Ottawa police have information to suggest Jennifer Teague's killing was
most likely a sexually motivated crime, Ottawa police Chief Vince Bevan
"I think there are a number of possible motives in this particular
case, but I think the most obvious is that this was a sexually motivated crime
and we continue to pursue it on that basis," he said after police
released a composite sketch of a "person of interest" they want to
question in connection with the killing.
The chief's comments raise for the first time the possibility that the
Barrhaven teen could have been killed by a sexual predator. Homicide
detectives have compared the sketch to photographs of known sexual offenders
who live in the area and other high-risk offenders, said Chief Bevan.
He said the police theory that it was a sex crime is based on
"information that has been gleaned from the investigation," but he
wouldn't comment specifically on whether Ms. Teague, 18, was sexually
assaulted. He also wouldn't say whether police know Ms. Teague's cause of
death or reveal what forensic evidence was collected from her body.
The chief hinted at the possible motive yesterday after releasing the
sketch of a suspicious man spotted standing near the secluded Moodie Drive
trail, where Ms. Teague's body was eventually found, only hours after she
vanished in the early morning of Sept. 8.
Chief Bevan said a "credible" witness briefly saw the man -- who
police described as a white male, 18 to 30 years old with a tall, thin build
and a young, thin face -- standing off to the side of Moodie Drive near the
parking lot for the Lime Kiln Trail "well after midnight" the
morning she went missing.
Ms. Teague disappeared while walking home along Jockvale Road at about 1
a.m. after meeting friends following a late-shift at a nearby Wendy's
restaurant. An off-duty police officer found her concealed body on Sept. 18
off the walking trail not far from the parking lot where the man in the sketch
"Because of the location and the fact that there was no vehicle around
it drew the driver's attention. He took a particular good look at this
individual," said Chief Bevan, adding police are confident in the
accuracy of the sketch despite the fact the witness was recalling something he
only saw for a few moments several months ago.
"The individual described in the composite was caught fully in the
headlights at very close distance," he said.
However, Chief Bevan did say that police only found the witness three weeks
ago after an unrelated second person called investigators to tell them the man
may have critical information that could help the case. The sketch, drawn by
an Ottawa police identification officer, wasn't completed until March 20.
Friends who have seen the drawing told the Citizen they didn't recognize
the man in the sketch.
Chief Bevan couldn't explain why the witness didn't call police himself
given the intense media coverage of both the disappearance and the discovery
of her body, except to say that the witness "did not think that the
observation from that evening was significant."
"I think we all wish that this person would have come forward at that
time," said Chief Bevan, who admitted he had "no idea" why the
witness was on the road himself at that time of the morning. "You take
your witnesses as they come."
Chief Bevan was joined at the press conference by Ms. Teague's parents, Ed
and Jean, who issued an emotional plea, imploring the man pictured in the
sketch to come forward to police before "someone else provides your name
Frequently stopping mid-sentence to collect his thoughts, regain his
composure or wipe a runny nose, Mr. Teague lamented the loss of a "loving
and carefree daughter and sister" who was violently taken away.
"What happened that night or why it happened we will never know until
the person or persons responsible are brought to justice," he said.
"Out there within the sound of my voice there are parents, or a friend,
or classmate, or a co-worker, or girlfriend who will recognize the picture
that will be in the media."
Ms. Teague's mother thanked the public and police and begged for anyone
with information that could help solve her daughter's slaying to call
"I'm the mother of slain Barrhaven teen Jennifer Teague. That's the
way my life is defined these days," Mrs. Teague said, her arms crossed
firmly in front of her stomach as she read from her prepared statement.
"Not Jen's mom, not her soccer coach, not her shop 'til you drop
buddy, not the someday grandmother to the two kids she wanted to have,"
she said, trying to fight back tears. "All that changed in
Neither Mr. nor Mrs. Teague answered journalists' questions.
Also yesterday, Ms. Teague's employer Wendy's offered a $50,000 reward
leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for
Chief Bevan said he will ask the Ottawa Police Services Board to match the
amount to bring the total reward to $100,000 for information.
"Jennifer Teague was a valued member of the Wendy's family and her
tragic death has had a pronounced effect on her co-workers as well as the
Wendy's franchisees in the country," Wendy's Canada spokesman Don Gallant
said in a brief statement.
Mr. Gallant then refused to answer questions, including his position with
the corporation. In fact, as he left the press conference, he was shielded
from reporters by plainclothes police officers, who later escorted him to
another part of the building.
Chief Bevan again urged the public to help with the case, pointing to the
new witness as an example of how something one person may perceive as
unimportant can help solve a case.
"At this point we need to reinforce with the public at large how
important it is to come forward because if you did see something that evening,
even if you've discounted it in your own mind, the information may be critical
to providing a break in the case," he said.
In particular, police are looking to talk to anyone who was in the area of
Moodie Drive between Fallowfield and Hunt Club roads on Sept. 8 between
midnight and 6 a.m. They also want to talk to a few customers who visited a
Mac's convenience store the night Ms. Teague disappeared, said Chief Bevan.
To date, police have investigated 800 of the 1,170 tips provided from the
public and have 1,706 names, including witnesses, tipsters and persons of
interest, indexed in their case database.
Chief Bevan added it was not the investigators' plan to release the sketch
of the man publicly, but news of its existence leaked to the media forcing
Anyone with information is asked to call police at 236-1222, ext. 5477, or
© The Ottawa Citizen 2006