Exclusive: Ottawa police arrest man they believe could be serial killer

Ottawa police have arrested a man they believe is responsible for murders of at least two women in the city.

By Kenneth Jackson
APTN National News
Ottawa police have arrested a man they believe is responsible for murders of at least two women in the city.

The man was taken into police custody Wednesday in connection to the deaths of Pamela Kosmack, 39, and Leanne Lawson, 23, according to the family of Kosmack.

Investigators also believe he could be responsible for other unsolved murders in Ottawa.

Marc Leduc has been charged with two counts of first degree murder.

Leduc was removed from Ottawa’s local detention centre where he is facing sexual assault charges that happened in November when a young woman was attacked with a knife.

APTN National News has learned that police told the Kosmack family they knew Leduc was the alleged killer about three weeks ago after his DNA was linked to Kosmack.

It’s believed investigators linked Lawson Leduc afterwards, also through DNA.

Kosmack’s body was discovered June 4, 2008 next to a bike path in the west end of Ottawa.

Lawson was found September 2, 2011 behind a building in the downtown area.

Both women were killed in the area they lived in. Kosmack had an apartment nearby, while Lawson stayed at a local shelter.

A few weeks before her death Kosmack told her family she wanted to get clean, but there wasn’t a treatment centre bed available.

The Kosmack family were told by police Monday night that officers had finally solved the murder of a woman fondly known in her family as “the Rose.”

“(The detective) basically said it’s over. We’ve been able to solve this case. We know who he is. It’s over,” said Darrin Murch, husband of Cindy Murch, the younger sister of Pam.

Kosmack’s mother Gail Brown and Cindy broke down in tears.

Then police said the suspect was going to be charged with Lawson’s murder and possibly others in the city. Police said about a year ago they believed a serial killer was preying on vulnerable women in the city. There was a pattern found in the killings but police wouldn’t say what it was or who the victims were.

There are at least two unsolved murders of First Nation women who were Ottawa residents. Kelly Morrisseau was killed in 2006, while Jennifer Stewart was found dead in 2010. Both were stabbed to death.

Kosmack was beaten and choked to death.

For the Kosmack’s, the arrest is something they’ve been waiting for.

Police told the family in December they were close to making an arrest. Police said they were waiting on a DNA match and had a good idea who the killer was. When pressed if police were worried the potential suspect might take off police assured the family the man was already in jail somewhere.

But police waited several weeks to tell the family they had their guy. In fact, when the Kosmack family called them to find out about the DNA test they were told it wasn’t the guy.

All that didn’t matter Monday evening.

“First, it was shocking, tears were flowing like crazy,” said Cindy Monday night in an interview with APTN. “I don’t even know there is a word out there to describe how I was feeling. They got the guy. They solved it. I was happy.”

The family immediately wanted answers on who the man is and why he did it, but police said those answers would come.

“I wanted answers on why he did it. How did you know my sister, how did you approach my sister and why?” said Cindy.

Police said they didn’t have motive yet and didn’t know how the suspect knew Pamela.

APTN held off on publishing at the request of the family who said police still needed to make the arrest.

The suspect was supposed to be arrested Tuesday but police told the family “paper work” pushed it to Wednesday.

Next, APTN will tell the story of how a Six Nations community reached out to the Kosmack’s and gave them hope when they had none in sight.

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Producer Nation to Nation / Ottawa

Kenneth is a journalist with nearly two decades of reporting experience who focuses on crime and social issues, including child welfare and wrongful convictions. He has worked out of APTN’s Ottawa bureau since October 2012.