Egan: A little boy, pushed into the river at 4, grows into a dangerous offender at 36


OTTAWA — Jeffrey Verdon was the cute little boy rescued from the river, only to grow into the bad angry man no one can save.

So he’s in jail again, declared a dangerous offender on Friday — the system’s way, more or less, of throwing away the key, a criminal well and truly made.

Of all the shocking turns in his life, however, this might be the most unbelievable: Of the 600 or so convicts who have been declared dangerous offenders in Canada, what are the odds one would be the victim of the other, and the two live only blocks apart around Mechanicsville?

Yet this is Verdon’s story.

Professionally, I grew up with him. The horrifying story of being thrown in the river was a sensation shortly after I started at the Citizen about 30 years ago. I interviewed his mother once, in 1983, at their apartment on Albert Street when Jeffrey was six.

It was evening. He sat nearby wearing pyjamas, with images of little baseball players in the fabric. His mother, Monique, was quiet, probably a little suspicious. I do remember, after 10 or so minutes, I was completely out of questions, possibly because the “why” of the story made no sense, or could not be fathomed.

“Monique Verdon and son Jeffrey trying to get life back to normal,” read the headline. This, we can safely say, never happened.

Verdon once called me on the phone from prison. He said he was almost in tears after reading one line in a column about him in 2008, after he had been arrested in a high-speed chase. The line was more or less: Had the boy in the red cowboy hat grown up to become the thing he hated most in the world, a beast who hurts vulnerable people, then just walks away, like Jean Dionne?

Dionne was a neighbour of the Verdons, a pedophile, and a deeply disturbed individual eventually found to be beyond redemption.

On a Sunday afternoon in February 1982, Dionne lured Jeffrey, only four, and Jason, his two-year-old brother, from their home near Parkdale Avenue and the Ottawa River.

He would push them into the frigid water, leaving them to flail away in their snowsuits. Jason would drown; Jeffrey would be pulled out by a passing jogger.

They couldn’t prove murder, and Dionne eventually pleaded guilty to criminal negligence, with a two-year jail term. He went on to do horrible things, like molesting an eight-year-old in a wheelchair. He would be declared a dangerous offender in 2001, at age 38.

Verdon, strangely, is 36, yet another parallel in their stories.

Dionne put the boys in the river when he was only 18. This was an important age for Verdon, too. It was the year he killed somebody.

In a plot so stupid it could only be hatched with the help of booze, Verdon and an accomplice wanted to steal a car battery early one morning near the corner of Albert and Booth streets. Robert Savoie, 63, a well-loved Citizen deliveryman, had the misfortune of arriving in his truck to await his load of newspapers. He was savagely attacked and beaten, then left for dead, but not before the thugs took $55 from his pockets.

Verdon was sentenced to seven years. Thus began a long stretch of adult criminality, often due to his uncontrolled anger.

It was interesting to note that Justice Réginald Lévesque did not make much reference to Verdon’s difficult childhood, or his father’s suicide, his mother’s eventual death in 2004. Instead, he painted a picture of a man who cannot be trusted to live safely in the community.

He tends to resolve even minor conflicts with violence, threats and intimidation. His relationships with women usually end disastrously. And the “system” doesn’t know what to do with him as he can’t, or won’t, make fundamental changes in his life.

“The greatest of concern is his lack of motivation to engage in treatment,” the judge wrote in a 74-page ruling. “It is disclosed by his history of noncompliance with parole and probation conditions. His ongoing failure to successfully engage treatment is overwhelming.”

The ruling makes for depressing reading. Fights with police, bar bouncers. Assaulting girlfriends. Butting out a cigarette on a woman’s arm. Terrifying to tears a female landlord, aged 78. Banging a handyman’s head against a door. Almost 70 misconduct reports from guards and inmates. On and on it goes.

So, no, Jeffrey Verdon did not turn into Jean Dionne, the sexual sadist. But he became his equal in this sense: unfit to live freely among us — an everyday, predictable danger, a little boy vanished, destroyed.



To contact Kelly Egan, please call 613-726-5896, or email


The most dangerous offenders in society are often ignored. Take Marguerite Isobel Lewis of the Children's Aid Society who personally fabricates evidence and "obstructs justice" that results in abuse of children.

There is nothing worse than a criminal masquerading as a lawyer for one of the 48 secretive cult like private corporations of Ontario whose role is to promote hatred against fathers who are victims of female domestic violence.

Another "Dangerous Offender" is Ottawa Police Det. Peter Van der Zander, also fabricates evidence against male victims of domestic violence, which is what you get with the Ottawa Police who claim "90% of victims off domestic violence are women".. It's plain and obvious that the Ottawa Police Charge male victims of domestic violence to get their statistics which are fraudulently used for more funding the largest expense of the Ottawa Police.

Then you have the most dangerous offenders of all, of the likes of Phil Hiltz-Laforge a child protection worker for the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa who fabricates evidence to assist violent female child abusers to remove children from male victims of domestic violence.

For that we can thank the Liberals who for decades have supported the Billion Dollars a year in unlimited funding for the cartel of 48 cult like private corporations who have "The Power of God" (See and abuse that power absolutely.

Society would be better off if the likes of Marguerite Isobel Lewis, Phil Hiltz-Larforge and Detective Peter Van der Zander were locked up indefinitely.