Double murder remains unsolved after 20 years

By Dori Modney (@Dori_Modney on Twitter)
December 14, 2017 - 7:15am

LETHBRIDGE - For some, it's hard to believe it's been 20-years since a double murder outside of Pincher Creek.

It's hard to believe the culprit has never faced justice, and the members of two families are still left with unanswered questions.

There is still a hope that someone will provide that one last piece of sought-after evidence which could close the book on the murder of Lorraine McNab and Peter Sopow. 

So many people knew the pretty school teacher and the RCMP officer who was her boyfriend.

The story continues to surface with the hope that the conscience of the person or persons responsible for taking the two lives weighs heavier with the passing years and guilt may prompt them to step forward.

The RCMP do not deem the murders a "cold case." 

The only thing cold is the chilling details and it is particularly frustrating since one of the victims was one of their own.

 A call to the RCMP Major Crimes Unit this week, did not produce an interview - there is not much more they can say about the case.

While the victims have been laid to rest, their families and the RCMP do not rest, and want an answer as to who is responsible. 

In 2004, RCMP Sergeant Keith Pearce of the Calgary Major Crimes Unit South, stated "Police have long since considered the same suspect is responsible and that focus has not changed".

The following is a repost of information compiled relating to the Sopow-Mcnabb murders.

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It's a case that is unsolved but not forgotten.

Twenty years ago, a Southern Alberta RCMP officer and his girlfriend were killed near Pincher Creek.

Every year at this time, information about the case is revisited in hope that someone will come forward with information or evidence which will help Police bring the case to a conclusion.

On December 13th, 1997, 52-year-old Peter Sopow and his 47-year-old girlfriend, Lorraine McNab, were shot to death on her acreage just south of Pincher Creek.

The victims were ambushed and their bodies then dragged into a horse trailer on the property.

The bodies were found in that locked horse trailer just before noon on December 15th.

Sopow, a 32-year veteran of the RCMP at the time of his death, was the father of two grown children, and a Sergeant with the Fort Macleod detachment.

McNab was a kindergarten teacher at Canyon School in Pincher Creek and was the mother of two teenaged children.

She and Sopow were both divorced and had been dating for about six months.

For both of their families, 20-years is a long time to wait and wonder about who took the lives of their loved ones.

Immediately after the murders, investigators covered the crime scene with a fine-tooth comb and brought in a string of phyiscal evidence experts.

In December of 1997, an ex FBI agent who specialized in the field of metal detection was taken to the crime scene.

In early January of 1998, an officer with the Winnipeg Police service, who was an expert in Soil Sample Site Specific Scene Examination, also went over the scene.

The results of those searches and gathered forensics were never released, on the chance that evidence gathered might be needed for a trial.

Police pleaded for information about an older model red or maroon two door car, similar to an early 1970's Mercury Cougar.

The vehicle, or one similar to it, was seen in and around Lundbreck the day after the murders.

By mid January of 1998, RCMP had 685 tip files, which included information on people and events, all were investigated

Over the course of several years, numerous searches were undertaken around Southern Alberta fields and waterways, in an effort to locate the missing weapon, it was never found.

 In 2001, the RCMP received two anonymous, handwritten letters from somewhere in southern Alberta which left investigators convinced the individual had information about the murders.

However, the writer never made further contact, in spite of guarantees of anonymity.

The contents of the letters have never been revealed.

While a Pincher Creek man was arrested shortly after the murders, he was later released without charges.

Over the years, a number of RCMP officers have been tasked with combing through the Sopow-McNabb murder case file.

In 2009, former RCMP Sergeant Patrick Webb, spoke of the frustration at not being able to solve a case that involved one of their own.

Webb confirmed the RCMP do have a suspect.

All they need is that one missing piece of the puzzle.

The Sopow-McNabb case is still an active file.

In 2013, RCMP Corporal Norman Mercier confirmed a new team had been put together to investigate, "We're going through the entire file, finding out which tasks could, conceivably, be followed up on. As well, we still get leads coming in on this file. We still get firearms being turned in that have been found and are tested for evidence to support whether that weapon is, or is not, involved in the case."

When Mercier refers to firearms, it is noted that the one major piece of evidence that is still needed, is the murder weapon -- a .22 calibre rifle.

It's possible that someone can offer a clue to the whereabouts of the weapon.

If you have information, it isn't too late to come forward.

You can call the Pincher Creek RCMP Detachment at 403-627-4425, Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or the Major Crimes Division of Calgary RCMP.

(lethbridgenewsnow)

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