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Due to the graphic nature of this murder case, listener discretion is advised this episode includes dramatizations and discussions of murder and assault that some people may find offensive. We advise extreme caution for children under 13.
Marie, I like that song, go back quiet. The news is on now, it's the top of the hour and time for the 10:00 p.m. news bulletin. Hours ago, the body of Alexander Wuterich was finally found. Hang on, please. What did they say? The missing girl had been murdered, but they declined to go into specifics about, oh, Alex, that can't be true, right?
Wouldn't we have heard about it? Go get mom and dad for her death.
Mr. Chirac was a nurse and competed in the police.
Would have told us before it was all over the news. It can't be true. It isn't right, Marie. Go find mom and dad now. This is unsolved murders, true crime stories, outcaste original. I'm your host, Carter Roy, and I'm your host, Wendy McKenzie. Every Tuesday, we dive into the world of a real unsolved murder and try to solve the case.
You can find episodes of unsolved murders and all other cast originals for free on Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts to stream unsolved murders for free on Spotify. Just open the app and type unsolved murders in the search bar.
This is our final episode on the murder of Alexandrovich Eric. Last week, we covered Alexandra's life as a Canadian beauty queen and her brutal murder at the age of 23. This week, we'll look at how the search for her killer has captivated a community for half a century.
We have all that and more coming up. Stay with us. Alexandra with Cherrix family knew something was wrong as soon as the 23 year old failed to show up for her nursing shift on May 18th, 1962, Alexandra had been working at City Hospital in Saskatoon, Canada, for almost a year. It wasn't like her to be late. It was completely unthinkable that she would just disappear.
Alexander's family went looking for her immediately, but it took police a few days to officially label her a missing person and start a search.
She was finally found 13 days later, buried in a shallow grave on the banks of the South Saskatchewan River. Only a short walk from her apartment.
The Saskatoon police had already scoured that area with police dogs and reportedly came within a few hundred yards of Alexander's grave, but still managed to miss it.
She wasn't found until some children noticed her hand sticking out of the ground near the riverbank.
Her body had already started to decompose the way Cherrix desperately wanted answers, but police did little to gain their faith first. The department failed to find their daughter's body. Then police couldn't even manage to tell the family before they heard about the discovery on the news.
Mom, are you in there? Can I come in? What are you doing on the ground? What? I don't know. He must have fainted here and let me help you.
No, I'm fine right here. Come on, Mom. You can't just lie here on the floor.
Did you hear what the policeman said about her clothes and her face?
And I heard everything you heard. I wish I hadn't.
Who could even do that to my baby? Too little Alexandra.
I don't know. But the police will find out. They have to. Alexander's body was discovered the night of May 31st, 1962, the next day on June 1st, the police completed an autopsy.
Alexander's skull was cracked, her clothes were torn, and she had been raped before she died, she'd been hit in the face, breaking her nose and knocking out at least one of her teeth. There was also some red or brown hair on her clothes, even though Alexandra's hair was dark, almost black.
She was buried in the sand with a heavy concrete block on her chest, likely the same weapon that fractured her skull. But even though the blow to her head was enough to knock her unconscious, it was not what killed her.
The autopsy found sand and dirt in her windpipe, meaning that Alexander was still breathing when her killer buried her in the ground.
In other words, Alexander Wuterich suffocated after being buried alive.
The news of Alexander's death shocked the entire population of Saskatoon. The brutality of the murder shattered the image of a quaint and safe city. The gruesome story even made it to Johnny Cash himself, who met Alexandra on stage just a year before her death. Hey, Johnny, you read this a little busy for the newspaper right now, so it's about that girl in Saskatoon or. Well, your girl in Saskatoon. Oh, you mean Alexandra? Did she win another beauty pageant or she's dead.
What murdered it's all over the front page. She was just at the show. Get me the setlist for tonight's I'll Tell The Band We're Dropping Girl from Saskatoon, but Johnny, the crowd will be expected. I don't care what they're expecting. I don't think I'll ever be able to play that song again.
Cash reportedly stuck to his promise and never performed Girl in Saskatoon Live Again.
With so much attention on Alexander's murder and the way the Saskatoon police had bungled the search for her body. The pressure was mounting to bring Alexander's murderer to justice, but it seemed like the search for her killer was out of the police's league as well.
Murder cases were rare in the Saskatoon Police Department. Detective Inspector Giles Lee told the local newspaper that Alexander's death was saskatoons first violent killing of the 1960s and the first sex related murder in the city's history.
