‘Public the key’ to solving Sonia Varaschin murder

August 24, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Pickford

It’s a crime that shattered a family and shocked a community. To this day, it’s also a crime that, seven  years later, remains unsolved.

Questions related to Orangeville nurse Sonia Varaschin’s 2010 murder have been floating around the community for years and, with the seventh anniversary of her untimely death now on the horizon, lead investigators are still working hard to finally crack the case.

Detective Inspector Shawn Glassford of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Criminal Investigation Branch has been the investigative lead for several years. He noted that both Orangeville Police Service and OPP have followed up on “well over” 1,000 tips relating to Sonia’s murder since 2010. Despite that considerable number, he remains optimistic that the key piece of information needed to help detectives solve the case will come in.

When quizzed on whether he believed it realistic that Sonia’s killer would be brought to justice so long after the events of that fateful night, Det. Insp. Glassford answered with emphatic tenacity.

“Absolutely,” he told the Citizen. “We want to solve this case. We want to solve this for Sonia’s family and we want to solve this for the community. Is it frustrating? Yes. Is it troubling? Yes. Notwithstanding that, we want results. We want to bring whoever is responsible for this to justice. That is our goal.”

The bone-chilling story begins on Aug. 30, 2010 when Sonia was first reported missing. Later that day police recovered her Toyota Corolla, stained with blood and abandoned behind a local business near Orangeville Town Hall. In their follow-up investigation police discovered a similarly bloody scene at Sonia’s Spring Street townhouse. It was there that investigators believe Sonia was killed.

Following an extensive six-day search, a passerby spotted Sonia’s remains on Sept. 5, 2010, in a wooded area off Beech Grove Sideroad in Caledon. Her death was immediately ruled a culpable homicide.

Since then, both OPP and OPS investigators, under the guidance of Det. Insp. Glassford, have worked around the clock trying to come up with a new way to approach the case. The key may just lie with the public.

“I think the public is the key in this case, they’re the key in any case,” Det. Insp. Glassford said. “This isn’t historical, this is seven years, but in any case you need the public,” he said. “Somebody out there knows, whether it be a girlfriend, a wife.  … Somebody has information they may not even think is that important. Pick up the phone, let us be the ones to decide whether or not it’s important.”

A $50,000 reward has been offered up in the hopes of enticing anyone with information that could potentially lead to an arrest to step forward. As of press time, that reward remains unclaimed.

While he was careful not to disclose too much regarding evidence gathered during the investigation, Det. Insp. Glassford noted police were still attempting to identify the owner of DNA recovered at Sonia’s apartment shortly after the murder. He hopes that a breakthrough in DNA technology could help police in that regard.

“We’re currently taking advantage of new DNA technology with the Centre for Forensic Sciences. We’re hopeful that will generate new information for us,” he said.

He went on to repeat his belief that this wasn’t simply a “random” act of violence. He also stated that he considers Sonia’s murder an isolated incident.

“Do I believe this is a random act? No. I don’t believe that for a second. I wouldn’t think this was someone just wandering through town. Whether it was the area, Sonia or a combination of those things, there’s knowledge there from whoever did this,” he said.

He continued, “I’m not aware of any crime happening that is similar to this or could be related to this.”

While he is conscious of the fact that the years are passing by without a significant lead in the case, he said police would not stop until Sonia’s killer is off the streets for good.

“I’m no different to anyone else, the fact that this case remains unsolved is absolutely troubling to me,” Det. Insp. Glassford said. “We need to get information that leads us into the right direction. I would say we’ve received a number of tips in the recent past. We’re still hearing things from the public. We’re hopeful that we can get something that will help us piece this together to find out what happened to Sonia.”

Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Orangeville Police Service tip line at 519-941-2522, or CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477. CrimeStoppers does not subscribe to call display, meaning your identity will remain anonymous. Any information presented to CrimeStoppers leading to an arrest could result in an additional cash reward of up to $2,000.

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