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Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2008 6:01 pm 
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Thank you Chris~Great to be here! I received a reply from the friends of the Yakimchuks. They seem inclined to believe that the remains in Minnesota stand a good possibility of being their friend, Ron. If you look at the Unidentified, his teeth were crowded and crooked. This is the only true identifier as far as the reconstruction goes. After reading what he has written, I believe that most will conclude that this is Ron Yakimchuk. Our next chore will be to find Terry. I will quote parts of the response I received here:
"What I recalled was this - Ron seldom seemed to open his mouth when he smiled. I remembered that when I noticed this, I speculated that perhaps this was because his teeth were not very evenly arranged in his mouth, and I noticed it. Then I opened the attachments to your email and looked at the reconstructions and I must say, the representation of the teeth based on the recovered skull does remind me of how Ron's teeth looked when he did open his mouth. I hasten to add that a lot of years have passed, and rememberances are often decieving, but still - the resemblance seems to be there, as far as I'm concerned. Ron had a narrow, triangular skull and while to my recollection his jawline was not "weak" or "collapsed", it was small and seemed a bit "cramped". Together with the fact that he was going bald early in life, it contributed to his appearing to be somewhat older than he really was. (I was in my late twenties myself when I met him, and quite aware that many of our friends at Gateway were almost a decade younger than I was, and that Ron seemed more my own age.)"
He also included an email that he had sent to a mutual friend of theirs a year ago in regards to which route that Ron and Terri Yakimchuk may have taken on their trip:
"Going East from the Manitba border, you had to decide just after Kenora if you were going to take the "all-Canada" route to Fort William/Port Francis (or was the other way around?) - anyway, it's now Thunder Bay, then through Nipigon and Marathon to Sault-St,-Marie. Or you could opt for the "USA" southern route around Lake Superior via the USA, going South and entering Minnesota at Rainy River and then working your way East via Duluth and Ironwood, Minn. and Marquette, Michigan, rentering Canada at Sault Ste. Marie, then on to Sudbury. As I remember it, the difference in actual driving distance wasn't much - maybe the US route was 75 miles shorter - but the big advantage of going the US route was cheaper gas (even then), essentially flat terrain, and the relatively more populated areas to drive through, if gas availability, rest stops, or car trouble were a concern.The stretch from the Soo to Sudbury was a bear - lots of hills and very few towns in those days - but you had to do that in either case.

Anyway, Ron and Terri had no wishes to enter "the belly of The Beast" (remember "the belly of The Beast"?) and planned to stay in Canada the whole trip. And since they sent Rod Mickleburg's postcard from Dryden, it looks as if they passed on the "go South at Kenora" option.

But there was a third option. If you had second thoughts about the Canadian route after you left Kenora, you could go South at Dryden. Back then, the road going South from Dryden (actually, I think you had to go West a few miles, then South) was really twisty, and there were hardly any towns or settlements, as I learned on one of my hitch-hiking trips when I took it by mistake, and ended up on the old Hwy 11 route to Thunder Bay, which runs through scenic Atikokan and Kashabowie! But, if you wanted to, you could double back a few miles and get into the US via International Falls that way.
Now, something in the newspaper article you appended to your last email has started me thinking this morning, or maybe speculating is a better term. It's alway's been assumed that Terri's cryptic "Nayh!" was her way of telling Rod, "See, we made it - your're gonna lose $50.00!". However, by the time they hit Dryden, they would have urged that over-loaded VW up a few hills - and the worst of the trip, hill-wise, was still ahead. Ron and I had discussed those long, engine and brake-burning slopes that run perpendicular to the North shore of Lake Superior; I had described to him a near-death experience I had there in my Sprite, involving an oil tanker, on one of my trips a few years earlier. What if Terri was saying "Naw, we're not gonna do this Canadian thing - too hard on the VW"? What if they drove out of Dryden, and went South to International Falls? Crossed the Border - you didn't need a Passport in those days - and continued along the relatively flat, glacier-smoothed South shore of Superior - and ran into some kind of trouble there? (Or, in light of what Winston told you last night, took advantage of their presence in the USA to change their plans utterly?) That would certainly explain the absolute lack of any trace of them on the "Canadian" route; there just wasn't that much traffic in the early 70's, they were driving a vehicle that surely might need some mechanical attention at some point, they were friendly, gregarious people, they had to stop somewhere on that 600-odd mile drive between Dryden and Sault-Ste.-Marie: How come no-one remembers seeing them?Seems to me that if nobody ever poked around on the alternative route theory, someone should. I've never bought the "drove off the road into a lake" story, myself. Could have happened, but not likely - the VW was over-loaded and they were not pushing it, having plenty of time to make the trip. Ron was a careful driver, and with two of them in the car, they would have kept one another awake, or stopped for a rest, if someone got sleepy. Besides, though there are plenty of lakes on the route, and spots where the road runs close to some of them, the odds of this coming together are just too high to convince me. There's another explaination. The truth is out there."
I will keep in touch with these kind people as well as keep you all posted and I have passed this information on to the authorities in MN and the OPP. Hopefully, they will soon confirm whether or not this is Ron. After all these years, his friends are still concerned and are still discussing the mystery.


