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Tania

Photo courtesy of the Edmonton Sun.


VANISHED

Tania Murrell [pronounced Tohn-ya Murl] was a six-year-old Edmonton girl who disappeared on a bitterly cold January 20, 1983. 

No one has heard from the child since. There have been no phone calls, sightings … not a darn thing. Tania’s disappearance smells of foul play, yet criminal charges were never laid.

That doesn’t mean police don’t have a prime suspect. They do. But there’s little they can do about it now …


A BOOK ON TANIA RELEASED

An 88–page paperback on Tania Murrell [‘What happened to Tania’] is now available on Amazon.ca and, in short time, on half a dozen other Amazon sites: amazon.com / amazon.co.uk / amazon.de / amazon.fr / amazon.es / amazon.it / amazon.co.jp. In other words, the book is available at Amazon sites in the US, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Japan.

The book sells for $6.99 US which, at publication time, was just under $10 Cdn.

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Here’s how to get it … click on the link below and once that page appears, click on the book cover. That will open up, allowing for a preview of the first 10 pages of the book.


https://www.amazon.ca/s?k=what+happened+to+tania%3F+Byron+christopher&i=stripbooks&ref=nb_sb_noss_2

REVISED POST

Included in this revised blog post are the prologue and the first two chapters of the book — plus an audio recording of the parents’ desperate plea to the abductor.

Edmonton Police suspect that Tania Murrell was abducted and murdered.

The prime suspect in her disappearance, a man who died in Ontario in 2016, is identified in the book. His next of kin were interviewed; their comments can be found in the chapter that deals with the prime suspect.

There are also comments by those who knew the suspect during his time at the Murrell residence, which included sleepovers. In the early stages of the police investigation, the mother described the suspect as a ‘good friend,’ although several years later, she wasn’t saying that.

Readers can draw their own conclusions as to whether the prime suspect was the culprit.


                                        

PROLOGUE                                           

On January 20, 1983, six-year-old Tania Murrell vanished on her way home from an elementary school in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Hundreds of searchers — police, volunteers and friends and relatives of Tania — looked high and wide for the child. But there was absolutely no trace of her. No clothing, school books … or phone calls. Nothing. Zip.

And no witnesses.

It’s as though Tania had vanished into thin air. One moment, she’s standing on a sidewalk; next moment, she’s gone.

What … happened??

The child’s disappearance smells of foul play. Police believe the grade-one student was abducted and murdered.

But by whom? And why on earth would anyone do something so cruel? A heavy-drinking acquaintance of the family would morph from suspect to prime suspect. The man never faced criminal charges because while detectives felt they had enough evidence for a murder charge, they also felt they might not get a conviction.

 

The book reveals the identity of the prime suspect. It also reveals what happened to him — as well as what happened to the missing child’s mother, father … and brother.


CHAPTER 1

A CHILD DISAPPEARS

 

In the first weeks of 1983, Alberta’s capital was in the grip of a deep freeze. It was so bitterly cold that car exhaust was visible, suspended in the air. People scurried about, anxious to get to any place warm.

At around 11 in the morning on January 20th, a bundled-up Tania Murrell said goodbye to her grade-one friends and walked out of Grovenor Elementary School, in the west end of Edmonton.

The child was on her way home for lunch, and she didn’t have far to go. Her home — a small, rented bungalow at 10426 – 145 Street — was only a block and a half away.

At the house, the child’s aunt, Vera Stortz, was preparing a hot meal for Tania and John, Tania’s younger brother.

John Murrell was in kindergarten at the same school. That morning, he got out of class expecting to see his big sister waiting for him outside. The two would walk home together, like they always did. But on that fateful day, sis was nowhere to be seen. It appeared as though Tania had left without her brother … and so John walked home on his own. 

The children’s mother, Vivian, worked at a bakery, about a mile distant. Her husband, Jack, was a carpenter. He built new houses for Alldritt Homes on Edmonton’s south side.

Some have described Jack and Vivian Murrell as par- ty-hard folk who loved their booze, pot, rock music and Harley-Davidson motorbikes. They were — as a family acquaintance gently put it — “everyone’s-our-friend-people.”

 

But to most, Jack and Vivian were simply two young parents whose hearts were ripped out when their child vanished, never to be seen again.Vivian’s closest friend, Heather Hansen, describes Tania as a ‘very happy kid.’ “Anyone would have loved to have her as a daughter,” she says. “Tania was an absolute dream of a child, quiet and content. She always wanted a hug and a kiss when I left the house.”