They were already two weeks late to the crime scene in a city. Construction crew had been bulldozing the area four days after Alexander's murder, potentially destroying whatever evidence might have been there.
Police put up a 1000 dollar reward for any information leading to a conviction. And on the weekend of June 2nd, the city hospital where Alexander worked matched that amount, bringing the reward up to 2000 dollars over the next few days. Saskatoons citizens also donated to the fund, bringing the total to 2500 dollars, the equivalent of over 20000 dollars. Today, the Saskatoon police were likely hoping the big reward could lead to a tip they needed help.
The entire one hundred and thirty one man police force were knocking on doors and canvassing Alexandra's neighbourhood, but their efforts turned up nothing.
On June 4th, 1962, though, a cherished family held a funeral for Alexandra. Nearly 200 people showed up to pay their respects, spilling out of the funeral home and onto the street. Police questioned multiple mourners that afternoon about the reasons for being at the funeral, thinking the killer might be among them. But they didn't find any suspects.
Alexandra with Chirac was buried that afternoon in Woodlawn Cemetery, just around the corner from the basement apartment that she once shared with three fellow nurses through a charity.
Family may have laid Alexandra to rest, but it didn't give them closure. There were still too many unanswered questions about her brutal and violent murder.
Her body was buried in a shallow grave at the edge of the river, not far from where she was last seen that night.
Put the paper away and eat something, Mom.
Initial reports say that her body was bloodied and bruised and stripped naked.
Come on, that's enough. Let's just sit here together.
Police called it the most vicious murder in the history. I said, that's enough. Stop reading that.
The WikiLeaks briefly considered hiring a private detective to help look into the case, but private investigators were expensive and it was the police's job to solve the crime after all.
And so, for better or for worse, the family left it in the hands of the Saskatoon Police Department and they weren't completely unsuccessful.
Police made a plea for witnesses to come forward and it actually worked. They were able to track down four people who could offer some insight into the last few hours of Alexandra's life. The first were a pair of teenage boys who said that they saw Alexandra briefly on the riverbank the night she died. The pair wanted to go introduce themselves to her, but they got nervous and left when they came back 30 minutes later. Alexandra was already gone.
The third was a local man who said he drove past Alexandra during her evening walk to the river. But according to him, Alexandra wasn't alone. She was accompanied by a well-dressed man in a brown suit.
The driver said the suit caught his eye because it seemed like a strange choice for such a warm Friday evening. He couldn't see the man's face, but the driver said that Alexandra seemed comfortable as they talked like she knew him.
And what time was it? Do you think? It was probably eight. Eight thirty. And you say he had his back to you? That's right. But I saw her. She laughed at something. He said it didn't feel threatening, but something about it made me uneasy. Right.
I thought that maybe I should turn and drive back around just to make sure everything was OK.
Did you? Well, no, I was already late to get home. Besides, she seemed happy enough, right?
The last witness was a 16 year old boy named Billy Magoffin, who was fishing with his younger brother at the South Saskatchewan River that night. He also saw Alexander sitting alone along the riverbank.
Billy's recollection didn't seem particularly useful to the case, but without any leads or a clear path forward, Saskatoon police decided to take more drastic measures. So they called in a doctor to hypnotize him.
But Alexander's community was increasingly more frustrated with the police's lack of progress, and her friends and family started to think it was intentional. Maybe it was part of a massive police cover up.
Up next, we dive into the rumors and conspiracies that began to spread around Saskatoon. History, politics, true crime, the new Spotify original from Park Cast has it all.
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And now back to our story. In the spring of 1962, the Saskatoon Police Department called in a doctor to hypnotize a 16 year old, Billy Magoffin, they hoped he could remember something helpful about the night of 23 year old Alexander Whicher murder.
Hypnosis had been a police investigation technique since the 1950s. But in Saskatoon in the early 1960s, the concept was almost unheard of.
Still, the police were willing to try anything at this point, and at first the hypnosis actually seemed to work.
Now, as we continue down into a deeper state of relaxation. Bring yourself back to that night on the riverbank.
This isn't working. Listen to the water rushing over the dam.
Feel the tension in the fishing pole as the water takes your line.
Now, look up on the banks. What do you see?
I see the older girl. She's wearing green pants and a matching top.
Everyone knows that it's all over the papers and her shoes.
They are low heels, some kind of like colour weight. That's actually right. Police had never revealed information about Alexandru shoes to the press, the fact that Billy could remember that specific detail made it at least seem possible that the hypnosis was working.
