For retired cops, there is always one case that still keeps them up at night.
Like many ex-cops, Bob Marshall can’t stop thinking about the one that got away. In this case, the heartless killer of a young boy and the toll the case has taken on so many people.
Marshall says he has "second-guessed himself" more times than he cares to remember about his handling of the Jason McQuaker homicide.
Jason had just celebrated his 12th birthday in June 1988 when he vanished from Thunder Bay. Much of the suspicion fell on the boy’s father, Barry, who was well-known to police for several petty offences and was in the middle of a separation with his wife.
But there was no evidence — and no body — and the trail grew cold.
Marshall got involved in the case in 1991 when he arrested Barry in Winnipeg following a crime spree which included bank robberies in B.C., Alberta and Manitoba. In an interview, Barry made a stunning confession.
"I buried him. My son, he’s not missing. I buried him. I didn’t kill him. I found him dead. I didn’t know what to do. I took him and buried him out of town."
Marshall, his partner and Barry McQuaker jumped on a plane to Thunder Bay, where he led them to a remote location in the bush where the boy’s remains were unearthed.
Barry would ultimately be charged with obstructing justice and interfering with a dead body, but was never charged with the homicide. He swore up and down he only found the boy, already dead and sexually assaulted, and buried him so his wife wouldn’t find out what happened.
No arrest has ever been made. The cold case remains unsolved.
"The term closure is often over-used and may be inappropriate, but a full and proper conclusion would at least bring some small measure of justice for an innocent boy who was taken forever a quarter century ago this month," says Marshall, who ended his 27 year policing career in 2004.
"I think about the case a lot, weekly, and how nobody’s been held to account for the death of a young boy and the tremendous toll the death has taken on so many other innocent people, especially his mother and family members who were so close to him."
Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
'The dialogue has started' on missing women
Ice cream parlour? Bike shop? Submit your ideas for Esplanade Riel
Milder, but still cold
Police seek help in finding 15-year-old girl
No more overnight parking ban on snow routes
Jury finds police not guilty of misconduct
Legislature gets security upgrade
Fighting the evil within: The case for and against the Anti-Terrorism Act
Reluctant witness says cops forced lie
Portrait of Queen will be home again soon
Your weekend weather
We failed on ER fixes, WRHA says
Provincial NDP forecasts $394-M deficit
Fired lawyer sues city
Donations pouring in for family stricken by tragedy
Parker pond pegged at $35.42M
Vandalism victim not amused by police response
Hygiene products very generously donated to Harvest
First 2015 flood forecast a mixed bag
Nabbed after alleged phone theft
Free Press photo staffers vie for awards
Taking down cyber-hackers
Embrasser le succès
Recidivism and NCR
Massage association rubbed the wrong way by course
Spreading the word through song
Trending that caught Doug's eye: Celebrity species
A sorry state of affairs
Random acts of kindness