“Tania loved to dance,” Hansen recalls, “… to have fun with her Barbie dolls — and play in the sandbox in the backyard.”

Heather’s daughter and Tania spent hours in that sandbox, laughing and talking about the strangest things, like what are you going to be when you grow up? 

After Tania was a no-show for lunch, Vera got on the blower to Vivian at work. Right off the bat, mom didn’t have a good feeling. It was unusual for her daughter not to head straight home from school.

 

Things just weren’t adding up and Vivian began to worry. She hoped that Tania had slipped away to a friend’s house — but a mother’s intuition told her other- wise. A distraught Vivian sped home. When she got there, she learned that Vera had been looking for Tania on the streets and calling out her name.

Jack also made a bee line for home. Same thing. His gut signalled something was terribly wrong …


 

CHAPTER 2

HOPE FADES

 

When Vivian dropped around to her daughter’s school, she got some dreadful news. Tania hadn’t made it back to class. Her seat remained empty.

And there was more grim news: not only had Tania’s classmates not seen her, no one had.

Tania would surely be home after school, well-mean- ing friends assured the parents.

Vivian phoned city police and a policeman dropped by. At that stage, however, there was little the officer could do except get a picture of Tania, jot down a description of what she was wearing and start going door to door.

 

With the worst yet to come, Vivian and Jack were already paralyzed with fear. They didn’t know what to do or where to turn.

Things became even more worrisome when Tania failed to show up at the house that evening. Where the hell was she?? Every time the back door opened, hopes were raised that Tania made it home safely.

Vivian and Jack tried to remain positive — but there were just too many red flags. Their last, faint hope was that their daughter had spent the night at a friend’s house and forgot to tell her parents.

Having an unannounced sleepover was so unlike Tania — but in the midst of the worst crisis in their lives, how the parents wished that actually happened. Alas, there had been no sleepover …

When Tania failed to show up for class next morn- ing, the alarm bells really went off. There was now little doubt that something terrible had happened.

For the parents, the situation was now beyond worrisome. It was gut-wrenching dreadful.

Detectives initially didn’t know what to make of the child’s disappearance — and neither did most reporters, myself included. I was working for CBC Radio News when police fired off an alert about a missing child.

At that point, it was barely a story. Next morning, reporter Ruth Anderson was about to head out the door to cover the mysterious disappearance. I was on the assignment desk and asked Ruth to hold off until school started. She agreed.

My thinking was that it made no sense getting worked up over a youngster who may have spent the night at a friend’s house.

I was wrong. Vivian was right. The mother had been telling friends she had a gut feeling something awful had happened.

The media coverage swung into high gear. The story of a missing child was leading every newscast in the city, and it would stay like that for weeks. Both parents were now trembling and no amount of beer was going to calm their nerves. Afraid that somebody would recognize him from the newspapers and TV, Jack shaved off his beard. Paranoia was seeping in.

 

Rumours circulated that the father — a biker, though not a gang member — owed a small-time drug dealer hundreds of dollars for some marijuana he bought.

Perhaps Jack owed someone money — perhaps he didn’t — but it’s my belief his daughter’s disappearance had nothing to do with an unpaid debt.

Vivian began second-guessing herself. She kept ask- ing ‘what if?’ What if I didn’t have to work that day? … what if Vera had gone to pick the kids up from school? What if …? What if …? What if …

She and her husband weren’t the only ones afraid. Everyone in the city of more than half a million was now very worried — because they could relate. Parents were thinking, ‘There but for the grace of God …’ while young children were terrified a stranger was going to take them away.

Like a stone tossed into a pond, that fear radiated throughout Edmonton, the province and the country. Where was Tania? Was she safe? Was she even alive? Everyone had theories, but no one really knew.

 

Detectives were inundated with tips … but few turned out to be significant. According to police, their ground search was by far the largest in Edmonton’s history. Hundreds of city blocks were checked. Soon after Tania vanished, so did Harley, her black dog. Foul play was not suspected; it was just one of those things. Even so, it was another hit for the family.

People hoped to hear ‘breaking news’ Tania had been found safe and sound and that she’d been reunited with her grateful parents.

