At the time of Mindy Tran's abduction,
Shannon Murrin had already been implicated in,
or was suspected of being involved in, many other serious crimes right across the country. Everywhere that Murrin was known to
have been, there is a suspicious pattern of unsolved rapes, child abductions, and murders.
the lead RCMP investigator, was a veritable expert on wrongful
convictions by the time of the Tran investigation. He had been involved in
re-interviewing informant/witnesses for the David Milgaard wrongful conviction
case from 1990- 1994, and had worked together with the investigator of Terry Arnold, the
prime suspect in the
murder for which Thomas Sophonow had been wrongfully convicted. If anyone knew how
to, or, how not to structure a case to appear as a wrongful conviction case it
was this investigator.
Mindy Tran's murder investigation began with a search for a
suspicious vehicle. The police asked reporters to withhold all reports
of the original vehicle description and the Kelowna newspapers complied. This diverted the public search away
from identifying the driver, a key witness who had followed the suspect and could have
identified the killer. That driver has since come forward and identified himself as the new
witness. These are the original news
reports of the vehicle search.
Even after Mindy's body was found in the nearby park, the
RCMP investigation continued
to focus public attention on an elusive white van with the RCMP claiming they
were sure it was
There was no public disclosure or request for information about
the suitcase carrying suspect until five months after the abduction.
Two weeks after the beating, Murrin had recovered but was
then only charged with weapons
offences arising from the night of the beating. What had changed in this short time? At the same time as Murrin's
beating in one Kelowna park, a key witness was found shot in the head in
another Kelowna park! He was the very first
person who had reported a suitcase carrying suspect to the RCMP. The RCMP
claimed that his death was a suicide. An extremely suspicious pattern of witnesses
obstruction began to emerge. There were at
least four other witnesses who never made it to court. An RCMP investigator
who admitted to having performed illegal activities for Sgt. Tidsbury during the investigation, turned to
his superiors and then to the
media for assistance. His concerns were ignored and he was later reported as an attempted
The physical DNA evidence was
once available to confirm
the killer's identify. The conclusive Nuclear DNA evidence was suspiciously washed from the victims clothing by the RCMP before any samples
could be taken. Murrin claims that he had been exonerated by DNA results, not
true. This is what was
left of the DNA evidence by the time it was presented in court.
A curiously flawed prosecution strategy was
exposed during the trial.
the Crown would structure this case using Thomas Sophonow's case as a basis is
Sophonow had been wrongfully convicted. The same informant used to falsely implicate
Sophonow was again being used as a witness against Murrin. The implications to a jury were
A great deal of information was obtained by comparing Thomas Sophonow's wrongful
conviction case with Murrin's case. A
pattern began to emerge and the
players to show themselves.
After the highly controversial trial, Shannon Murrin was acquitted, successfully
claiming that he was being wrongfully prosecuted and that he had been framed. He
Newfoundland where he took up residence with a female juror from his trial. The
MacDonald, is the daughter of a former RCMP member. She wrote an account of the RCMP investigation
in an attempt to prove Murrin's innocence and justify her relationship with him.
As a result, MacDonald inadvertently published additional evidence which has helped to
confirm the identity of Mindy Tran's killer. Among other things, she has
provided confirmation that the RCMP are in possession of, and have been
concealing, witness reports of an undisclosed suspicious vehicle from the night
of the abduction, just as the new
witness has been claiming. Murrin
has been using these reports to allege that the driver of this undisclosed
vehicle could be the killer.
The role of the media was also unusual in this case.
The press acknowledged that they had been gagged after Murrin's beating and that
they had been following orders from the RCMP. Kelowna's
CHBC television station once tried to publicly question the prime suspect's status as an informant
but were quickly stopped. A suspicious "suicide" of a top CHBC
manager curiously coincided with these queries. A secret collusion was later found to have existed
within the Kelowna newspapers at the time.
The RCMP claim that this case was
lost due to what they are terming mistakes. All of the
so called "mistakes" follow the same pattern of evidence tampering, evidence destruction, and
witness obstruction found in many of the wrongful conviction cases. The obstructing actions of the RCMP
investigators, thinly disguised as misguided attempts to obtain a confession, are obvious and well
documented. The suitcase carrying suspect identified as RCMP agent Shannon Murrin, was the
sole beneficiary of each and every one of these RCMP mistakes.
went wrong? The RCMP presented a completely flawed time line
of events to Crown prosecutors and then to the jury. Obviously the evidence would not fit.
could not prove their case when the physical evidence and eye witnesses accounts
contradicted the very
that this case was built upon. The RCMP and the Crown were aware that witnesses
had previously testified to seeing Murrin at a time contrary to their theory of
events. These were the same witnesses who knew Murrin
personally and had provided statements to the RCMP
confirming that it was Murrin carrying the suitcase. A simple revision of
the time line of events would have brought all of the witnesses into agreement
with the Crown's case.
The RCMP went way out on a limb by permitting Sgt. Tidsbury to
continue on as the lead investigator long after his
conduct warranted his removal. Gary Tidsbury was not removed from the
investigation at the time, and has not been charged for any of his illegal activities
since. An Alberta
investigative review said that Tidsbury should have been removed from the
Sgt. Tidsbury's boss, Gary Forbes, Kelowna's RCMP superintendent at the time, refused to initiate a code of conduct review of
his members actions.
Bev Busson, the current RCMP Deputy Commissioner,
condoned the decisions and actions of these members and again refused to
initiate a code of conduct review or to release the investigation report on RCMP
Despite blowing any chance for a conviction in this case, Sergeant Tidsbury went on to receive the Investigator of the Year award before retiring in 1999. It is obvious that Sgt. Tidsbury would not have received this honor if he were not ‘following orders’. Murrin’s status as a confidential RCMP ‘agent’ was preserved and his acquittal ensured as a result of Tidsbury's actions. It is highly improbable that Sgt. Tidsbury had the ability or the resources to have organized and implemented this level of obstruction on his own.