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Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2008 9:46 pm 
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Answers sought in local pair's 1973 vanishing

Couple disappeared during cross-Canada trip
Darcy Henton, The Edmonton Journal
Published: Monday, November 12 2007
Sometimes when Marlene Bell sees a couple on the street, her heart stops. She thinks it might be her long-lost brother and his wife.

The couple is always in their mid-20s, around the age of Ron Yakimchuk and Terry Pettit when they disappeared off the face of the Earth nearly 35 years ago.

"Every once in a while I see someone walking down the street and I think it could be them, but of course it's not," says Bell. While she remembers her brother as a carefree twentysomething, Ron -- the eldest of six children -- would be 61 this year.

The couple was starting their life together in June 1973 when they crammed their few possessions into a beat-up Volkswagen Beetle, tied a kayak to the roof and set off across Canada.

They planned to attend a wedding in Montreal, then head to the Maritimes, where Ron hoped to land a teaching position and Terry, an Edmonton Journal reporter, intended to seek work as a journalist.

En route, they stopped to visit friends near Brandon. The next day, they stopped in Dryden, Ont., and mailed a one-word postcard to Edmonton.

None of their friends or family have heard from them since.

The couple has never been declared dead. There's never been a memorial service. Their bank accounts have never been touched. Ron's life insurance has never been collected.

For decades, the disappearance has haunted their close-knit group of university friends.

Now, one of those friends is behind a decision by the Ontario Provincial Police to include the couple on its cold case website.

"We were a pretty tight bunch," says Bob Beal, a former Journal reporter who worked with them at the University of Alberta's Gateway student newspaper.

"It really kind of shocked us at the time when we realized what happened. All of us have thought about it a lot over the years."

It was Beal who noticed that the OPP Missing Persons and Unidentified Bodies Unit had launched a website. He contacted an OPP officer, Det.-Const. Scott Johnston, to brief him about the case.

Johnston says he'd never heard of Yakimchuk and Pettit until Beal contacted him, but agreed it would be a good file to post on the OPP website -- even after all of these years.

"I find it to be a very interesting case," Johnston says. "I realize it was 30 years ago, but maybe somebody remembers something."

He doesn't know how well the case is known along the northern shore of Lake Superior where the couple had travelled. But, he theorizes, maybe someone has seen their vehicle -- a 1959 Beetle, red with a green hood, green fender and Alberta licence CA3-262 -- submerged in a lake or rusting in the woods.

"Unless we get the information out, we'll never find out. That's the wonderful thing about the Internet -- you can reach a huge audience."

In 1973, says Bell, the family became concerned after a few weeks without hearing from either of them.

City police and RCMP didn't take the matter seriously for about six months. "They said: 'Here are two able-bodied, sound-minded adults. Why are you thinking they are gone when you know they were going on a trip?' " Bell recalls.

Answers sought in local pair's 1973 vanishing
Couple disappeared during cross-Canada trip
Darcy Henton, The Edmonton Journal
Published: Monday, November 12 2007
For Montrealer Brian Campbell, every June 16 marks his wedding anniversary and another year that his friends have been missing.

"They were on their way to my wedding and they never showed up," Campbell says. "It didn't sink in immediately that they disappeared. It was not unusual for them to go off and camp and say, 'What the hell, we'll show up later.' "

It was the '70s, after all. The pair hadn't set out with firm plans, so no one became alarmed Proud of her Métis heritage, Terry was an "early feminist," a rabble-rouser and a free spirit who drank scotch whisky, rolled her own cigarettes and dragged pals off on adventures. Friends say she often acted on impulse.

Ron, a few years older, was more laid back, and a calming influence. A farm boy from Andrew, Alta., he was described by friends as "down to Earth" and "extremely sensible and mature."

Terry graduated from high school at 16, took a year of engineering, then switched to arts. But she quit school in 1969 and joined The Journal as a proofreader, eventually working her way onto the reporting staff.

A front-page story she wrote in January 1973 documented how some Alberta farmers of Ukrainian heritage were having their hemp and opium crops stolen by suspected drug users. Police reported that the farmers, who crushed the marijuana seeds for salad oil and used the poppy seeds for baking, were shocked to learn that growing the crops was illegal.

'A bubbly kid'

Former Journal editor Bob Bell, a reporter when Terry joined the staff, remembers her as "a very bubbly kid."

"She and another reporter sort of shocked the place by being the first couple of people to go braless in the newsroom," he recalls. "She was sent home one day to go put on a bra."

