Police have charged a deceased Brantford, Ont., man with the murder of a woman who went missing on the city’s east side 39 years ago.
Detectives with the Brantford Police Service say mitochondrial DNA analysis has connected the suspect with evidence seized at a Memorial Drive residence on Sept. 11, 1983, just three days after the disappearance of Mary Emma Hammond.
“As a result of the ongoing investigation, we have identified Steven Mudko as the individual believed to be responsible for the abduction and presumed murder of Mary Hammond,” staff Sgt. Kieth Tollar told reporters at a presser on June 8.
“At the time of Mary’s disappearance. Mudko was 36 years old and resided in a home on Memorial Drive in Brantford.”
Tollar said Hammond left her townhouse on Elgin Street around 3:30 a.m. on Sept. 8, 1983, to walk to work for an early morning shift at the former Buns Master Bakery at 110 Morton Avenue.
Mary’s husband, Larry, would get a call just a half an hour later from a co-worker asking why she had not arrived at work.
Investigators believe Hammond was walking north on Park Road North (now Wayne Gretzky Parkway) and passed the Massey-Ferguson factory to cut across a field towards the rear of the bakery.
“Mary’s footprints were followed to the property line at the rear of the bakery to a point where Mary cut across the field and then disappeared,” Tollar explained.
Hammond was 25 years old and a newlywed, having been married for only four months prior to her disappearance.
Mudko was 36 years of age at the time of Hammond’s disappearance and resided in a home on Memorial Drive in Brantford.
He died on June 23, 2010.
Tollar said Mudko would be arrested and stand trial for first-degree murder and abduction, if he were alive today.
The investigation is also still ongoing since the whereabouts of Mary Hammond are still unknown.
“I myself have mixed feelings about today’s announcement,” Hammond’s husband Larry told reporters.
“While we now know who is responsible for this horrific situation, it does not bring Mary back. She is still missing and lives on in us all and deserves to rest in peace.”
Branford Police Service have released historical photos of Steven Mudko and Hammond in the hopes of triggering memories that might provide additional information to further the case.
Anyone with information regarding Mary Hammond’s disappearance can reach out to a special tip line 519-756-0113 ext. 2800, or email.
Alternatively, anonymous tips can be provided to Crime Stoppers.