Monica Jack’s younger sister Liz Kraus remembers her as beautiful, loving, caring – and her protector.
“Monica took care of me all the time, not letting anyone hurt me,” said Kraus in an interview with APTN News.
“Putting Handlen away will be a long time dream of mine – to take care of her as she took care of me.”
It was an emotional first week at Monica Jack’s murder trial in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver.
The jury heard a police recording of Garry Taylor Handlen from 2014 telling an undercover officer that he had possibly killed the 12-year old Jacks 40 years ago.
The alleged confession was part of an elaborate RCMP operation where Handlen believed the undercover cop was ‘the boss’ of a fictitious crime organization.
“I remember picking up a broad one time. Havin’ sex. Then I just lost it for some reason.” Handlen told him. “I think I strangled her. I’m not sure.
“All I know is she was Indian.”
Handlen, now in his 70’s, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, but Kraus hopes he’ll change his mind.
“He has kept this secret for many years,” said Kraus. “I hope that he finally has a tiny bit of remorse and will let this all be over quickly.”
Acording to media reports the trial has heard that on May 6, 1978, Monica Rose Jack was riding her bike home along Highway 5A near Merritt.
She lived with her mother and siblings on Quilchena reserve on Nicola Lake.
Monica’s bicycle was found the next day near a pullout by the lake.
In the 90 minute video tape, Handlen told the officer, “I just grabbed her. Threw her bike in the lake, grabbed her, took her in the camper and went up the hill.”
The officer asked Handlen what he did with the body.
“I think I just threw it behind a log,” Handlen said.
“I didn’t bury it. Just put it, uh, a clearing there. There was a log there, and I just put it behind a log.”
Kraus says she and her family knew about Handlen’s confession long before the trial.
“When I heard what he did to her it made me sick,” said Kraus.
“I couldn’t breathe and I cried for days.”
“I still cry today because losing her was the worst thing that ever happened to me.”
Liz was 11-years old when her sister went missing. She had last seen Monica as she passed her along the highway while driving with her mother, Madeline.
In the family’s station wagon, she asked Monica if she wanted a drive, but she declined.
“She never made it home,” said Kraus.
“We searched for her for weeks.”
It wasn’t until 17 years later that Monica’s remains were discovered by forestry workers about 20 kilometres from where her bike was found.
Dental records confirmed it was her.
And it took another two decades before Handlen was finally charged for Monica’s murder.
“It’s taken a very long time, but I’m positive he’ll be convicted,” said Kraus.
The trial is expected to last 10 weeks.