What a joyful ending that would have been. Alas, nothing like that happened.

Tania’s mother, Vivian, worked at a bakery about a mile distant. Her father, Jack, a carpenter, built new houses for Alldritt Homes on Edmonton’s South side.

Some have described Vivian and Jack Murrell as ‘party-hard folk’ who loved their booze, pot, rock music and Harley-Davidson motorcycles. They were, as one family acquaintance gently put it, ‘everyone’s-our-friend-people.’ But to most, Vivian and Jack were simply two young parents whose hearts were ripped out when their child suddenly vanished, never to be held or seen again.

Heather Hansen describes Tania as a ‘very happy kid.’ “Anyone would have loved to have her as a daughter,” she says, “… an absolute dream of a child, quiet and very content.” And gentle. As children are. “She always wanted a hug and a kiss when I left the house.”

“Tania loved to dance, have fun with her Barbie dolls — and play in the sand box,” Hansen added. She shared that her daughter and Tania spent hours in the sand box, laughing and “talking about the weirdest things … like ‘what are you going to be when you grow up?'”

When Tania was a no-show for lunch that fateful day, Vera phoned her sister at work. Right off the bat, Vivian didn’t have a good feeling. It was unusual for Tania not to head straight home from school.

Things just weren’t right … Vivian began to worry. She hoped that Tania had simply gone to a friend’s house … but a mother’s intuition told her otherwise.

Vivian drove home right away. When she arrived, she learned that Vera had already been out looking for Tania and calling her name.

There was absolutely no sign of the child. What the hell was going on?? Jack left work and rushed home. His gut, too, told him that something was wrong.

The Murrell House at 10426 - 145 Street, Edmonton. Little had changed when this photo was taken [February 2015] Click to enlarge.

The old Murrell House at 10426 – 145 Street, Edmonton. Click to enlarge. The house was demolished in late 2018.


            A PERSONAL MESSAGE TO THE ABDUCTOR

Here’s a recording made by the distraught parents in January 1983. It’s poor quality … but you can follow along by reading the transcript.

Runs 2:33.

VIVIAN: “Hi Tania. We miss you babe, Mom is waiting for you to come home right now. I know you want to come home … and who’s got ya, you gotta tell him that you wanna come home. Just tell him he knows you’re a good girl and you gotta come home.

We gotta do ballet …

“And John wants you home.

“Mom doesn’t know what to do anymore, she misses you so much. But whoever has you, just drop her off at some place warm. We don’t want to see who you are, just bring my baby home …

“She does want to come home. She loves her Mom. She loves her Dad, her kittens, her puppers. And she’s gotta come home. She wants to come home. You know she wants to come home. Please make Tania come home.”

JACK: “Whoever you are, if you got my Tania [sigh] and you’re keeping her warm and safe, that means you must care about her. If you care about her, let her come home. Please. Please, just let our little girl come home … just take her some place where somebody can find her. [sigh]”

VIVIAN: “Okay, this is to whoever … if you need money, we don’t have any money but we can get money for you. If you need that, you just phone us and we’ll help you out, borrow money … it doesn’t even matter, we gotta bring Tania home … we’ll get you some money if you want money. We got a lot of friends that love Tania. We really miss her. We’ve been trying so hard to find her and we just don’t want her out in the cold. We just can’t have that little girl out in the cold anywhere.

We have to have Tania back because we just have to and we need her more than you need her.  And I know she wants to come home …”


 

130 thoughts on “Tania and that ‘Family Friend’

  1. I just have to say that was a great read! It was very well-written and had me captured right from start to finish.

    I am honestly surprised I had never heard this story before reading this article and it’s crazy and sad something so intense can happen so close to home!

    Like

  2. Very well written, I was enveloped throughout the entire read.

    I’m so sorry that you’ve invested so much without much return. I agree with the old-timer, never give up, not that I think you will but I do believe that you will get answers someday because of your perseverance and determination.

    Did anyone check for a body at the place where PS took the kids camping? The poem mentions Summertime (camping season) and the body may have been moved there (from the ravine?) once the frost thawed … perhaps the place had meaning and PS wanted her to rest there (perhaps where the ‘romance’ began/ended/could never be). A mountain or lake? Not sure if that location was ever disclosed but might be worth looking into.

    Good luck and I will also continue to follow this story until its solved.

