alberta RCMP Historical Homicide Unit for their time and dedication on solving this cold case. It does help in providing us with some answers to our long unknown questions and giving us some closure.

Eva was loved and cherished by her family and all who knew her. Her bright smile and bubbly personality were contagious and lit up any room. When Eva was around there was no sitting still, always dancing and singing any time of day. She enjoyed spending time with her sisters and cousins while swimming, roller skating and ice skating.

She is truly loved and missed dearly.

McQueen family statement

We would like to thank from the bottom of our hearts the team of individuals who worked so many days and countless hours on solving this cold case … without them we would still not know today what happened to our sister Patsy (Patricia) and her friend Eva. We will be forever grateful and thankful that they never gave up on the girls.

Special thank you to Constable Denis Halvadzija, Constable Lindsay Blair and Sergeant Melanie Riopel on how they handled presenting the details to our families of the events leading up to their deaths. They were extremely professional, caring & compassionate. Thank you aain from the bottom of our hearts.

It has been 48 years since our Sister Patsy (Patricia) was taken from us. As the years went on we thought we would never in our lifetime find out what happened on that dreadful day but never gave up hope that one day we would know the answers and finally have some comfort and closure.

Our sister Patsy was born September 2, 1961 to our loving parents Allistair and Sarah McQueen. Patsy (Patricia) was one of 11 children (6 sisters and 4 brothers). Patsy was suddenly and tragically taken from us on February 15, 1976, at the age 14 years old. Patsy would be 62 years old today.

Patsy was your typical teenager, full of life, adventure and curiosity. She loved her sports, baseball was her favorite. She also loved music and would sing and dance to her hearts content. She also loved to joke around and play pranks on you. She made all of us laugh in one way or the other at ourselves or at each other. She was so strong and independent at fourteen years old. She could not wait till she was old enough to be able to travel and see the world but an evil monster took every hope and dream of hers away.

We always wonder what Patsy’s life would have been like… what career path she would have chosen, would she have gotten married and had children and been blessed with the joy of being a grandma?

In closing, we would like to extend our deepest condolences to the other families who are also involved in this case and hope that you find some sort of comfort and closure after all these years. This evil monster has caused so much pain and suffering for countless families. He took a piece of everyone of us when he took our loved ones. We thank god that he is no longer alive and can never harm anyone else again.

Patsy… We love and miss you and you will forever be in our hearts. Rest in peace now our beautiful Sister.

Rehorek family statement

Melissa Rehorek was last seen by her roommate in September 1976 and her body was found approximately 20 km west of Calgary the next day.

First, we would like to thank the team of investigators who have worked to find the person responsible for these crimes.

Our message is one about Melissa being a fun loving, adventurous and hard-working person. She was an honest positive person who trusted people. She enjoyed travelling to Banff for her love of nature but also to travel for her curiosity about seeing Canada.

Our family appreciates all of your help.

MacLean family statement

Barbara MacLean left a bar with friends in February 1977 and was last seen walking home alone, her body was found several hours later in northeast Calgary.

Today marks a significant moment in the long journey of seeking justice for our daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, and niece, Barbara Jean MacLean-one that began nearly 50 years ago. The pain of losing Barbara so tragically has been a constant presence in our lives, but recent developments have finally brought us answers to questions that we’ve had to live with all these years.

Our family would like to express our deepest condolences to the Rehorek, Dvorak, and McQueen families. We are four families who share a connection of the worst kind-one of pain, grief, and suffering over many years. It is our hope that we all may find a measure of peace in the days ahead. It is thanks to the relentless pursuit of justice by police agencies and the remarkable advances in forensic genetic genealogy that a resolution to these four historic cases has been reached.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the dedicated detectives, forensic scientists, and everyone involved who never gave up on these cases. Their commitment not only honours Barbara Jean MacLean’s memory, but also serves as a beacon of hope for other families still yearning for answers. This breakthrough reaffirms our belief in the power of perseverance and the importance of embracing scientific advancements in law enforcement. In particular, we wish to acknowledge the RCMP K-Division Historical Homicide Unit and the Cold Case Homicide Unit of Calgary Police Service.

We know these officers are working diligently every day on many historic cases like ours. To say thank you seems so inadequate. Our family feels an immeasurable amount of gratitude for their dedication, professionalism, and not least of all, their kindness. It is not an easy or always comfortable field of service. They are true heroes.

As we take this time to reflect on our journey, and remember Barbara, we ask for privacy and respect. We are grateful for the compassionate approach taken by the authorities in involving us in this process and for allowing us the space to contribute this statement.

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