Toronto police officer who setup service’s first dedicated missing persons unit retires

Click to play video: 'Head of Toronto police missing persons unit retiring after more than 3 decades of service' Head of Toronto police missing persons unit retiring after more than 3 decades of service
WATCH ABOVE: Det.-Sgt. Stacy Gallant speaks with Catherine McDonald about some of the most notable cases he’s investigated over the years, especially during his 15 years in the homicide squad – Dec 27, 2019

Toronto Police Det.-Sgt. Stacy Gallant choked back tears as he recalled the moment a few weeks ago when he announced his retirement to his peers.

“That was probably the most difficult moment, telling everybody I’m leaving — that was hard,” he told Global News.

Gallant, a 31-year Toronto police veteran, said he has loved coming to work every day and is always determined to go that extra mile to solve a case but know the time is right.

READ MORE: Toronto police missing persons unit highlights historical cases in hopes of getting new tips

“Is it sad to leave? Of course it is. I’d love to solve them all, but I can’t and I have to pass it on now to somebody else.”

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Among the most memorable cases he said he has investigated, Gallant remembered his first homicide in 2005 — the case of Rose McGroarty.

“Her body was cut up into pieces unfortunately and left in the Parkdale area. That was the first homicide case I worked on. We eventually solved that,” he recalled.

“That happened right around Christmas time so I’ll never forget that case and everything that happened as a result. I think that kind of formed where I was going in homicide.”

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Family honours Ephraim Brown 10 years after he died in shooting in Toronto’s north end – Jul 31, 2017

He also said he will never forget investigating the murders of Ryerson Student Natalie Novak (who was killed in a domestic homicide) in 2006, the hit-and-run murder of Christopher Skinner in 2009, the gas-and-dash murder of gas station attendant Jayesh Prajapati in 2012. While discussing previous cases, he recalled the murder of 11-year-old Ephraim Brown.

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“They were in the process of doing the autopsy of this little boy and they were taking off his clothing. He had on the same underwear that my son has, at the time, because they were about the same age at the time and I saw that and I was like, ‘Ugh, that hurts,” said Gallant.

Five years ago, Gallant moved over to the cold case unit which is also part of the homicide squad and said he has been determined to solve old homicides.

“Janet Jessop, I speak to her — Christine Jessop’s mother — I speak to her three or four times a year,” he said.

COLD CASE FILES: 32 years later, Janet Jessop still searching for daughter’s killer

“The Tice, Gilmour families, particularly the Gilmour family, the list can go on. There are so many family names and people that I’m in contact with regularly. I wish I could solve them all.”

Nine-year-old Christine Jessop was murdered in 1984. An arrest has never been made.

Forty-five-year-old Susan Tice and 22-year-old Erin Gilmour were murdered four months apart and a few kilometres away from one another in 1983. Police said DNA links the two murders, but an arrest has never been made.

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Two years ago, Gallant was tasked with developing the missing persons unit under the guidance of the homicide squad.

COLD CASE FILES: Toronto police searching for killer linked to 2 murders from 1983

“From my perspective, and my unit’s perspective, it has been a success. We’ve changed the way we do things,” he said.

“We’ve changed the way we take occurrence reports. That, in conjunction with legislation that was introduced this past summer, that goes a long way to help us investigate missing persons,”

He emphasized how there is now a more centralized way to oversee all the missing persons cases in the city.

Gallant is set to leave the service on Tuesday. Gallant will be starting a new job with a private security company called GardaWorld in 2020. He said the company, which presently provides security guard services and cash services to clients, wants to get into doing internal investigations.

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