    Thank you for raising awareness of child abduction, it’s real, it can happen to anyone, and it makes me put more attention towards safety for my own children.

    Like

  3. I have lived in and around Strathcona County and the Edmonton area my whole life and I remember hearing the updates on this story. I was born two days before Tania’s disappearance and this story has struck a chord with me.

    It brings to mind an incident that happened to me when I was six years old. My mother and aunt were shopping at an old IGA on the north east side of the City of Edmonton. My mom and aunt were in the checkout aisle and I was playing around near the doors. I was minding my own business when a man attempted to grab me. I held on tight to the metal bars that people tied their bikes to and he couldn’t dislodge me. Eventually he gave up and because he tried to grab me from behind I turned to see who it was and it was a man that I didn’t recognize. He gave me a dirty look and went on his way.

    I’ve never told anyone about this except my wife. Not even my mother knew.

    I didn’t know of there is a connection to Tania’s story, but it goes to show that it can happen to anyone.

    Like

  4. My husband and I had a company in the 1980’s and 90’s and we hired two people who were friends of Jack and Vivian. The wife told me she knew who killed Tania and that his name was Lloyd something … that he had moved to Ontario and named his daughter Tania.

    It has always haunted me.

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      • The entire family died without any closure. Friends won’t tell police? You will have your turn.

        RIP to the family, what a sad story and, all the pain they always had to go through not knowing.

        Sad reading people knew what happened but, never had the courage to tell. Remember, what goes around comes around.

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  5. I have wondered for many years about this little girl.

    I was a young mother getting ready to return to England when she was taken. I lived quite close to the school and my daughter who went to Glenora School was the same age.

    It was — and still is — a heartbreaking story. You have written a very interesting and compelling article.

    Thank you for sharing it in this way.

    Like

  6. Well, I lived in Edmonton that cold day. I remember being upset as I myself had and have a Daughter by that special name Tanya even thou it’s spelt different. She was just 6 at the time.

    I can’t believe after all this time Tania has not been found.

    From time to time I usually type in Tania Murrell to see if there is any news. Sorry to hear that her mom, dad and brother are gone. I feel so bad for her younger sister who still would like to know her sister.

    Tania , you have been truly missed and will always be by everyone who knows your story. God be with you.

    Like

  7. I am curious to know who the lead detective you say was drunk at the time of PS’s lie detector was?

    I am the daughter of John MacLeod, and I can tell you first hand that this case haunted my father every single day of his life. I was the same age as Tania when she disappeared and recall helping put posters out not only throughout the city but everywhere our family travelled though on holidays.

    He worked tirelessly on this case, and to say he was disinterested is not knowing the way my dad worked his cases and took the time to think, ponder and weigh all the facts and details.

    His passion for his work, Tania’s case amongst others, took a toll on all of us but it also made him one hell of a Detective.

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    • Hi, I believe the article said it was PS that was drunk at the time of the lie detector test, not the detective.

      I would expect the intoxication would play a role in the inconclusive results of the test.

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      • That is correct. He was actually made so by the detectives. They kept him for 11 hours straight and continueslly fed him booze in the hopes of getting him to talk. Nothing came out of it !!! Think about that for a minute.

        If PS indeed had something to do with it, don’t you think 11 hours of being served booze (his weakness) would have got them SOMEWHERE?!

        Furthermore, all the lies being told and harassment being made towards the family of PS who were not even in Edmonton at the time. Byron states that he named his kid after Tanya. Not true. It was the wife of PS who had her heart set on a particular name and it was NOT Tanya. Not one of his children were named Tanya. The article was well written as far as writing goes, but Byron is a menace and has been since he got his mind made up about PS. He continues to harass the family of PS even after his passing.

        My apologies to Tanya’s family for all they have been through. I wish there could have been closure for everyone involved.

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      • This is to Michelle’s comment about the interrogation.

        Never in the article did they mention that the original lie detector test went for 11 hours, the one where it was inconclusive. The 11 hours of interrogation happened in Ontario, not Edmonton … and I did not see any references of a drunken or intoxicated person involved.

        Another, the little girl that went missing was Tania, not Tanya.

        I’m sorry if the suspects family was harassed, maybe they could address their experiences formally. To hear that, instead of a comment on here, maybe possibly help them. Not sure.

        Did PS do it? Don’t know, but some of his behavior made the police look.

