In January 1976, 16-year-old Pauline Brazeau visited a pizza diner in Calgary, Alberta, Canada for dinner and drinks, where she was last seen alive around three o’clock in the morning. Hours later, Pauline’s body was discovered in Cochrane, a rural city that is located approximately 22 miles from Calgary. An autopsy confirmed that Pauline’s manner of death was homicide. Brazeau was a single mother who had recently moved to Calgary from Saskatchewan. For decades, law enforcement worked to identify the person responsible for Pauline’s death, but a suspect was not identified.
In 1995 a task force investigated the cold case, and despite exhaustive efforts, the case remained unsolved. Later in 2021, the Alberta Royal Canadian Mounted Police worked with the Calgary Police Service to re-evaluate homicide investigations dating back to the 1970s. Brazeau’s murder was included in this effort and the decision to utilize forensic genetic genealogy was made in hopes that advanced DNA testing could generate new leads and solve the decades-old mystery of Pauline’s killer.
In 2022, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police submitted forensic evidence to Othram in The Woodlands, Texas. With this forensic evidence, Othram scientists used Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing® to develop a comprehensive DNA profile for the unknown suspect. After successfully completing the process, the DNA profile was delivered to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police who worked with forensic genetic genealogists from Convergence Investigative Genetic Genealogy to generate new leads in the case. The leads were returned to law enforcement investigators who continued working the case.
Empowered with new leads, investigators were able to eventually identify the unknown suspect in Brazeau's murder as 73-year-old Ronald James Edwards of Sundre, Alberta, Canada. Edwards was arrested on November 7, 2023 on murder charges consistent with the 1976 Criminal Code that was in place at the time of Brazeau’s murder. Following a Judicial Interim Release Hearing, Edwards has been remanded into custody and is scheduled to appear in the Alberta Court of Justice in Calgary on November 14, 2023.
The case is ongoing and updates will be provided as they become available.