Terry was fond of using an abbreviated version of the childhood taunt "nyah, nyah."

That word -- "nyah" -- was the only thing scrawled on the postcard she mailed in Dryden, Ont., to an Edmonton pal.

Ron had concerns about the old Volkswagen's reliability; friends believe the card was trumpeting their success in making it halfway through their journey without breaking down.

Friend Eric Hameister, of Nanaimo, B.C., says it pains him that no one began the search in earnest until months after the couple vanished.

"That's the thing I regret the most," Hameister says. "It's not as if we're police or missing persons experts, but we probably should have taken more notice and done more."

Another friend, Winston Gereluk, still holds hope the couple is alive.

"She told me they were going away and nobody would find them for a while," Gereluk remembers.

"When they disappeared and the first reports came out, I said I don't believe they're lost because this is what Terry told me. The fact that no trace of their car was ever found still gives me hope."

There was talk the couple was planning to go to Europe, but police say only Terry had a passport.

Friends did some snooping on their own. They checked to see whether the driver's licences were renewed, or social assistance was being collected or taxes being paid.Adds Hameister: "As time went on, I think we said that if they went underground, boy they did it really well because they just sank without a trace."

Retired Lt.-Col. Sid Stephen, the last known person to have seen the couple, says it's possible that, for all these years, people have been searching in the wrong places.

When Ron and Terry visited at Canadian Forces Base Shilo, Stephen warned them about taking the Volkswagen over the treacherous stretch of Highway 17 along the north shore.

Stephen, another Gateway alumni who is now a teacher in Arizona, advised them to head south into the U.S. and take a less arduous route along the lake's south shore, but recalls they didn't seem too interested.

"They would have to climb some heavy hills in that old Volkswagen, but there was just a reluctance to go to the U.S. in those days. I remember Ron saying they didn't want to go to the United States, but that car was not in good condition."

He suggests that maybe by the time the couple got to Dryden, they decided against staying on the narrow, hilly Trans-Canada Highway and headed south, crossing the U.S. border at International Falls and on to Duluth, Wis.

It's unclear whether police ever checked on that possibility, or if there are records of their entry into the U.S.

Beal wonders whether anyone has looked into records of unidentified bodies being found along the southern shore of the lake. As he points out, if they were victims of foul play, or drowned while kayaking, and their unidentified bodies were not linked with their vehicle, no one would ever know they were Canadian.

To ensure the couple doesn't vanish completely without a trace, her parents have amended their burial plans, adding inscriptions of Ron and Terry's names and birthdates inscribed of the back of their own tombstones.

Terry's parents died without knowing the fate of their daughter and her brother, Gordon Pettit, has given up hope of solving the mystery.

But for the families, every special occasion since the pair disappeared in 1973 has been tinged with sadness.

"It's awful," says Bell. "It just never goes away."

dhenton@thejournal.canwest.com

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Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2008 11:56 pm 
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I'm curious as to what the registration process would have been back then. If a vehicle were registered in Canada and found years later abandoned in the U.S., would there have been a way for Law Enforcement to track it back to it's owner or track it to missing people from Canada. With the initial reaction from Law Enforcement, maybe the vehicle information wasn't logged anywhere at all. Does anyone know what the registration process would have been for vehicles in Canada in the 60s and 70s?


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Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 14, 2008 7:28 am 
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I will ask my parents what the process was like back than,I only know from the 80's on.I will call them today and get straight back to you.


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Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2008 9:24 pm 
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Chris~Any news on the registration process? I received a reply back from the OPP as follows:
Hi Debby,

I apologise for taking so long to get back to you -- Unfortunately, we don't have a definitive answer back on this case comparison yet, and I know you've recently been in touch with Sgt Grydsuk in our office with some additional information.

The information you have provided has, in all cases, been forwarded to the investigating officers with Edmonton Police, and with investigators in the US as well, and we are continuing to pursue the investigation on this case as well.

Thanks very much for your interest in this case; we will certainly make every effort to notify you as we move forward with the investigation.

Thanks again,

Don


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Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 25, 2008 11:20 am 
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So I just talked to my dad about the registration process he said it is basically the same as it is now.You would have all your info listed and on file,serial number on the vehicle etc..Only difference is back than it was all a paper trail as opposed to computers like we use now.So the amount of time your info would be kept on file would be minimal.It is possible if someone did not renew registration within a certain amount of time they got rid of your past information.


