Canada · Massacres/Mass Murder

Man murders, dismembers, and cannibalizes 8

September 5, 1970
Creston, British Columbia, Canada
Dale Merle Nelson, reportedly high on LSD and drunk, goes on a murder/mutilation/cannibalizing spree leaving 8 dead

Shortly after midnight on September 5, Nelson visited the home of a distant relative, Shirley Wasyk, as he knew her husband would not be home. He beat Shirley with a fire extinguisher and tied her hands behind her back before collecting 2 of her 3 daughters, Charlene (8) and Tracey (7), into Tracey’s bedroom. The eldest daughter Debbie (12) untied her mother’s hands and was able to escape from her own room by breaking a window.

She ran to a neighbor’s and alerted police who arrived to find Shirley beaten to death and Tracey stabbed to death. Nelson had also reportedly cut Tracey’s abdomen open to place his head inside her body to eat the partially-digested food within her digestive tract. Charlene was found to have been released by Nelson in the woods. Unbeknownst to police at the time, Nelson was still at the scene when they left to warn other relatives in the area. Officials noticed Nelson’s car was at the scene initially but when they returned some 15 minutes later the car and Tracey’s body were missing.

Shortly after, Nelson went to the home of Isabelle St. Amand who called police reporting a man with gun. When police arrived, Isabelle, her common-law husband Ray Phipps, and their 3 sons Paul (10), Brian (7), and Roy (18 months) were found shot, each in the head. Their daughter Cathy (8) was missing.

Police evacuated families from the area for their safety and formed a search for Nelson’s truck which they found on the afternoon of September 5. In it they found a bloody hammer, and scattered around the area were the dismembered remains of Tracey’s body. Nelson was found in an old shack on September 6 and confessed to the murders. He also said Cathy was dead and pointed to where her body was left. A rope around a tree suggested she had been tied there for some time. She had also been stabbed in the back, reportedly sodomized as she died, and gutted.

Nelson was tried for the murders of Cathy Rose St. Amand and Tracey Wasyk. Although his defense attempted an insanity plea due to his intoxication from drugs and alcohol, he received a life sentence. Prosecutors said that, should he be granted parole, they will try him for the other 6 murders.

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