        Like

  8. Great read. I went to school with Tania. There’s a few of us who keep in touch.

    I still get weirded out about it. I will never forget that day.

    Like

  9. This little girl lived 12 blocks from us in Edmonton.

    Joe, our son, went to a different school but was in the same program called “Early Birds”. It was a program for kids that didn’t seem to be quite ready for grade 1.

    It was a time that those little ones could get more teacher time. They went to school on a different time frame so they were pretty much alone going back and forth. When this happened, it was a game-changer for my [late] husband John and I.

    Joe walked to school with a neighbor’s granddaughter who was in grade 5, I think. One day Joe said that whatever her name was, stays after school for some sport. Well I immediately called my neighbour and friend Marion and said no more walking anywhere off that school property for Joe. If Marion couldn’t go to the school and walk with him, she was to call either John or I and we would leave work and be at the school.

    She would go and walk with him on the days that her granddaughter was staying after school from then on. One day, when the kids got to Marion’s, they told her about a van that had followed them home. Holy cats! that was even scarier.

    The day we left Edmonton for the last time was when I finally relaxed about Joe’s safety. I was bad about being so watchful and fretting when we would be shopping in North Battleford as I was big city-minded.

    I read about Tana Murrel’s family history as I have never ever forgotten her name or that picture of her that shows her even after all these years.

    I always maintained I would be able to handle Joe’s death by accident but if I never knew where he was, I would not be able to cope and would end up at a psychiatric facility.

    Yep, was ecstatic that last day we left Edmonton for good.

    Like

  10. This was a very good read.

    I was a young, new mom at the time of Tania’s disappearance and could not fathom what the parents were going through.

    I hope Karma takes care of the person responsible for her disappearance, and that some day you find your answers.

    Like

  11. This is a very well written, very sad story.

    Thank you for all the time you have put in over the years.

    I wish it had a happy ending.

    Like

  12. You did a wonderful job putting this all together and made it an easy read. I am not from Canada but your recall/writing of this completely gripped me.

    I pray this child’s body will be found and her sister and everyone who lived this can find closure, reading it, I can tell for many of you, that is truly needed.

    Thanks for following through with this, God bless.

    Like

  13. Wow, always so much more to a story than one hears on the radio, which I believe was part of your point.

    So, so sad that he never got arrested. Suppose they were waiting for the break that they knew they could convict him on.

    I too remember when it happened. Do I recall that they thought they had found something by the rail road tracks at one point?

    Very, very well written and documented, thank you for sharing your caring.

    Like

  14. So PS’s name must be either Lenny, Larry, Leroy or Lance. I hate that people like him can just disappear into thin air, likely to kill again.

    Like

  15. Wow … long read but so interesting.

    I’d never heard of this case before (I’m 36 years old and I live in Ottawa) and I just couldn’t put my phone down to stop reading.

    I hope PS is found and for Tania’s sake I hope he confesses. Sounds like a real weirdo. Tania deserves justice!

    I will definitely be on lookout for more articles about this.

    Like

    • I’m a private investigator in BC and I specialize in cold cases (missing persons and homicides), I’d like to review the Tania Murrell case.

      Like

      • While you are reviewing Tania’s case, would you see if you believe there is any connection to Kevin Reimer’s disappearance.

        I am his sister and none of my family has heard anything about a possible suspect.

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  16. A good read, thank you.

    I was a police officer in Edmonton at the time of her disappearance.

    Although I worked in a different part of the city, my crew and I were called upon to be involved in a grid search of the area near the residence occupied by this family. Because ours was a perimeter function with no results, I was not further involved, however, like so many more, I have always wondered what really happened to this little girl.

    I worked at various times during my 25 year career with each of the officers mentioned in your report, and understand completely how this case can cause sleepless nights for many years after.

    Thank you for bringing me up to date on it.

    Like

  17. Well written! Captivating story to say the least, and so very sad it hasn’t been solved.

    And tragic that her family never got to bury their child or have any final peace knowing what happened. Rest in peace angel.

    Keep searching Byron!

    Like

  18. I remember when her picture was in the paper with her red jacket and one braid. I was in high school and worked part-time in a car dealership.

    For years I wondered what had happened to all of them, where are they now. So tragic that they were so unhappy and never helped to catch PS.

    Maybe it was to awful to think one of their friends could have been involved.