The other fragments he remembered under hypnosis were small and vague, but still intriguing. Billy said that there was another person by the water that night sitting in the shadows not far from Alexandra, but he couldn't recall who they were or what they looked like, whether this mysterious person was the well-dressed man, her killer, or a figment of Billy's imagination.
No one knew these were all just more questions that the police could not answer.
But there was one tiny piece of Billy's story that may have been useful. The boy remembered seeing two cars that night. One was an older car, likely a Ford with a few people in it. The other was a red sports car driven by one person.
This wasn't the first time the police had heard about a red car. One of Alexander's brothers in law had already mentioned it to the police. According to him, a man who drove a red convertible asked Alexander out a few times, but she always turned him down. Maybe he had something to do with her murder. It wasn't much, but it was something.
According to the saskatoons star Phoenix, the police department investigated three of Alexander's acquaintances who all owned cars matching that description, the first to a doctor and the son of a Canadian politician who briefly dated Alexander were quickly crossed off their list. The third was the man who Alexandra's brother in law had already reported to the police.
That man had gone to high school with Alexandra and gave her rides around Saskatoon in his red convertible. Alexander wasn't interested in him romantically, though. The Star Phoenix article also quoted one of Alexander's friends who described him as small and not particularly attractive.
It seemed like police finally had a motive. A lonely man becomes obsessed with Alexandra after she repeatedly rejects his advances until finally he lashes out in an act of terrible violence.
But it wasn't true. Apparently, police never named the man an official suspect, and the investigation wound up right back where it began. And there was one last piece of evidence that might help the investigation in the right direction, Alexandra's diary. But the WikiLeaks wouldn't let police read it. The story of Alexander's rape and murder had already appeared repeatedly in the local newspaper written in such graphic detail that one reader wrote a letter to the editor on June 7th, 1962, declaring that the paper had badly overstepped the bounds of decency by not sharing the diary.
The family was likely trying to preserve what small shred of privacy that Alexandra had left, but they wouldn't keep it to themselves forever.
Marie. That cop is at the door again. I got it. I know what you want and you aren't getting it.
Listen, I want to get to the bottom of this as much as you do if there's something inside that diary that could help this case.
I already told, you know, if you won't do what it takes to find her killer, then you better be ready to carry that one with you for the rest of your life. You want it? Fine. Here it is. But it isn't going to help you anyway.
What is this? None of these entries make any sense.
It turned out that Alexander had written all of the diary entries in her own secret code. It was a complex one too, because your code stumped the Saskatoon Police Department for an entire week before someone was finally able to crack it.
And even after they did, police had trouble deciphering who Alexander was talking about.
She had been so careful with the contents of her diary that she didn't use anyone's real names even when she was writing in code.
Instead, she referred to the men in her life using vague physical descriptions that only she could understand when the police finally returned the book to the Whicher family, Alexander's older sister, Marie, decided to make sure no one would ever read the diary again.
So she burned it for the police. The diary was just one more dead end, and a month after Alexandra's disappearance, it seemed like even the people in charge were starting to give up.
By July, Saskatoon police had interviewed 52 potential suspects, Canada's federal police force. The RCMP had checked on over a hundred more. They had even tracked down the mysterious man in the brown suit and crossed him off the suspect list. But it all led nowhere.
When the coroner's inquest was finally held on July 11th, 1962, it felt like everyone had accepted defeat for two hours. A six man inquest jury listened to investigators, lay out everything they knew about the case. They heard testimonies from eight witnesses, including all three of Alexander's roommates and the doctor who performed the autopsy.
The jurors deliberated for a little over a half an hour before returning with a verdict. They couldn't name a suspect or even decide if there were more than one person involved.
By the end of the year, the trail had gone completely cold. On December 31st, 1962, the police commission decided to end the offer of a reward. They likely assumed that if no one had come forward to claim the money by that point, then no one ever would.
But not everyone could move on that easily. In the absence of any real theories about Alexander's murder, her community grasped at rumours and conspiracies it was an ex-boyfriend, the one with the convertible.
No, it was a group of. I heard the man in the convertible was a politician's son and the police are covering for him. No, no, no. It was a group of boys and they were all politicians, sons. And the police are covering up for all of them. Has the community traded theories?
The story's changed and grew somehow. The rumor that a politician's son might have been responsible led to a theory that the police weren't actually incompetent.
They were covering for him.
Even members of Alexander's family started to believe that one, one of Alexandra's older brothers who continued to hound the Saskatoon Police Department for answers whenever he visited the city, said he was almost run off the road by a mysterious car. During one of his trips, the brother floored the gas and managed to outrun the car. But when he was safe, he started to think about why anyone would have wanted to scare him like that. The only people who knew he was in the area, he said, were his family and the Saskatoon Police Department.
