SYDNEY, N.S. — Nova Scotia police officers worked for years to solve a brutal small-town murder, watched over by a huge photo of the victim — an 82-year-old Second World War veteran whose image on the wall served as daily motivation for catching his killer.
The decade-long investigation into the death of Harold "Buster" Slaunwhite culminated Thursday with 49-year-old Raymond Glenn Farrow of Glace Bay being charged with first-degree murder.
"Every day when those folks went to work, that photo of Mr. Slaunwhite was the first thing facing them when they walked through the door," said Cape Breton Region Police Chief Peter McIsaac.
"It was a reminder that this is all about finding justice for Mr. Slaunwhite and his family for the vicious, horrible crime that happened."
Slaunwhite was found dead in his Dominion home by a relative on Sept. 10, 2006.
In 2013, McIsaac put together a team of roughly 10 Cape Breton Regional Police and RCMP officers to jointly tackle the "complicated" cold case.
"They basically went back to square one. They looked at all the evidence going right back to the original day," he said, adding that dozens of investigators have been assigned to the file over the years.
He said forensic evidence is what led to the murder charge, although he would not elaborate.
"Forensics was the key in this. Through forensics, we were able to identify an individual, and as a result of a number of techniques used in the investigative process, we were able to lay a charge," said McIsaac.
"I can tell you that as police chief, I feel we have a really strong case going to court and that's significantly important."
McIsaac said he had an emotional meeting with Slaunwhite's family on Wednesday, adding that he hopes the charge brings some closure to the small, tight-knit coastal community of roughly 1,900 people.
"Mr. Slaunwhite was very well-known in the community of Dominion. I believe he lived there his whole life," said McIsaac.
"It was quite shocking not only for the family but for the entire community. Everybody knows everybody there, so I hope this brings some closure for the family and the folks in Dominion."
— By Aly Thomson in Halifax
The Canadian Press