    I wish the ending was so different. I thank you for writing this and bringing forth to light what had transpired. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    Like

  19. What an amazing story! I remember this so well I was the same age as her! I lived in a small town 45mins north of edmonton and my parents were so sad and scared.

    I always search up her name just to see if there is any knew updates.

    I hope her body is found and she can be put to rest with her parents and brother. Thank you for sharing.

    Like

  20. I will never forget the day that sweet child Tania disappeared and when Kevin disappeared. I lived not far from Elk IUsland when Kevin went missing. Then, just before my oldest daughter was born, Tania vanished.

    What a horrible thing for parents, family and friends to live with. My hope is that Tania is found alive or her body found to put this child to rest.

    Like

    • I was one of the soldiers deployed to Elk Island from the LdSH(RC), at that time located in Calgary. We searched line abreast through all that swamp, all those insects etc. It had become personal for all of us.

      Sadly we never found Kevin nor were updated further.

      I will always remember the search brief. “He has been missing for 48 hours, last seen wearing a swim suit and one running shoe. Given the lack of clothing or protection from the elements we are likely looking for a body. Ensure you look under logs, probe the water and look up into the trees as children of that age will seek protection in the most unlikely of places”.

      I and my fellow soldiers had just commenced our trades training two weeks prior, it was not a happy start to our careers.

      Like

      • Thank you for being a part of the search!

        Would you happen to remember if the search was held on the side of the tall fence where the Elk were? I am Kevin’s sister and when they found remains, we were told that they were found in an area that wasn’t searched because they didn’t think a 9-year-old boy would climb that fence.

        Like

  21. Your blog on Tania Murrell was a very good read.

    I’ve followed this case since I was a child, as I was the same age as Tania when she went missing.

    However, I think you are being somewhat unfair to the Murrell family, especially Elysia. It’s not relevant or informative to mention that she has not seen her children in seven years. The family has obviously been through enough, and even if they were a dysfunctional family, it should not be implied that they were indirectly responsible for their child’s disappearance. We all make mistakes in life. However, no family deserves to go through what the Murrell’s did.

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  22. We lived 17 blocks from the Murrell’s and our son was in the same type of program as Tania. I lived in fear every day even though he was never left alone after that walking to and from his babysitters.

    We left Edmonton to a rural area in Saskatchewan and I have never been more relieved in my life.

    After all these years I have never forgotten Tania’s name. I read this article some time ago and have grieved for Tania’s family. I said to my husband at the time that I could accept the death of our son in an accident or disease but to one day never know what happened to him would destroy me and I would end up in Alberta Hospital.

    Like

  23. Did anyone ever talk to the parents of the young boy that died? Nothing was ever disclosed on how he died.

    There’s just so many loop holes and this whole story is just so very sad. The whole family just fell apart after Tania’s disappearance. No counseling, no real help from anyone. Their pain was huge and just by reading it seems like they had a hard time functioning.

    We may never get closure but I’m just wondering if now with the spring weather to go back where that broken fence was and maybe something will turn up.

    The tears will continue to flow because this story is just so very sad.

    Like

  24. My belief is Tania was walking home that winter day. Her abduction was made possible by mother, dad and her brother. All knew PS and complied with him. He promised he would pick up the children from school that day.

    Both parents defended PS because they agreed with him and later were afraid to speak of the arrangement. Her younger brother, being the boy he was, walked home by himself seeing that his older sister was in a car and leaving him. The mother, hungover, had a gut feeling remembering she agreed to this arrangement with PS. The father barely remembered the arrangement but stood beside his wife in public.

    The father was only ever seen alone with teary eyes. He knew that his wife and PS made a deal that night.

    Sadly, I must say that all three family members are dead from their own demise.

    Tania was walking home by herself and remembered her parents told her to go to the PS car. Her younger brother never knew of the arrangement but may have seen her get into the car.

    PS is dead now from an overdose. He most likely was involved in the case of missing Kevin.

    Psychic people are often correct with what they see. Tania’s body thrown about Edmonton in sewers, bones worn away by sand. Her spirit is amongst us as we remember her sweet innocent smile and her loving spirit. Amen

    Like

  25. This was a fascinating read. It should be turned into a podcast.

    I would suggest much like the podcast “Missing Richard Simmons” if it were serialized and had those audio clips in it, it would have a large audience and could help to provide some closure.