Maybe this was a warning for him to let Alexandra's murder go or else. Coming up, Alexander's friends and family try to do with the police couldn't solve the crime. And now back to our story.
By 1967, the investigation into the murder of 23 year old Alexander with Sherrick had gone on for five years without so much as an arrest.
The case that once had 100 cops in Saskatoon, Canada, working around the clock to solve it had become just another cold file.
But when police in Saskatoon arrested a 23 year old named Gerry Clark for violently assaulting a friend, they thought they may have finally found Alexander's killer. Clark had reportedly attacked a drinking buddy, nearly killing him.
He told police during an interrogation that it wasn't the first time he'd done something like this. Police were immediately suspicious.
At least one officer thought that Clark's comment meant that he had killed someone before they immediately thought of Alexandra Wuterich.
And as it turned out, there was plenty to tie Clark to that case at the time of Alexander's murder. Clark was living with his parents right across an alley from the apartment that Alexander shared with the roommates. But even though Saskatoon police had supposedly canvassed the entire neighborhood after her murder, they apparently never spoke to Clark. And if he had just admitted to killing someone before, he seemed like an ideal suspect.
But Clark swore that he'd only been talking about hurting people before, not killing them. And when police gave him a polygraph test and asked if he was responsible for Alexander with Cherrix death, Clark said no. The polygraph confirmed that he was telling the truth.
But the discussion of Alexander's murder sparked an interest in one. Saskatoon policeman will refer to the officer as Raymond Yankowski for the sake of privacy.
So you're saying that the case has been open for five years? It's still hasn't been solved. Who? The Whicher girl. We did what we could back then. No luck. But this guy, Clark, if he lived behind Alexander at the time she was murdered, we should at least look into pass the lie detector.
He's clean. Let it go. But what if listen, Tchaikovsky. I get it. I was there myself. But trust me, better to just let this one go. Sometimes a case comes along that just doesn't want to be solved.
Sometimes the mystery stays a mystery that one day in 1962 sent Yankowski on a decades long quest to bring Alexandra's killer to justice. But he would have to wait until he worked his way up in the police force before he could take another look at her case file again.
The 1970s came and went without any progress. The Whicher family were forced to go on with their lives, knowing that the person responsible for Alexander's murder was still out there somewhere. In 1984, Alexander Whicher died at the age of 90, leaving behind his wife, Anna, and his surviving children, including Alexandra's older sister, Marie. I'm sorry, Mom. Oh, Alexander survived two World wars, the Great Depression and a plague of grasshoppers on a farm.
He lived a nice, long life, but he wasn't able to live long enough to find out what happened to Alexandra. I hope one of us dies.
Alexander's family held out hope that someone would eventually come forward with information or a new shred of evidence would finally solve the case. As the years went on, it became increasingly more unlikely.
But without any sort of closure, the wound from the horrifying murder couldn't begin to heal. And so in 1992, four of Alexander, with Cherrix nieces, decided to launch their own investigation.
The women were barely old enough to remember their aunt Alexandra, but they all felt the lingering pain of her death. As one niece named Patti, Story later told a reporter, We wanted to do it for ourselves, but also for grandma and grandpa who didn't see their little girl grow up at every family function Alix's brought up. The nieces met in Saskatoon to retrace Alexandra's final steps that night in May 1962, throughout the 90s, they returned to the city every few years to ask around about their aunt's death.
Slowly, the four women put together boxes full of potential leads and theories.
They may have been amateurs, but the nieces were very professional about the investigation. They refused to share their findings with anyone besides the authorities, and according to them, they were making progress.
And Alexandra's nieces weren't the only ones keeping the investigation alive. In the 1990s, Saskatoon police officer Raymond Yankowski was named the new head of the city's murder and crime division, and he still hadn't forgotten about Alexander's murder victim namer case.
No, I'm here to pick up the file on Alexander with Sherrick from 1962. Right. The cold one. I saw the request. Good luck with it. What's that supposed to mean? That's just the first box.
I'll grab the others. There must be hundreds of interviews in here.
Let me know when you're done with it. I'll be here all night.
Me to Alexander's case file was almost 2000 pages long. Dankovsky dove back in, hoping that his fresh perspective might let him see something that the entire department missed back in 1962.
Unfortunately, it all just led to more dead ends.
Dankovsky left the police force in 1998 and retired, but he continued to obsess over Alexandru with Cherrix unsolved murder. Later that year, he filed a complaint to the Saskatchewan attorney general's office about the way the Saskatoon Police Department handled her case.
