Edmonton Police lay charges in historical sexual assault case

Edmonton, Alberta – The EPS Historical Crimes Section has charged a 65-year-old man in relation to a 1981 sexual assault of a female youth.

On July 9, 1981, a 15-year-old female was walking home across a school field in northeast Edmonton when she was grabbed, dragged and sexually assaulted by a male. The suspect then left the area on foot and was not located. The suspect was unknown to the complainant and was not identified at the time.

In February 2018, the file was reassigned to a Historical Crimes Unit investigator for review. Following a thorough reinvestigation, exhibits from the file were submitted to the RCMP Lab and a DNA profile for the unknown male was created from the physical evidence. However, no matching profile was found in the National DNA Data Bank at that time.

In 2021, investigators pursued investigative genetic genealogy, which compared the crime scene DNA sample with profiles in commercial databases. Investigators were able to combine information about relatives of the suspect with other existing evidence to identify a now 65-year-old male. In May 2022, the RCMP Lab confirmed that legally obtained DNA from the male suspect matched the DNA on the investigation exhibits.

On Thursday, Oct. 27, 2022, Guy Greffard, 65, of Kelvington, Sask. was arrested by the EPS and is charged with rape and acts of gross indecency as defined in the 1981 Canadian Criminal Code.

“Our team is continuously exploring current technologies and innovative ways to solve historical files,” says Detective Kevin Harrison with the EPS Historical Crimes Unit. “We are pleased that we were able to make an arrest in this traumatic assault and are hopeful this will bring some closure for the survivor after all these years.”

“This news is indeed very encouraging, and I am very hopeful that this new investigative technology will result in charges being made in other historical sexual assault cases. There are many survivors out there who may have renewed hope that their unsolved case might be solved someday too,” says Mary Jane James, Chief Executive Officer with the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton (SACE).

“However, there are also survivors out there who will be very triggered by yet another reminder that no one was held accountable for the violence that they experienced at the hands of an unknown alleged perpetrator,” says James. “We need to hold space for all survivors and let them know that, regardless of whether charges were laid, or ever will be laid, we believe them.”

The EPS would like to thank the Kelvington RCMP for their assistance with this investigation.

Background

In 2016, the EPS Sexual Assault Section initiated a review of historical sexual assault files to identify those that would be suitable for further investigation. Historical Crimes Unit detectives continue to work through these files to identify where modern technology or investigative approaches may be able to shed light on a previously unsolved case. From 2018 to date, members of the Historical Crimes Unit have reviewed or completed investigations on 126 files. Charges have been laid in nine of these investigations and charges are also pending in one additional investigation.

Since 2018 the EPS has used investigative genetic genealogy on five cases, including three sexual assaults, one armed robbery and one human remains investigation. To date, this investigation is the only file using this technology that has resulted in charges. Currently, only two publicly available genetic databases, FamilyTreeDNA and GEDMatch, permit law enforcement to conduct searches and these searches are limited to serious crimes like those listed above. Both websites require users to either agree to a terms of service or “opt in” to terms that allows their DNA profile to be included in law enforcement searches.

Edmonton Police Service

MRU #: SA22R005

“Dedicated to Protect, Proud to Serve”

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