    Like

  26. Excellent write-up. It must be a whole new level of frustration to experience knowing who the killer is and not being able to change him. Thank you for sharing all of this and for not giving up.

    I really like your writing style, except for the strange hostility toward Elysia. Do you know of her harming her children or are you just judging her for not seeing them? Labeling her dysfunctional without backing up the claim with evidence is not what journalists do.

    Also, the dig about the cop with a drinking problem, is it supposed to imply he related to PS and let him off easy? Or that there was incompetence on the force? It wasn’t clear.

    Like

  27. I commend you on your efforts and your bulldog tenacity on this case. Your writing and details show how far you and the rest of the people involved have gone “above and beyond.”

    It’s awful to think that someone managed to get away with this terrible crime (or crimes) … and will never have to face punishment.

    I hope that you’re able to find the answers to all the questions you pose and that the filth involved in this is one day brought to some type of justice.

    All the best.

    Like

  28. Excellent work!

    I am the same age as Tania and I remember this story. I saw her picture up on a missing poster at a Walmart in Calgary recently.

    I hope that they solve this case one day.

    Like

  29. Excellent article. Heartbreaking.

    I don’t understand why PS can’t be named as a “person of interest”. That happens all the time with homicides today. Why does he get to hide behind this veil of secrecy?

    Like

  30. Very good read. Thank you for all your hard work on this story.

    I often think about Tania, I was the same age as her. We will never forget.

    Like

  31. This story has touched me too.

    I was heading to my grandpa’s house on the Greyhound bus when police officers believed I was Tania and questioned me and my grandmother. Several times people asked me if I was Tania and needed help.

    Have you checked if there was a cemetery nearby? Possibly a burial had occurred the day she went missing or shortly thereafter, and the ground was still thawed, allowing PS to dig again and place her body in the grave.

    Like

  32. I just read your story. Spellbinding.

    I remember the case well as I am originally from the Edmonton area.

    I was living Down East when I heard about a young missing girl from Quebec and it made me think of Tania back home. At the time, I wondered if the Quebec abduction could somehow be connected to Tania. I quickly dismissed the thought.

    Now I see that PS moved to Ontario around the time I was Down East. Surely a coincidence? — his move and another missing girl?

    Just my passing thoughts that I always wanted to share with someone.

    Like

  33. Such a sad, heart-rending story with no closure.

    I could not stop reading.

    Unfortunately there are far too many tragedies of this nature across our world happening in every country. Missing persons, young and old, who disappear seemingly without a trace.

    So well written, a truth impossible to turn away from; it leaves you genuinely mourning the loss of this little girl Tania.

    Like

  34. Thank you so much for this article! I check the internet every few years to see if there’s new information, and I was so glad to find this!

    I went to Grovenor at the time this happened, though I was a few years older than her. I remember the day she went missing my family and I were walking down the back alleys and my grandpa was looking inside garbage cans, which at the time I thought was just weird. I asked him why he was doing that and I can’t remember what he said but I know I just thought it was silly. He obviously didn’t tell me what he was actually looking for.

    Sometime after this happened (probably after they left the area) a rumor began circulating in the neighbourhood that the parents had sold her into “white slavery” to a motorcycle gang. I didn’t understand that because to me a little girl seemed like she’d be a pretty useless slave. (I was just a kid.) I now realize this was based on media reports about her family, and also probably neighbourhood gossip about their lifestyle.

    I just wanted to point out that there was (and is) no 7-11 anywhere near Grovenor. At the time, there was a small family-owned convenience store that we referred to as “Fred’s” though I don’t think that was its actual name. That was very close to the school, about a block. One other thing about that – the south end of the school is in the opposite direction of where Tania’s house was located, so it is odd that she left the school from that door, if that is indeed the case (not sure what your source was on that). There was a door on the other end of the school, facing north, and it certainly would make more sense for her to have left from that door, considering how cold it was. If you’re right about the door, perhaps she WAS going to Fred’s.

    I had NO idea there had ever even been a suspect in this case and honestly, for the last 34 years, I thought she probably HAD been sold into white slavery. I really appreciate the information in this article; so much I didn’t know! And I’m also glad somehow to know that her parents weren’t the monsters I was led to believe.

