Corrections Canada has confirmed that serial child killer Clifford Robert Olson is dying from cancer.
Known as the Beast of B.C., the 71-year-old Olson was transferred from a Quebec prison to a hospital in Laval earlier this week and may have just days to live.
For Ray King, whose son Ray King Jr. was murdered by Olson, hearing of Olson’s pending demise was welcome.
“He is going to die and it will be over. I will try and put him out of my mind, but I can’t put my son out of my mind,” said the Maple Ridge resident, who would prefer little attention be paid to Olson’s impending death from cancer.
Over several months from 1980-81, Olson abducted, raped and murdered eight girls and three boys aged between nine and 18.
Olson preyed on victims across the Lower Mainland and dumped bodies in remote areas from Chilliwack to Whistler.
The first victim, 12-year-old Christine Weller, was abducted near her Surrey home while riding her bike in November of 1980. Her body was found on Christmas Day, strangled and stabbed.
Three others were also picked up in Surrey – 13-year-old Colleen Daignault, 16-year-old Sandra Lynn Wolfsteiner and nine-year-old Simon Partington.
Daryn Johnsrude, 16, Judy Kozma, 14, and Raymond King Jr., 15, all vanished from New Westminster. Ada Anita Court, 13, and Sigrun Arnd, 18, were picked up in Coquitlam.
Louise Chartand, 17, was picked up walking in Maple Ridge and Terry Lyn Carson, 15, was found strangled in Chilliwack.
The 1982 deal securing Olson’s guilty plea – and sparing families of his victims the pain of a long trial – included a controversial $100,000 trust fund payment to his wife and infant son.
Olson led police to the undiscovered bodies of his victims.
Outraged families felt Olson profited from his crimes.
Despite being incarcerated, Olson didn’t disappear from the spotlight. He repeatedly applied for parole and was denied each of the three times – the last denial in 2010.
King blames the media for giving Olson a platform and turning him into a “folk hero.”
“I would hope people make an effort to remember all 11 of those kids who died,” King said.
“I don’t understand why such a big hoopla is being made of the fact that he’s got cancer. This is a man who is not worth the time it takes to say his name. The focus should be on the failure of the justice system.”
– with files from Jeff Nagel