Deadmonton, Crime Stories from Canada’s Murder City by Pamela Roth, a former crime reporter for the Edmonton Sun, explores the dark, violent underside of Alberta’s capital city. The collection explores more than 20 homicides. Some have been solved, and some have grown cold, the case files gathering dust, the killers never brought to justice. Five killings in a single week. A pair of bodies found in a bullet-riddled SUV at a remote cemetery. A dying man’s desperate call to police for help. Another family torn apart by the sudden violent death of a loved one. In 2011, Edmonton became the murder capital of Canada when the lives of 48 people came to a sudden end. With no common pattern, single cause or factor to the slayings, it was a year Edmonton police dubbed an anomaly.
But it wasn’t the first time the city of champions had garnished the title nobody wants to claim. Deadmonton is a collection of some of Roth’s most chilling crime stories in recent years.
The victims’ stories have left a permanent imprint on the author, but Roth said some cases were more haunting than others.
Of all the cases she explored, the 1975 murder of Karen Ewanciw left her feeling the most rattled.
Karen was 11 years old when she went missing. She and a friend had snuck down to play in the ravine that bordered their Forest Heights neighbourhood. That afternoon she was pulled into the woods and savagely assaulted, her body abandoned at the bottom of a steep embankment. Her killer was not found. Roth returned to the crime scene with the police officer who investigated the case, and still shudders whenever she drives by the scrubby section of river valley.
She just disappeared,” Roth said in an interview with CBC Radio’s Edmonton AM. “Her friend couldn’t see her anymore, and the next day she was found. Just the sheer brutality of it. Just the sheer violence of some of these acts, it just makes your head spin.
Roth acknowledges that retelling these stories may be difficult for the victims’ families, but she hopes the book won’t cause further pain, but instead act as a “collective memory of lives taken too soon.”
A lot of the families don’t want their stories to be forgotten,” Roth said. “They’re in the headlines 10 or 20 years ago, but then they just kind of fade away. I really wanted to shed a light on some on some of the lesser-known tragedies, and put a human face on some of the true crime in Edmonton.
Pamela Roth is a journalist, explorer, and animal lover with a beaming smile that seldom disappears. For the past ten years, she has spent her days writing articles for the Edmonton Sun as a crime reporter. When she’s not covering murder and mayhem in Alberta’s capital city, she’s searching for the next big adventure.