A Prince George RCMP officer recounted how he came across the decomposed body of one of accused serial killer Cody Alan Legebokoff's alleged victims during testimony on Monday.
On the night of Oct. 8, 2010, Cpl. Kent MacNeill and a partner were patrolling areas of the city where prostitutes and johns congregated in search of tips that could help them locate two missing women, one of them Cynthia Frances Maas.
They were reminded, MacNeill told the court, that some would take their dates to L.C. Gunn Park and went to the location off Highway 16 East and across from Prince George Regional Correctional Centre in an unmarked sport utility vehicle.
After driving along Guay Road into L.C. Gunn as far as the parking lot, they turned around and drove up an ATV trail off the road and came across a pickup truck driving towards them.
When they activated their blue and white lights, the pickup turned around and head back up the trail until it reached a dead end. The driver got out but was soon apprehended and taken back to the detachment for breaching a curfew under his conditional sentence issued for a break and enter.
While MacNeill's partner remained back at the detachment to deal with the man, he went back to the park and, starting at about midnight, began searching the area with the help of a police dog and handler.
At the start they noticed a very strong rotting smell but dismissed it because there were was some garbage laying on the ground. But after a two-hour process of searching other areas around the park, they returned to the site and drove up a trail into some long grass leading into a wooded area.
There, they got out of their vehicle and followed the smell for about 10 metres before coming across what turned out to be Maas' body shortly after 2 a.m. on Oct. 9, 2010. They quickly determined she was dead, backed out of the scene and called in the serious crimes unit.
MacNeill said the man's odd behaviour, combined with the fact he was not wearing a shirt, prompted him to call in a search dog and handler. However, Crown prosecution is alleging Legebokoff, who was arrested Nov. 27, 2010 near where the body of Loren Donn Leslie was found, killed Maas and that a pickaroon, a tool similar to a pickaxe, with her blood on it was found in his apartment.
In earlier testimony on Monday, an expert in using insects found on dead bodies to estimate when they died, told the court that Maas likely died on Sept. 10, 2010, about a month before she was found.
Forensic entomologist Gail Anderson said she used samples of blowfly larvae collected from Mass' body, and temperature records from Environment Canada for that time to come up with the date, which she stressed was only approximate.
Although blowflies can fly for kilometres and show up at a body within minutes and lay their eggs within five minutes of a death, Anderson said they're incapable of flying if the temperature is below 12 C. According to weather records, daytime high was above that threshold only on Sept. 10 and 11 and from Sept. 15 to 18. The colder it is, the longer it takes for the larvae to mature and become adults, Anderson said.
The Crown is alleging Maas was last seen on the night of Sept. 10, 2010 at a friend's home with a man who has not been identified and, after leaving the home at midnight, she was not seen again until her body was discovered.
MacNeill referred to Jill Stacey Stuchenko as the other missing woman but the court has heard in other testimony that her body was found a year before, partially buried in a gravel pit near Foothills Boulevard and Otway Road. Natasha Lynn Montgomery, whose body has never been found, had not been seen since Sept. 1, 2010, about two weeks after she was released from PGRCC.