Kelly Cook

15-year-old Kelly Cook went missing from her home in Alberta in 1981, considering one of the province’s most high-profile incidents.

Kelly Cook: The backup babysitter

A full-size American car came up in front of the Cooks’ house around 8:30 p.m. Kelly said her family goodbye and got into “Bill’s” car. Kelly was supposed to call home after arriving at “Bill’s” house, but she never did.

The anxious teenager entered the vehicle and was never seen again. Kelly’s mother called every prominent local establishment to see if any of the staff knew Bill after Kelly failed to contact her mother. They couldn’t vouch for the person, so they called the cops around 12:30 a.m.

Because of the circumstances surrounding Kelly’s disappearance, authorities launched a search right away. Every vehicle that passed through the area was stopped and searched. They searched the woods, ditches, barns, and other vegetation but found no trace of Kelly.

Chain Lakes Reservoir is a reservoir in Alberta where the body Kelly Cook was found. © Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Her corpse was discovered on June 28, 1981, at the edge of Chin Lake, an irrigation reservoir located two and a half hours away from Kelly’s home. Due to the extensive bone decomposition, she had to be identified using dental records. Before being lowered into the reservoir, she had been bound with rope and cinder blocks.

The autopsy revealed no signs of a sexual assault, and her corpse was fully dressed. Kelly’s death was never fully explained, but according to some reports, she was strangled to death.

The possible suspect

The sketch of the man who introduced himself to kelly as Bill Christensen (possibly the suspect). © Image Credit: Royal Canadian Mounted Police

There is only one legitimate suspect in this case: the man who claimed to be “Bill Christensen” and picked up Kelly to babysit.

A local gas station owner reported to police that a person of interest may have stopped by his store to call Kelly. The man was 5’9, in his forties, with black curly hair, lightly tanned skin, and a farmer’s appearance.

When the owner was asked to use the phone, he described the man as nasty and selfish. As the suspect dialed a local number and began talking about babysitting, the store owner peered over his shoulder.

According to the RCMP, Kelly’s murder was a well-planned crime. For example, on April 18th, a man claiming to be “Bill Christensen” contacted another girl in town and asked her to babysit. The girl declined, but gave him Kelly’s phone number. This suggests premeditation and also implies that Kelly Cook was not the intended target.

Furthermore, there are unconfirmed rumors on discussion boards about this case claiming that a man called the local school in March seeking information about a young figure skater in town who had been featured in the local newspaper. He got the girl’s phone number, and this is the girl who later gave “Bill” Kelly’s phone number.

If this is correct, it implies that the killer planned to kidnap a young local girl long before Kelly’s disappearance and death.

“There is no doubt that the suspect resided or visited the area,” RCMP Corporal Craig Green told reporters. He was acquainted with Kelly and knew her name. He also knew the layout of the city and several of its residents.”

This perplexes everyone, because if “Bill” was from Standard or the surrounding area, how could he be so certain that Kelly’s parents would not recognize him or his vehicle when he picked her up? And why was he never identified from the suspect sketch that was circulated immediately after the crime? If “Bill” was from the area, his decision to kidnap and murder a girl so close to home was certainly audacious.

“She was a good child… Kelly’s mother, Marion Cook, told the media at the time that her daughter was “extremely well in school and she had aspirations for the future. She was always that way, even when she was a baby. She was always three going on ninety. She was really intelligent.”

Final words

Despite the fact that 2,200 different suspects have been investigated, Kelly’s case remains unsolved. Given the killer’s current age, one of the cops who worked on Kelly’s case believes the case could be solved during the killer’s deathbed confession. He did, however, acknowledge that the suspect could be dead at this point.

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