Cover image for The Forest City killer : a serial murderer, a cold-case sleuth, and a search for justice
The Forest City killer : a serial murderer, a cold-case sleuth, and a search for justice
Physical Description:
xi, 348 pages : illustrations, maps ; 22 cm.
Prologue -- The English girl -- The mystery murders -- The Fryer affair -- Where it all began -- What follows -- Epilogue -- Appendix: David Bodemer's first confession.
Dig deep into the unsolved murder of Jackie English and join the hunt for a serial killer Fifty years ago, a serial killer prowled the quiet city of London, Ontario, marking it as his hunting grounds. As young women and boys were abducted, raped, and murdered, residents of the area held their loved ones closer and closer, terrified of the monster - or monsters - stalking the streets. Homicide detective Dennis Alsop began hunting the killer in the 1960s, and he didn't stop searching until his death 40 years later. For decades, detectives, actual and armchair, and the victims' families and friends continued to ask questions: Who was the Forest City Killer? Was there more than one person, or did a depraved individual commit all of these crimes on his own? Combing through the files Detective Alsop left behind, researcher Vanessa Brown reopens the cases, revealing previously unpublished witness statements, details of evidence, and astonishing revelations. And through her investigation, Vanessa posits the unthinkable: is it possible that the Forest City Killer is still alive and, like the notorious Golden State Killer, a simple DNA test could bring him to justice?


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book 364.1523 BRO 0 1
Book 364.1523 BRO 0 1

On Order



Combing through the files the late Detective Alsop - assigned to the Forest City Killer case - left behind, researcher Vanessa Brown reopens the investigation, revealing previously unpublished witness statements, details of evidence, and astonishing revelations about how this serial killer got away. Through her investigation, Vanessa builds a case around the unthinkable: not only is he serial killer, the Forest City Killer is also still alive... and a simple DNA test could bring him to justice.

Author Notes

Vanessa Brown has lived her entire life in London, Ontario. Her previous books include The Grand Old Lady: A History of Hotel London and London: 150 Cultural Moments , which was honored by the Ontario Heritage Trust. She is married to Canadian poet Jason Dickson, and together they own Brown & Dickson Booksellers.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

In 1969, in the town of London, Ontario, the bludgeoned body of 15-year-old Jackie English was found in Big Otter Creek, and Det. Dennis Alsop spent the next 40 years hunting for her killer until his death. In this moving account, Brown (The Grand Old Lady: A History of Hotel London) gains access to Alsop's files, reexamines the still open case, and interviews the surviving witnesses and suspects. What she finds is that the so-called Forest City Killer may have been active before English's death and continued into the '70s, and can be connected to several suspicious fires that claimed the lives of witnesses and friends of English. Alsop eventually links seven homicides, but was the Forest City Killer one man or two? After five years of research, Brown thinks there may have been two men who were "like-minded murderers": David Bodemer, who confessed and was sentenced to life in prison for the non-capital murder of one of the seven victims, and Glen Fryer, who was acquitted on a charge of attacking a witness to one of the murders. Both men are currently alive. Brown thinks it's possible that through message boards and true crime sites further facts may come to light, but the Forest City Killer case is still unsolved. Brown's smooth prose is a plus. True crime fans who don't need conclusive answers will be well satisfied. (Oct.)

Booklist Review

In late 1960s-early 1970s London, Ontario, panic filled the streets as young women and children were disappearing at an alarming rate, and even today their murders largely remain unsolved. Brown, a lifelong resident, is an established researcher and her knowledge of the area comes through with her own personal interjections about parts of the city. Brown takes the reader down many different paths, which all converge near the end of the book. First readers are introduced to Jackie English, a young lady who went missing in October 1969. After that, Brown covers others who went missing, whose bodies were found days, or even months later. Each victim is introduced to allow readers to get to know them as people, rather than just victims. Brown delves into their backgrounds, and even interviews friends and relatives to get their perspectives on the crimes. Though Brown proposes her own theory about the Forest City Killer, she presents evidence in such a way to allow readers to draw their own conclusions. A must for true crime fans.--Carrie Rasak Copyright 2019 Booklist



