The mothers of Kathryn-Mary Herbert and Monica Jack today attended the second court appearance of the man charged with killing their daughters in the 1970s.
Shari Greer and Madeline Lanaro were each surrounded by about a dozen supporters as Garry Taylor Handlen, 67, made a brief video appearance in Abbotsford provincial court to have his next court date set, which is April 1.
Outside the courthouse, members of the Women’s Memorial March for Missing and Murdered Women formed a ceremonial drumming circle to bring strength and healing to the families.
Lanaro (on left in photo below) joined the circle as she was leaving the courthouse, and wiped away tears.
“That was good. That was very nice,” she said when the drumming ended.
Both mothers said they do not want to comment on the case until it is over.
Handlen was arrested and charged on Nov. 28 with the first-degree murders of Kathryn-Mary, 11, of Matsqui (which later amalgamated with Abbotsford) in 1975 and Monica, 12, of Merritt in 1978.
Kathryn-Mary was last seen in the area of Townline and Marshall roads on Sept. 24, 1975 after a friend, whom she ran into while walking home from another friend’s, doubled her part way home on his bicycle and dropped her off.
She never returned home, and her body was found on Nov. 17 of that year near Harris Road in an undeveloped area of the Matsqui First Nations.
Her skull was fractured and her jaw was broken. The autopsy was not able to confirm whether Kathryn-Mary has been sexually assaulted, although her underwear, shoes and socks were missing.
Monica vanished on May 6, 1978 while riding her bike along Highway 5A just south of Quilchena near the Nicola Ranch in Merritt, B.C.
Her remains were found on nearby Swakum Mountain in June 1995.
Police have said they have not found evidence to link Handlen to the similar murder of another Abbotsford girl – Theresa Hildebrant, 15, who went missing on May 24, 1976 and whose remains were found four years later in a shallow grave near Downes and Mt. Lehman roads, not far from her Sun Vally Crescent home.