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Murder charges laid in two cold cases over three decades old

FILE: Garry Taylor Handlen.

SURREY (NEWS1130) – Charges have been laid in the murders of two young girls over three decades ago.

The BC RCMP says Garry Taylor Handlen, 67, is facing first-degree murder charges in the deaths of 12-year-old Monica Jack and 11-year-old Kathryn-Mary Herbert.

The RCMP hasn’t revealed how they linked the two cases other than to say that the same suspect was identified in both of them. RCMP Superintendent Ward Lymburner couldn’t provide any more details on the investigation.

“This matter is now before the courts and I am not in a position to discuss the specifics around this particular investigation that brought us to this point. However, I can say that it is a combination of information and evidence gathered from

the very first days of both of the girls’ disappearances coupled with extensive and exhaustive policing efforts that have brought us here today.”

Kathryn-Mary Herbert
Kathryn-Mary Herbert

Herbert disappeared in September 24th, 1975 after going for a bike ride with a friend near Marshall and Townline in Abbotsford. Her remains were found near Harris Road in an undeveloped area on the Matsqui

Monica Jack
Monica Jack

First Nation reserve about two months later. Abbotsford Police turned the case over to the unsolved homicide unit in 2005. A private $10,000 reward was offered to anyone who could help solve the case in 2012.

Her mother Shari Greer is overwhelmed by the news she’s waited 39 years for. “I promised her at her grave site I would never give up. I didn’t. I thought I failed her. I didn’t! I thank God for that. I thank him that he loves me in spite of my transgressions. I thank him because he loves us all, including Garry Taylor Handlen.”

Jack was 13 days away from turning 13 years old when she vanished in May, 1978. She was last seen at about 6:30 that evening riding her bike alone along Highway 5A in Merritt. Her mother reported her missing when she didn’t come home. Her bike was found days later, but it took 17 years for someone to find her remains. Her case was eventually added to the Highway of Tears investigation, allowing fresh eyes to look over the case.

“I really am happy that my daughter’s been found. To hear about this Friday was… gave my family and I mixed feelings of happiness and also… Over the years, thinking about this on a daily basis and the hurt that never goes away, you know it just carries on and on. I could only say it’s a relief,” says her mother Madeline Lanaro.

Hanlon was arrested on Friday in Surrey. His next court appearance will be December 8.