October 9, 1969. Dawdling around the back roads of Oxford County in a pickup truck, Ron Kiddie and Pete Kingma were on a duck-hunting excursion. They were two young guys, rifles in the back, gum in their mouths, listening to the radio and talking shit as they bounced along hills and uneven asphalt. It was uncustomarily warm out, so they rolled down their windows to catch the breeze. The sun was low in the sky. With a little time left before dinner, they stopped to check for birds under the gleaming new concrete bridge over Big Otter Creek. It was shouldered by two hills and two curves -- a great dark, low hiding place for water fowl. Ron pulled over next to the narrow bridge. Walking across the short expanse, they each took a side, Ron on the north and Peter on the south, leaning over the guardrail as far as they could. "Hey Peter," called Ron. "Come see this." Peter checked for traffic before crossing over. On this road, with the sharp turns and steep incline, they were hidden and trapped if a speeding automobile came over the hill. "There's a body," said Ron, pointing down. Peter looked. "Oh, that's just a dummy." To prove his point, he went and got his gun out of the truck to look down through the scope. As he squinted, he became very still and then slowly looked up at Ron. "There's a ring on her finger," he muttered. Without hesitation, Ron skidded down the steep banks of the creek to find out what was going on. "I can see [pubic] hair," he shouted, as Peter followed. "And a vaccination mark on her arm!" On the edge of the water, he stumbled and accidentally stepped in the water. "Well, I'm wet now," he said, turning his head and looking back. "I better wade in and see before we call the police." He felt the frigid water creeping up his legs as he pushed through the muck, the soft creekbed beneath his boots. He could see goosebumps on her flesh, her face floating just beneath the surface of the murky water. Her chin was tilted up, as if she were calling out for help. Her left arm and breast protruded from the shallow creek, naked white in the fading fall sunlight, and her right hand floated in a fist, her young finger decorated with a black Alaskan diamond ring. In a sleepy London, Ontario, neighbourhood, fifty-year-old OPP Detective Dennis Alsop had just sat down to dinner. He was grabbing a quick bite to eat before heading out again to pick up his fifteen-year-old daughter Daphne, who would soon be finishing up at her ballet class. The phone rang and he answered. "They found her." Excerpted from The Forest City Killer: A Serial Murderer, a Cold-Case Sleuth, and a Search for Justice by Vanessa Brown All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Prologuep. ix
Part 1 The English Girlp. 1
1 Meet Londonp. 3
2 Meet Detective Alsopp. 12
3 Meet Jackie Englishp. 18
4 Meet the English Familyp. 27
5 The Disappearance of Jackie Englishp. 34
6 Jackie English Is Missingp. 42
7 Jackie English Is Deadp. 49
8 The Funeral of Jackie Englishp. 55
Part II The Mystery Murdersp. 59
9 The Murder of Jacqueline Dunleavyp. 61
10 The Murders of Frankie Jensen, Scott Leishman, and Helga Beerp. 74
11 The Disappearance of Lynda White and the Murder of Bruce Stapyltonp. 88
12 Welcome to Stanley Varietyp. 99
13 Detective Alsop Investigatesp. 107
14 Sightings of Jackie Englishp. 118
15 Meet Marilyn Hirdp. 126
Part III The Fryer Affairp. 141
16 The Attack on Betty Harrisonp. 143
17 The Conspiracy Formsp. 154
18 Meet Glen Fryerp. 167
19 The Trial of Glen Fryerp. 183
20 The Disappearance of Soraya O'Connellp. 206
Part IV Where It All Beganp. 215
21 The Disappearance of Georgia Jacksonp. 219
22 The Body of Georgia Jacksonp. 228
23 Meet David Bodemerp. 238
24 The Confessionp. 247
25 The Trial of David Bodemerp. 257
Part V What Followsp. 273
26 Fire!p. 275
27 The Residents of 133 Elmwoodp. 284
28 A Strange Friendshipp. 288
29 Another Possible Confessionp. 294
30 Skeletonsp. 297
31 The Murder of Donna Awcockp. 303
Epiloguep. 320
Appendix: David Bodemer's First Confessionp. 330
Selected Sourcesp. 333
Acknowledgmentsp. 348