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article imageThree Toronto cold cases may be solved with arrest

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By KJ Mullins     Oct 28, 2010 in Crime
Toronto - Sixteen years to the date of a Toronto woman's murder a man finally was arrested today for her murder and that of two others.
Three women's bodies were found in the 1990's in Lake Ontario. They had three things in common-they worked in the sex trade, they were strangled and their alleged killer was arrested today.
Julianne Middleton, 23, of Toronto, Virginia Coote, 33, of Toronto and Darlene MacNeill, 35, of Toronto lived a hard life. They worked the streets of Toronto.
Three months separated the murders of Julieanne Middleton and Virginia Lee Coote in 1994. They were near Sunnyside pool. Both drowned after being strangled. They died in the water, drowning unconscious.
Three years later the body of Darlene MacNeill was found just west of Exhibition Place. She too had been strangled until unconscious and dumped into Lake Ontario. She too had walked the streets of Parkdale as a sex worker.
In 1994 a man came up as a suspect-Peter Dale MacDonald. The evidence at the time though did not support his arrest.
That name has appeared in crime cases since as well. He is currently serving life for the murder of James Campbell of Toronto. Campbell was strangled in 2000. Constable Wendy Drummond confirmed during a phone interview that the man was well known to police.
In January this year MacDonald was charged with second-degree murder for the 2000 murder of Michelle Charette, 40 in Windsor. She too had been strangled, her body left in an abandoned field.
Sixteen years later the evidence finally was able to get an arrest warrant for MacDonald for the 1990s murders. He was transported from the Kingston Penitentiary to Toronto's Court House to be formally charged Thursday morning.
Staff-Serganet Saunders said that the cold case unit at TPS worked very hard on all of the cases and is very pleased to have made the arrest today.
What was MacDonald doing during the years that the murders took place. That information is being asked of residents that may hold a key in the investigation.
"If anyone has any information regarding MacDonald back in the days of '94 and '98, we certainly would like to talk to them," Detective Steve Ryan said at a press conference this morning.
If you have information please contact Toronto Police or Crime-Stoppers.
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