Around that same time, Dankovsky received a phone call from a writer named Sharon Batalla, who had gone to high school with Alexandra in the 1950s. She wanted to interview him about his investigation and any potential leads.
Sharon Batalla was already a prominent author in Canada. By the time she started looking into Alexander's case, she initially thought that the story of the murder might fit into one of her novels, but eventually decided that Alexander deserved an entire book. Like so many people before her, Batalla started sifting through the facts and rumors surrounding the murder. And in the process of her reporting, Batalla helped uncover the biggest lead in the cases decades long history.
In 2002, Batalla reached out to the Canadian investigative news show The Fifth Estate, about Alexandrovich Eric. Two years later, in January of 2004, the CBC aired a full documentary about Alexander, which Eric and brought the case to the public consciousness again a few months later.
Likely spurred by the increased attention, the Saskatoon police exhumed Alexander Whicher body and searched for DNA evidence that could finally lead them to her killer.
Wait a minute. What is it? Let me run it again. What is it? We found a DNA profile and it isn't hers. The new DNA did not point to a suspect right away, but by September of 2008, it had helped police bring their list of possible suspects down to about a dozen. It eliminated several people, including Billy Magoffin, the young witness who police hypnotized back in 1962. Jerry Clark, the person of interest who lived behind Alexandra and passed the polygraph in 1967, also gave police a DNA sample.
He hoped it would finally clear his name for good.
And Alexandra, with Cherrix nieces, have tried to trim that list down even more as part of their own amateur investigation. They collected more DNA samples from their suspects families for the police to test against the mystery profile. On October 1st, 2008, they put up a giant billboard featuring Alexander's face in Saskatoon, just around the corner from the hospital where there aren't once worked, asking for anyone who may still know the truth to come forward. It hasn't happened yet.
But Alexander, with Cherrix friends and family, continue to try her nieces run a website. Alexander Whicher Econet, dedicated to keeping their aunt's memory alive. They continue digging for clues and keep up an active Facebook group where they exchange information and theories.
On May 18th, 2020, on the fiftieth anniversary of Alexander with Cherrix murder, a Mörner walk to her grave in Saskatoons Woodlawn Cemetery. There, they left fresh flowers and a large sign featuring a photo of Alexandra and her nurse's uniform. The word unsolved was printed in red letters across her chest.
Anyone with information, the sign reads, should get in touch with Alexandra's nieces. After more than half a century, they're still holding out hope for one call that finally breaks the case.
With all that said, I think that it's most likely that Alexandra was murdered by someone she knew. If it wasn't the guy with the red convertible, then a person like him, an ex-boyfriend or a man she had rejected. I understand that.
But police interviewed dozens of Alexander's friends and acquaintances. They didn't find a single suspect unless you believe the theory of a police cover up. Judging by the publicity Alexander got from her pageant wins, I think her murderer was a stranger who became obsessed with her from afar.
In any case, the aftermath of Alexander with Cherrix murder shows how far trauma can ripple across a community. She may have died over a half a century ago, but the unresolved pain still leaves people grasping for any answers they can find. Looking back, there doesn't seem to be any evidence of police conspiracy. But perhaps the idea of a corrupt police force feels somehow more comforting than the truth that they simply had no idea who killed Alexandra at all.
Thanks again for tuning into unsolved murders. We'll be back next Tuesday with a new episode. For more information on Alexandrovich Eric, amongst the many sources we used, we found the girl in Saskatoon Meditation on Friendship, Memory and Murder by Sharon Batalla. Extremely helpful to our research.
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Unsolved Murders True Crime Stories was created by Max Cutler and as a podcast studio's original executive producers include Max and Ron Cutler, Sound Design by Michael Langsner with production assistance by Ron Shapiro, Carly Madden and Isabel Away. This episode of Unsolved Murders was written by River Donna Hay with writing assistance by Abigail Kane. And the amazing cast of Voice Actors includes Tom Bower, Tiana Camacho, Harris, Marcosson Kimlin, Tranh Dan Velasquez and Jan Wong. It stars Wendy McKenzie and Carter Roy.
It's the most powerful position in American politics and arguably the world, but behind the oath to preserve, protect and defend, lie, dark secrets supposed to leave some legacies in disgrace.
Don't forget to check out the new Spotify original from past very presidential with Ashley Flowers every Tuesday through the 2020 election. Host Ashley Flowers shines a light on the darker side of the American presidency, exposing wildly true stories about history's most high profile leaders.
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