On this week’s episode of the Dark Poutine podcast, we hear the tragic story of Shirley Anne Duguay.
In rural Prince Edward Island, on Oct. 7, 1994, a car was found abandoned, away from the main road and in a field. The licence plates were missing and there appeared to be blood spatter on the windshield and throughout the vehicle’s interior. The car was found to belong to a 32-year-old mother of five named Shirley Anne Duguay.
RCMP investigated and were told by Shirley’s family that she had not been seen in days. She’d disappeared, but thanks to evidence found by searchers, police believed that Shirley had been murdered.
Shirley’s body was found months later in a shallow grave. Douglas Leo Beamish, Duguay’s ex-common-law spouse and father of three of her children, was arrested and charged with Duguay’s murder. Some of the evidence used against Beamish had never been utilized at trial before — cat hair.
Police contacted a laboratory specializing not in forensics, to test the feline DNA found on the scene. A cat has been seen near Beamish’s home and its hair could be a match for the hair found at the crime scene.
The test included a fail-safe method of randomly testing 20 other cats from Prince Edward Island, in order to establish the degree of genetic diversity among cats in the area, to rule out the possibility that the hairs found in the jacket came from a close relative of the family cat, Snowball, or if all the cats on the island had a common ancestor, rendering the DNA test useless.
The tests revealed that the hairs did come from the cat; Beamish was subsequently convicted for the murder of Duguay.
NYC is looking for ‘bloodthirsty’ rat czar — and the job pays $228,000
Bank of Canada expected to deliver interest rate hike next week. How high will it go?
Since then, testing cat and dog hairs has been firmly established and studied, and can be admissible to court as evidence.
Beamish was convicted of second-degree murder and is serving a life sentence in an Ontario prison. His request for parole in 2013 was denied.
Crime Con 2019 is happening in New Orleans from June 7 to 9. To get 10 per cent off your CrimeCon 2019 ticket purchase, use the code POUTINE19.
R. v. Beamish, 1999 CanLII 4537 (PE SCAD)
Douglas Leo Beamish at Murderpedia
Forensic Files – Season 7, Ep 7: Purr-fect Match
The New Detectives – Season 8, Ep 3: Material Witness
The Guardian – Parole Denied
Tears of the Cheetah by Dr. Stephen J. O’Brien
Support the show: https://www.paypal.me/darkpoutine
The views, information and opinions expressed in Dark Poutine are solely those of the producer and/or the individuals involved in the production of Dark Poutine and do not necessarily represent those of Curiouscast, its affiliate Global News nor their parent company, Corus Entertainment. Curiouscast is not responsible and does not verify the accuracy of any statement made during Dark Poutine. The producers and Curiouscast assume no liability for any statement or service made in connection with this podcast.
We LOVE that you are loving the Dark Poutine podcast! If you haven’t subscribed yet — what are you waiting for?
Subscribing’s easy! Here’s how…
- Open the Apple Podcasts app, search for Dark Poutine and select it from the list of results.
- Once on the Dark Poutine page, click the “Subscribe” button to have new episodes sent to your mobile device for free.
- Click the name of an episode from the list below to listen.