    This case affected me so much that I was always in fear of something happening to my kids, maybe more than most parents. I didn’t let them walk to school alone until they were in Junior High. It’s very sad that there will most likely never be closure to this case. Even if they find her remains it’s doubtful there would be any usable evidence remaining.

    Like

    • You’re mistaken about there not being a 7-11. The 7-11 was on Stony Plain road, near where the pedestrian bridge crosses over the ravine to Summit Drive.

      I was a Grade 2 student at Grovenor at that time. I remember eating lunch in the kitchen at home and my mom answering a phone call and asking me if I knew where Tania was, because someone (her mom?) was calling around all of the friends homes to see if she had gone to a friends’ home for lunch.

      Like

  35. I’m curious tho about something. You said PS named his daughter after Tania. Is it possible that she may know where he Is?

    God knows what he has done since then and I’m scared to even imagine. Thanks for the info.

    Like

  36. I think the police should still pursue the prime suspect and charge him. Even if they don’t have enough evidence to convict maybe just maybe he would break under pressure and reveal the location of the body or give up some other unknown information about the case. Get him to take another lie detector case. If indeed he is a homeless person perhaps the comfort and security of prison life may be appealing. Let him know that we will never stop.

    It’s very unfortunate that Tania’s family, her mother, father and brother have already passed away. It’s over 35 years since her disappearance and I would ask the investigators to never give up, never quit searching for the truth.

    Like

  37. Pingback: PS. HE’S DEAD. | Byron Christopher

  38. Thank you so much for your work in the search for truth and justice.

    I was near the same age as Tania when she was abducted (and murdered). It affected me and I always wondered what happened to her.

    Your article is thorough, honest and articulated well. I appreciate the peace it offers to devastating crimes and the vision to others in seeking the full story.
    Well done.

    Like

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  42. I came across your blog tonight by way of Google search.

    I am reading “I’ll be Gone in the Dark” by Michelle McNamara. In it, she speaks of the unsolved crime that drove her initial interest in cold cases. It got me thinking about my own fascination with them and where it began.

    It took only a moment to realize that it was the Tania Murrell disappearance. I was in grade 2 or 3 at the time in Sherwood Park. It was so close and she was close to my age. The background on her school photo was the same as mine and that made me feel like I could be next. In my own way, I began looking for clues to solve the case, searching garbage cans near my school, hoping to help in some way, to find a shred of evidence that would find her.

    I’ve never forgotten her face. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I’ve always wondered what happened to her. Over the years, I had heard rumours of drugs and biker gangs and rumours that spoke of a camping trip at Elk Island and a boy who went missing that was somehow connected.

    It wasn’t until today when I decided to Google her case and came across your post that I felt that I had a fuller picture and could probably put to rest that unease I first felt as a young girl, that worry I carried around that I could be taken too.

    As an adult of course, I don’t have those same worries, but I was more careful with my own children than I would have been had the name Tania Murrell not been floating in the corners of my brain.

    So I guess I just wanted to say “thank you.” I feel like I’ve found answers.

    Like

  43. Pingback: Missing Child: Tania Murrell | Missing in Canada

  44. P.S. Piece of …. Did he ever come back to the Edmonton area to visit or work temporarily? If so, could his work have taken him to an industrial area like Nisku? I assume you have listened to the Amber Tuccaro recording, Byron. Did that voice sound familiar? The accent sounded kind of southern Ontario border town to me. There was a tinge of not being Alberta-born in that guy’s accent. PS seems like the kind of person who would hang out in bars all his life, and the place where Amber was taken definitely has bars.

    If he had relatives in the area at the time of Tania’s disappearance, I think he could have hidden her somewhere nearby, a familiar place that he might have revisited years later, after he relocated. Visit relatives, visit that place, too.

    If what you think is correct, I do not believe this person “turned his life around”. He passed the lie detector because he is incapable of remorse, not because of alcohol.

    “He pointed out that if his Dad had killed Tania, why wasn’t he haunted by it?” There is a very simple explanation. Not everyone has a conscience.

    Like

  45. Pingback: The Spies Who Decked Me, by Byron Christopher - Easton Spectator

  46. This is good reading but tragic for the Murrells!

    Wherever Tania is … either on this Earth or in the Spirit World. Just know there is a sister who still worries and thinks about you … and loves you! I have never met you but I and my two daughters met your family and they often talked about how much you are loved and missed.

    You and your family will be forever be in our hearts!

    Like

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