A new law has passed in the House of Commons to aid the families of murder victims in which the remains of the victims are not revealed.
Bill C-437 creates consequences for those convicted of an offence “related to the death of a person(s) who refuse to provide information regarding the location of the body or the remains of the victim—consequences at sentencing, in parole eligibility determination, and for conditional release applications.”
The new bill has its roots in the 2010 murder of Lyle and Marie McCann, in which the elderly Albertan couple were senselessly murdered by a man named Travis Vader.
Vader has not revealed the location of the victims’ bodies, thus causing further trauma to the family of the victims. This new bill aims to end such sinister behavior by punishing those who do not reveal the locations of the body/bodies. There are several cases throughout Canada with similar conditions.
Vader will be eligible for parole in 2021.
The McCanns’ son, Bret McCann, had this to say, “…by withholding
where he left their bodies, Vader is able to continuously re-victimize
our family. And without a proper funeral and memorial, our family is
unable to fully grieve and reach a measure of closure.”
There were no requirements for sentencing judges or parole
boards to consider ongoing refusal by offenders to share relevant
information relating to the location of the remains of homicide victims.
This Bill changes that, and seeks to prevent situations in which a killer can continually torment families by not giving them the closure they desperately desire, by ensuring that authorities have the capabilities to get justice for the families.
This tragedy in our nation and the bill it has resulted in is a step in the right direction, as there are families worldwide campaigning for similar law to pass in their home countries.
In the U.K., three mothers campaigned for a change in their laws so that murderers stay in prison until they reveal the hiding places of their victims’ bodies.
Jean taylor, Marie McCourt, and Joan Morson each had their children taken away from them too early in devastating murders, and each of them were sadly unable to bury them, thus denying them the opportunity to give a proper goodbye to their children.
Winnie Johnson, a mother in the U.K., had her 12 year old son taken from her, as he went missing and was discovered to be the victim of the Moors Murders, which were carried out by Ian Brady and Mira Hindley between July 1964 and October 1965, in and around Manchester, England.
Winnie spent 48 years searching for her son’s grave, but passed away before ever being able to find her son’s shallow grave.
Marie McCourt, a supporter of Winnie Johnson’s search, said she was “totally devastated” when she died without finding her son.
“Please don’t let me die like Winnie – not knowing where my daughter is. To lose a loved one to murder is horrendous.
“But to then be denied their funeral – a chance to pay final respects and say final goodbyes, is a torture that never ends.
“My daughter’s case was only the third ever murder trial to take place without a body. Since then there has been a rise in these even families cases – up to six a year.”
Thankfully for her, in July of 2018 the U.K. passed Helens law, stating that killers who refuse to reveal where they hid their victim’s body would face extra punishment.
Representatives pledged to tackle the ‘absolutely disgusting practice’ which increases the agony for grieving loved ones.
“There is something peculiarly disgusting about the sadism involved in an individual murdering somebody and then refusing to reveal the location of the victim’s body,” said one U.K. MP.
Now, with Canada following in the footsteps of the United Kingdom, families will be able to have closure to the tragic endings that came to early to their loved ones.