Nearly 51 years after she was last seen alive, York Regional Police detectives say they finally know who killed North York teenager Yvonne Leroux, thanks to decades-old DNA evidence.
Leroux, who was 16 years old at the time of her death, was last seen alive on the night of November 29, 1972, walking in the area of Oakdale Road and Finch Avenue West in Toronto. The next morning, her body was found on a side road in King Township, 15 miles to the north. She had died from blunt force trauma to the head.
For years, no one knew who killed her, but on Tuesday police announced that a new investigative tool, along with DNA evidence preserved from the scene, had pointed detectives to Leroux’s killer: a Toronto man named Bruce Charles Cantelon. .
Cantelon, police say, committed suicide in 1974, 19 months after Leroux’s death. Investigators say the 26-year-old was known to police at the time as he had committed several violent crimes against women and had been incarcerated at various points in his life due to mental health issues.
In a news release issued Wednesday, police said that if Cantelon were still alive, he would have been charged with murder.
Deputy Chief Álvaro Almeida called the incident a “cruel and merciless murder” in a press conference.
“Despite the sad circumstances of Yvonne’s death, I am pleased to be able to provide her family with this resolution, if not closure,” Almeida said. “I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been to live all these years with a loss like that and not know, all this time, who is responsible.”
Police say dozens of investigators worked on the case over the years, and the York Regional Police Services Board had twice issued a $50,000 reward related to the case, but to no avail.
Instead, it was investigative genetic genealogy (IGG) technology, which can identify relatives of the source of crime scene DNA, police say, that led investigators to Cantelon.
“Having exhausted all traditional means of investigation in this case, in 2022, investigators turned to IGG to assist with the investigation into Yvonne’s murder,” police said in the news release. “Using suspected DNA found at the crime scene, which was fortunately secured at the time and preserved for over 50 years, a DNA profile was generated and then uploaded to public genealogy databases.”
Armed with that new information, along with a review of public and archival records as well as evidence gathered at the time Leroux’s body was found, investigators narrowed their search to Cantelon’s relatives and, ultimately, to Cantelon himself.
“[York Regional Police] “He owes his gratitude to the Leroux family for their continued support under very difficult circumstances,” police said in the news release.