A re-opening of a first-degree murder investigation from more than 40 years ago resulting in two murder charges to a man in the Lower Mainland has spurred the Comox Valley RCMP to re-examine a handful of local cold cases.
Garry Taylor Handlen, 67, was charged last week in the murders of 11-year-old Kathryn-Mary Herbert and 12-year-old Monica Jack, which occurred in the mid-to-late 1970s.
B.C. RCMP noted advances in forensic science was a factor in gathering sufficient evidence to charge Handlen, who has a connection to the Comox Valley.
In 1971, Handlen was living in the Comox Valley, and according to reports, was 24 years old when he sexually assaulted an 18-year-old Comox woman.
He was sentenced to five and a half years in prison.
Const. Don Sinclair of the Comox Valley RCMP said investigators are looking at some cold cases that have similarities to the murders and will review any new details.
“It’s a matter of procedure; they won’t be opening specific cases and going over them with a fine tooth comb, but there are a few cases that are being looked at.”
Sinclair added overall there are just a handful of cold cases in the Comox Valley.
Police are issuing a plea to the public for anyone with any information about Handlen, to call the tip line at 1-877-543-4822.