Reports say that serial killer Clifford Olson has died. Olson had served almost 30 years in prison for abducting, raping and murdering eight girls and three boys in British Columbia from 1980-81.
News of his death has been reported by several media outlets, and by a family member of one of Olson’s victims who said she received the news from Corrections Canada.
His death was later confirmed by federal government officials.
The 71-year-old Olson was known as the “Beast of B.C.”
Over a week ago, Corrections Canada first reported that Olson was dying from cancer, after he was transported from prison to a hospital in Laval.
(with files from Jeff Nagel)
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.
During his murder spree Olson lived in an apartment in Surrey on King George Highway and then later at one in Coquitlam.
Olson was arrested near Ucluelet in the summer of 1981 in a rented car with two female hitchhikers.
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.
Prosecutors defended the arrangement as one that ensured he went to jail and did not run the real risk that he might be acquitted.
Olson had been in and out of jail for decades of lesser offences before turning to sadistic sex crimes.
In recent years, fresh controversy surfaced when it was made public that Olson – along with other prisoners – was receiving in trust $1,170 a month in federal pension benefits while behind bars.
The federal government vowed last year to strip federal inmates of old-age pensions while they’re in jail. Benefits would resume on release if the change is enacted amid other justice system reforms.
Olson’s case also inspired calls to eliminate the faint-hope clause that guaranteed him a parole hearing in 1997, after 15 years.
He was denied – the parole board rated him a high risk to kill again – and Ottawa banned the clause’s use by future serial killers.
Olson was last denied parole in 2010 and said he would not re-apply.
Families had dreaded having to fight his release every two years.