This week on The Case That Haunts Me, Inspector Earl Peters remembers the murder of Royal Canadian Mounted Police Special Constable Gordon Kowalczyk in 1988. He recalls their determined efforts to capture the killer of one of there own.
Kowalczyk was killed on a cold night on January 26, 1987, in what seemed like a routine traffic stop on a deserted stretch of road near the Calgary airport in Alberta.
Shortly before he died, Special Constable Kowalczyk had radioed dispatch to say he was pulling over a trucker who he suspected of stealing gas.
Kowalczyk’s remains were discovered by three workers coming from the airport. When Inspector Peters reached the scene, he found that his colleague had been killed with a shotgun and that he had tried to defend himself by emptying his service firearm at his attacker. Kowalczyk’s gun had then been removed from the scene by the killer.
The Calgary police launched a major investigation with a team of 165 officers searching for the killer. Early on in the investigation, they had zeroed in on two possible suspects who were known for their violent records.
The cops tracked the two individuals to Mexico only to learn that the two had solid alibis. Inspector Peters cites this as an example “of why an investigator needs to be very careful to not develop tunnel vision. Keep as broad a view as you possibly can until you’ve got it locked down tight.”
About a month after the killing, the cops caught a break. Shotgun shells were recovered from a robbery that matched the firearm used to kill Kowalczyk. What’s more, an eyewitness saw the assailant drive away and clocked the license plate.
Killer Andrew Kay had committed a series of robberies
Investigators tracked the vehicle to the home of Andrew Kay, where he lived with his mother, Linda Marie Bowen. Bowen was to key to the investigation as she confessed to accompanying her son on many robberies.
She was not with Kay when he killed Kowalczyk, but she did admit to disposing of the officer’s firearm by throwing it in the Oldman River. When she pointed out the location to cops, they were able to find the gun within minutes. It was all they needed to take the case to court.
In 1988 Andrew Kay was found guilty of first-degree murder, which meant an automatic sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole for 25 years. His mother received a 13-year sentence after she pleaded guilty to manslaughter and four armed robberies.
More from The Case That Haunts Me
Follow the links to read about more haunting cases from north of the border.
Awad Abdalla was working his last shift in a convenience store in Hamilton, Ontario, when Shawn Jeffries entered the premises and killed him execution-style. The police believe that Edgard Elias orchestrated the killing, but he fled the country just before the police apprehended him.
The murder of pregnant wife, mother, and school teacher, Manjit Panghali, in October 2016 shocked her community in Delta, British Columbia. The shocking revelations only continued when her husband, Mukhtiar Panghali, was charged and convicted of the crime.
The Case That Haunts Me airs at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.