After nearly 14 years of waiting, Katelyn Noble’s mother takes some comfort knowing a man has admitted to her daughter’s murder.
In 2018, Eduard Viktorovit Baranec was charged with first-degree murder related to Noble’s disappearance from the Radisson, Sask., area in August 2007. On May 21, Baranec pleaded guilty to the lesser included offence of manslaughter and offering an indignity to a body.
Leona Noble, Katelyn’s mother, hoped for a murder conviction rather than manslaughter. However, in an interview with Global News, she said she cares more about accountability and getting long-awaited answers.
“It’ll be nice when this is said and done,” Leona said. “We can just finish up and carry on, and Katelyn can rest in peace.”
Leona remembers how as a young girl, Katelyn was curious, courteous and quick to make friends. She used to walk around her neighbourhood and find small items to sell so she could buy candy.
She loved art, dancing and music — things her mother wishes she could enjoy today.
“There’s such beautiful music coming through the airwaves and she would have loved life right now,” Leona said.
At 14 years old, Katelyn moved from Mission, B.C., to Radisson, Sask., to be with her older boyfriend, Greg Friend. Leona met Baranec once, and recalls a shiver shooting up her spine.
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Leona said Baranec was the one to pick up Katelyn in Mission to move her to Saskatchewan.
“He came bounding up the stairs and grabbed her by the arm. We both looked at each other and he said to her: ‘you come right now,’” Leona said.
Leona wasn’t sure of his exact involvement, but suspected Baranec may have been involved in her daughter’s disappearance.
The mother said she was later told by Friend that he saw Baranec kiss Katelyn before she was last seen running away.
Baranec was charged with first-degree murder for Katelyn’s death while serving a life sentence.
In 2016, a New Westminster, B.C., jury found Baranec guilty of first-degree murder for stabbing death that occurred in the same year Noble disappeared.
Baranec had been hired as a contract killer to murder Amanpreet Kaur Bahia. Her three children were in the home at the time of the murder.
The investigation into Katelyn’s death involved a controversial policing technique known as a “Mr. Big” operation, according to Baranec’s lawyer, Brian Pfefferle. The approach involves undercover officers who befriend a suspect and operate a fictional criminal organization to elicit confessions from the suspect.
Pfefferle said a plea to manslaughter rather than murder means avoiding the defence’s challenge of whether or not the Mr. Big was lawful.
“This would have been a considerably protracted legal proceeding that would have involved literally weeks and weeks of court time,” Pfefferle said in an interview.
Another factor in the decision to not go to trial was to allow Katelyn’s family to seek closure without the trauma accompanied with a trial.
Sentencing is expected in September.