EDMONTON — For the first time in nearly five-and-a-half years, new details have emerged about what might have happened to Lyle and Marie McCann, the St. Albert couple last seen in July 2010 on their way to a family gathering in British Columbia.
According to the Crown’s summary of facts, forensic evidence ties Travis Vader, the lone suspect in the couple’s disappearance, to their SUV.
“Items in the SUV are consistent with trauma to the McCanns,” the summary says, “including the blood of Marie McCann. Lyle McCann’s hat with bullet hole in it.”
The summary also alleges Vader used the couple’s cell phone the day they went missing.
The documents were previously under a publication ban. They were entered in court as part of an abuse of process hearing to determine if murder charges against Vader should be stayed.
Lyle and Marie McCann were last seen on July 3, 2010. Surveillance video showed them fuelling up their motorhome at the St. Albert Gas Bar at about 9:25 a.m.
Two days later, the burned-out motorhome was found at the Minnow Lake campground near Edson. There was no record of the couple staying there.
On July 16, their SUV, which they had been towing behind the motorhome, was found at another site about 24 kilometres east of Edson.
TIMELINE: Disappearance of Lyle and Marie McCann
Vader, 43, was first charged with murder two years after the McCann’s disappearance. One month before the trial was set to begin in April 2014, the Crown stayed the charges. The chief Crown prosecutor said RCMP hadn’t handed over all the required documents to the defence, calling it a “disclosure fiasco.”
The charges were brought back nine months later and Vader is scheduled for trial in March 2016.
His lawyer is trying to have the long-running case thrown out. He argues problems with disclosure from police and the Crown amount to an abuse of process.
“The Crown’s case is dependent upon circumstantial evidence, motive and exclusive opportunity, forensic evidence and post offence conduct evidence,” the case summary reads.
None of the allegations made by the Crown has been proven in court. The Crown states that the defence “does not admit these facts.”
With files from Kendra Slugoski, Global News and The Canadian Press.