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 Post subject: Yakimchuk Update
Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2009 1:39 pm 
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I'm still waiting patiently for replies from the OPP and Edmonton police. The last communication from the OPP was in December stating that they are working with Edmonton police and investigators in the U.S. I recently spoke with the investigating officer in Minnesota who stated he hasn't heard anything on the case from OPP or Edmonton. I forwarded to him all information that I have gathered and all communications. He inquired as to whether or not Ron's parents were still alive or he had any siblings. I gave him what information that I have. He stated dentals and DNA are available from the unidentified and assured me that he would stay in touch. Persistance may pay off with an answer soon. I'll keep you all posted on any further updates.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2009 6:34 pm 
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I just got word from the investigator I've been talking to in Minnesota. Ron's DNA is available and is currently being tested against another set of unidentified remains. Following the rule out on that case, his DNA will be tested against the unidentified remains in Minnesota. I feel confident they will find the remains to be Ron but still have concern over another unidentified male found in Washington. He wore a ring similar to Ron's wedding ring. His remains were mistakenly taken to the Tacoma dump in Washington. This male was believed to have been killed in 1977, so most likely isn't Ron. I'll post anything else that I hear.


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Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 4:11 pm 
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Thank you Debbyjo for keeping us updated,lets hope this case finally gets solved.

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 Post subject: Re: Terry Pettit & Ron Yakimchuk Cold Case Nov/08
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 6:48 am 
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Ron and Terry Yakimchuk

Theories abound in 1973 case of missing couple

Did local pair fall victim to convicted killer, or are they the mystery bodies found in the U. s.?
It has been 36 years since a young city couple, Ron and Terry Yakimchuk, and their battered red 1959 Volkswagen Beetle vanished while en route to a friend's wedding in Montreal, but their disappearance is just as perplexing today.

They sent a postcard from Dryden, Ont., in June 1973 and no one has heard from them since. Their bank accounts were never touched. Their car was never found.

Since the Edmonton Journal wrote about the couple in 2007 and their case was posted on the Alberta missing persons website ( www.albertamissingpersons.ca)and other similar websites in Canada and the United States, amateur sleuths have been trying to solve the mystery. Winnipeg resident Sigrid Thiessen came across the case while surfing the web and got caught up in it. She strongly believes an Ontario man convicted of two killings in the 1970s may have murdered the Yakimchuks.

"My husband and I chatted about what could happen to someone out here in the hinterland," she says from her cabin near the Manitoba-Ontario boundary. "You could get rid of bodies fairly easily. And I think he was in that part of the country at that point in time."

Thiessen and her husband were married the year the Yakimchuks disappeared. At the time, they drove a Volkswagen van along the same roads. "It got me thinking, it could have been us," she says.

Thiessen says she contacted Edmonton police with her theory, but they didn't appear too interested. But she believes the Ontario killer, who travelled back and forth between Ontario and British Columbia in the 1970s, may have had the opportunity to kill the Yakimchuks. The man is currently serving two life sentences for murder.

Thiessen found references on the Internet to another incident in which a former Sudbury, Ont., woman claims she and her husband were approached by a man with a shotgun at a rest stop near Parry Sound, Ont., in the 1970s. The woman claims they were ordered out of their vehicle, but they hit the gas pedal and escaped unscathed. Did the Yakimchuks run into the same character?

"I guess the idea that someone got away with murder really bothers me," Thiessen says. "And that's what I think happened. It must be terrible for their family never having any closure."

Several other theories have been put forward. One man contacted The Journal to say he believes he saw the couple's Volkswagen while driving through northern Ontario with family. He says he was following a red Beetle with a canoe or kayak on top when it turned off the highway down a road to a lake. What makes his story most macabre is he believes his brother may have been involved in the couple's disappearance. But he never witnessed anything.

Others have contacted The Journal to suggest the Yakimchuks may be the unidentified couple found murdered alongside a secluded dirt road in South Carolina in the 1970s. The victims were each shot twice in the back with a large-calibre handgun and then rolled over and shot once more at point-blank range under the chin. They had no possessions--no wallets or identification--and were buried in a local cemetery in graves marked "Male--Unknown" and "Female--Unknown."

Sumter County police estimated the victims were between 18 and

26. Terry, a former Edmonton Journal reporter, was 23 when she disappeared. Ron, former editor of a rogue University of Alberta student newspaper, was 27.

The female South Carolina victim was an estimated five-foot-six and

105 pounds, with brown hair and blue-green eyes. Terry was five-foot-four, 120 pounds with blond hair and blue-green eyes.

The male victim was estimated at six feet tall, 150 pounds with brown eyes and brown hair. Ron was six feet tall, 150 pounds with brown eyes and black hair.

Years after the bodies were found, a Canadian connection was revealed. A man whose wife worked at a nearby campground said he played pool there with a camper he thought was one of the victims. He told the sheriff that the man said he was formerly a teacher from Canada. Ron Yakimchuk was a teacher.

One problem with the theory is the timeline. The Sumter County couple was believed slain on Aug. 9, 1976, more than three years after the Yakimchuks disappeared.

http://www.edmontonjournal.com/news/The ... story.html

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