The cold case of a teen who was murdered and dumped in the Assiniboine River 23 years ago is still being investigated, and Crime Stoppers is once again calling for any members of the public who may have clues regarding the person — or people — responsible.
Tania Marsden was last seen alive on her 18th birthday, Sept. 9, 1998. She was at the Gordon Downtowner Motor Hotel on Kennedy Street with friends.
Police said a bartender recalled her arriving at the hotel between 9 and 10 p.m., because he checked her status card to make sure she was 18. Marsden and her friends went their separate ways an hour later — and what happened afterward has stumped investigators since.
Marsden was scheduled to meet a social service worker the next morning, but didn’t show up. Three weeks later, her body — weighted down with a cement block — was found near the West Perimeter Bridge, in the Assiniboine River.
An autopsy determined she died from ligature asphyxiation — being strangled — and her body’s condition suggested the amount of time she’d been in the river was consistent with when she disappeared.
Const. Doug Singleton, the police coordinator with Winnipeg Crime Stoppers, told 680 CJOB there’s still not a lot of information about Marsden’s killer or killers — or a potential motive, although the way she was found in the river suggests some degree of planning at that point in the commission of the crime.
“The disposal (of her body) was definitely premeditated,” said Singleton.
“They definitely knew what they wanted to do at that point — whether or not it was a last minute sort of thing… or whether it was a crime of opportunity, we really don’t know at this point in time.”
There are, however, a few outstanding clues that police and Crime Stoppers are hoping will provide some leads all these years later.
Although Marden’s body was found without identification, the status card the bartender remembers checking was anonymously returned to Indian and Northern Affairs via Canada Post several months later.
“That could definitely be important,” said Singleton.
“The person who located it, I guess they found it somewhere and then dropped it in the mailbox, which we’re all apt to do if we find ID.
“We’d really love to hear from that person, as to where they located that ID. We know she had that identification when she was at the bar with her friends.”
Another baffling clue: police received an anonymous tip from someone who seemed to have credible knowledge of who the killer(s) might be, but the tipster never followed up.
“I’m hoping that through time, maybe fear has dissipated a little bit. Maybe that apprehension of sharing the information is gone. Even if there is some apprehension, give us a call at Crime Stoppers. We can make sure your identity is not shared with anyone,” said Singleton.
“The person who made that phone call — please, make another phone call. Obviously you have information that is very relevant to this case.
“If you have seen something, and it turns out later that what you saw is related to a crime, no matter how minor it is, please contact us. You never know how valuable that small detail could be.”
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