With those words, Toronto Police admitted this month the investigation into the 1990 disappearance of local resident Elizabeth Bain has come to an end.
Bain, whose body has never been found, was last seen on June 19 of that year by the tennis courts of the University of Toronto’s Scarborough campus. A car with traces of her blood was found abandoned a few days later.
After Robert Baltovich, a man originally found guilty of second degree murder in the case was acquitted this past April because of insufficient evidence to convict him, the investigation could no longer continue, says Brian Raybould, Toronto’s head of homicide.
“We were all set for the new trial, some of the witnesses just were no longer available and we couldn’t proceed,” he said. “But it is a solved case.”
The news did not come as a surprise to Ricardo Bain, Elizabeth’s father.
“We lost everything we had when the person that was accused was exonerated,” said Bain, with watery eyes. “Officially, it [the case] may be closed, but it’s still subject to her body being found.”
Speaking from the front door of the Highland Creek home he and his wife, Julita, shared with Elizabeth until her disappearance 18 years ago, Bain avoided saying Baltovich’s name.
He added many of the officers who worked on his daughter’s homicide investigation have moved on from the force, but Raybould was there from the beginning.
“[Brian Raybould] is the only person in the force today that was here the day after she went missing,” Bain said, looking towards the driveway.
The father understands it’s unlikely his daughter’s remains will ever be found but holds out hope that maybe one day her body will be discovered by accident.
Brian King, a private investigator hired by Baltovich in 1993 after his first murder trial, says Toronto Police botched the investigation.
“It was obvious, for whatever reason, that the police, who had the resources and manpower, did not follow up diligently on alternative suspects and followed a classic tunnel vision in focusing on Robert Baltovich,” King said this week.
Also, he contends the Toronto Police did not fully understand the evidence, a lot of which didn’t come out until Baltovich’s first trial. They also ignored important witnesses that could have changed the outcome of the first trial, one that resulted in a conviction for second-degree murder.
Despite Baltovich’s recent acquittal, King says the police still believe the result of the first trial was fair.
“Certainly my belief is that the police and Crown still do not think they had the wrong person despite the fact no evidence was called at the retrial,” King said.
Because of the way the case was handled, King says Canada’s justice system is in need of a “major overhaul.” He says he has always believed Baltovich was innocent.
“I spent 18 years on Rob’s case and can tell you that that man – just a boy when we started – never lied to me once, never showed any sign of aggression and acted with dignity throughout the entire ordeal,” he said.
Bain says his daughter’s memory is still strong although her case has been closed.
“This doesn’t mean she’s been forgotten.”