'We are one day closer to finding Sonia’s killer': OPP continue investigation on anniversary
On the fifth anniversary of her disappearance, OPP say they are still looking for Sonia Varaschin’s killer.
It was on Aug. 30, 2010 that Orangeville police began investigating the disappearance Varaschin after the 42-year-old didn’t show up for work.
That same day police located Varaschin’s car abandoned behind Orangeville city hall. In the hopes of finding clues, officers went to her home – what they found was a disturbing scene.
“Regrettably (they) found a crime scene there and a few days later investigators were able to determine foul play was the cause of her disappearance,” says OPP Sgt. Peter Leon.
On Sept. 5, Varaschin’s remains were found in a wooded area near Caledon by a citizen. A homicide investigation was immediately launched and has been ongoing for the past five years.
However, police have made strides in finding Varaschin’s killer. Leon says the first piece of evidence investigators were able to find was a distinct boot print.
“Initially we were able to identify the fact the individual responsible for Sonia’s death, her killer, her murderer, what was believe to be a size 10 or 11 Windriver or Dakota style work boot and this work boot was exclusive to Mark’s Work Warehouse locations.”
Officers combed over the crime scene at Varaschin’s apartment – searching for anything that could be a clue. That’s when they found DNA they believed belonged to the killer.
“We made the killer aware that we have your DNA and it is only a matter of time before you will be caught. As a result of that announcement, we did commence a volunteering of DNA samples from members of the public, males 18 years of age and over in an identified area.”
In total, police collected more than 600 samples, all of which were sent for analysis at a forensics’ lab in Toronto. The samples didn’t lead to the break police were hoping for. Two years later, investigators offered a $50,000 reward for information leading to an arrest or conviction.
“The public has played a key and integral part in this investigation. To date, officers have received over a 1000 tips, in fact to my understanding it is closer to 1200,” Leon says.
“That being said, the lead investigator, Det. Insp. Shawn Glassfordof the OPP Criminal Investigation Branch, does believe strongly that a member of the public does have the piece of information that could lead investigators to where they need to go and that’s directly to find Sonia’s killer.”
Last year, police released surveillance video of two people they believed were witnesses in the unsolved murder. The video showed the pair at a gazebo in Alexandra Park behind Orangeville city hall at around 6 a.m. on the day of her disappearance.
Investigators hoped the two may have seen Varaschin’s vehicle in the early morning hours. Leon says the pair did come forward and spoke with investigators, but wouldn’t go into the specifics of what they may have seen.
“What those individuals were probably able to do is assist investigators with what we refer to as our investigative timeline, again filling in some of the blanks that do exist and again that is extremely helpful for our investigative team.”
Kathy Wiesener works and lives in Orangeville where Varaschin has not been forgotten.
“Everyone when you say her name, everyone knows who she is, they know he hasn't been caught or she, whoever it might be and I think everybody is still looking for that peace of mind that they may eventually catch him still.”
Ian Morris lives a few doors down from where Varaschin did and is hopeful her killer will be found.
“It's surprises me and still worries me a little, we have a dog, my wife takes her out at night sometimes when I have to work early, so it still plays on our minds,” he says.
Again, investigators are asking anyone with information to Varaschin’s disappearance or murder to contact police or anonymously Crime Stoppers.
“One of the things we have said, and sadly this investigation has marked five years since it has been commenced, is that as each day passes we are one day closer to finding Sonia’s killer.”
CTV Barrie’s Roger Klein will have more on this story tonight at six.