The country boy at the heart of four murder investigations

To his friends in northern B.C., Cody Legebokoff was a popular and well-adjusted kid

Cody Legebokoff

As an anonymous friend of suspected serial killer Cody Alan Legebokoff put it after the life of the country boy with the baby face  and the bruiser’s body began to unravel, “Cody has always been in the wrong place at the wrong time, and this could have been one of those moments.” The post, on the website of Prince George, B.C. TV station CKPG, arrived after Legebokoff, then 20, was charged last November with the first-degree murder of 15-year-old free spirit Loren Donn Leslie of the northern B.C. resource community of Fraser Lake, B.C. The post expressed outrage and disbelief at the arrest of Legebokoff, “my two-stepping partner nights we would go out dancing.” Shock gave way to horror in the Prince George region when the RCMP announced Oct. 17 three more murder charges against Legebokoff in the deaths of Jill Stacy Stuchenko, Cynthia Frances Maas, both 35, and 23-year-old Natasha Lynn Montgomery.

RCMP Insp. Brendan Fitzpatrick, head of  the province’s major crime unit, refused to use the term serial killer in an interview with Maclean’s, saying that is for the courts and experts to determine. Still, he conceded B.C. attracts more than its share of multiple murders. They include the ugly legacy of child-killer Clifford Olson, who died last month, William Pickton, convicted of the murders of six vulnerable women and suspected in the killing of dozens more, and the 18 unsolved murders on the so-called Highway of Tears, the same Prince George corridor where these four women died. Fitzpatrick said forensic evidence and Legebokoff’s young age at the time of the 18 disappearances preclude any link.

Legebokoff is an enigma. At 6’2”, 220 pounds with boyish good looks, he was a popular figure from a prosperous, respected family in Fort St. James, and in Prince George where he worked at a car dealership. He skied and snowboarded. He played minor hockey; his father coached. While the family has retreated from public view, his grandfather, Roy Goodwin, told the Vancouver Sun he was ”a perfectly normal child.” They hunted grouse together, and fished for trout, he said.

Even Doug Leslie, the father of 15-year-old Loren, said he came from a good family. Although he doesn’t know them personally, his parents and Cody’s grandparents socialized together in their younger years. “It’s got to be very hard on them, too. They’re losing a son. Not in the same way.”

Legebokoff was a heavy user of Internet social networking sites like Nexopia, calling himself 1CountryBoy in chatrooms and while trolling for girlfriends. His online life may have linked him to Loren, her father said. He speculates they met briefly in a shared circle of acquaintances in Prince George, leading to a Facebook friendship. “Then telephone, text, go for coffee—and this is the result.” Leslie, who works at the local mine, has established a foundation in his daughter’s name. Warning families of the potential risks of online relationships will be one of its priorities, he said. “That’s my obligation now.”

Fitzpatrick also warns that predators don’t just operate on lonely roads, but also in the bright spaces of the Internet. Parents need to be aware that social media sites, even forums for games like World of Warcraft are the new hunting grounds, he said. Weeks were spent examining not only the forensic evidence of the bodies, and Legebokoff’s pickup truck, but also his computer and electronics.

In this case, the investigative trail is both electronic and as obvious as tire tracks in new snow. But it began with luck: a patrol officer  from Fort St. James and another from Vanderhoof, meeting on a lonely stretch of Highway 27 that Saturday night to exchange case notes. The officer from Fort St.James noticed a truck pull out from a logging road about 9:45 p.m, in an area where wildlife poaching justified a traffic stop. The second officer arrived on scene; neither was satisfied with Legebokoff’s answers. They summoned a conservation officer from  his home, who followed the tire tracks into the forest, where Loren’s body was found just before midnight, a half-kilometre up the road.

That arrest—coupled with evidence gathered after police took the unusual step of sending Loren’s body to a forensic specialist in Pennsylvania—triggered a continuing investigation. Police agencies in B.C. and Lethbridge, Alta., where Legebokoff lived for part of 2008-2009, are tracking other major crime cases to see if there are links with Legebokoff’s whereabouts, Fitzpatrick said.

Did the arrest spare other victims? Fitzpatrick said forensics would have eventually led police to the killer. But, he conceded, “there had been no real contact with Mr. Legebokoff that would ever cause us to starting looking at him as a person of interest.”

He wasn’t on anyone’s radar in a region that has known too much loss. It was his bad luck that night to meet two officers with sound instincts—in the right place, at the right time.




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The country boy at the heart of four murder investigations

  1. Good job by the police.  Where would we be if they had been sloppy or lazy?

  2. this article is somewhat disgusting as it makes out this vile murdering psychopath was some kind of lovely person .. a country boy in the wrong place at the wrong time.. no he was in the right place to do what he wanted to do and that was kill and murder women ,, I”m starting to think they should bring back capital punishment .. serial killers Never should be allowed out of jail otherwise and put in solitary confinement,, let thier sick minds grow even more crazier if that is all possible ..

    • Serial killers are never given parole, get a grip. And the subtlety of language is lost on you– no where is this article making him out to be a lovely person.

    • Do you have any evidence whatsoever that “this vile murdering psychopath”  is the guy that committed all these crimes. The answer is no.
      Why not wait until a trial has been heard, and judgement reached. Otherwise under your thinking a trial is an unnecessary procedure, only meant for people like you , who are entitled to the presumption of innocence, and not to everybody including the one charged.
      Better yet, why not go to Libya, or Syria, or Iran and join the first street mob you see.

    •  I 100% agree with you Tikoandsandy. Them even referencing to Cody being a country boy is making him seem like he some well adjusted young man which he is very far from.And I hate how these articles talk about where he worked and that he
      used to ski and snowboard, these activities don’t make him a good
      person!! Even if he didn’t kill these 3 other girls, he is extremely guilty of killing Loren and should rot in jail for the rest of this life. Natasha was a friend of mine from high school and I hope for her family and friends sake Cody will confess and not put these poor families through anymore pain!!

  3. If Cody was your best friend… your two stepping partner… your fishing buddy .. or the Guy you hungout with on weekends…. grew up with…. you would be trying to defend him to because you would feel he would have done the same for you… I am so sorry to all these family’s who have lost there loved ones.. but let the courts deside who’s to blame

    • You know, i was pretty good friends with Cody when i was 18…infact i could have VERY well been one of these women. At the same time i think to myself… Where did this come from. He was not that kind of person believe me. He was a very nice guy. I worked with him and we would always party together and hang out after work.

  4. If this kid was brown, the story would be written quite differently, and his entire brown community would be held to account for his actions. But, this kid is white, so the story goes on to suggest that he had an idyllic life, and somehow became unhinged from his idyllic life and community – either that, or the whole story becomes under reported. These types of news “stories” are one reason why jurors aren’t permitted to follow news accounts of cases they’ve been selected as jurors for. News media is a business that sells palatable accounts of news to an audience.

    • What this kid has allegedly done is vile.  The report isn’t trying to tone down what he has done…it is trying to underscore how shockingly normal this young predator appeared to be.  It also calls attention to the fact that people need to be more guarded when it comes to social media.  I am more than sympathetic to racial issues…because they do happen, even in a wonderfully multicultural country like Canada.  But this is in no way a race issue, so I have no idea why you are going there…

      • Okay, within what context do “you” define shockingly normal? Move out to northern B.C., or better yet, read the postings online in the P.G. Citizen concerning aboriginal topics including aboriginal people and crime, as opposed to white people and crime. Just because you’re unable to see the picture emerge from your vantage point, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Oh, and I don’t need your over sympathy concerning racial issues in this country.

    • why does everything have to be a race issue. foccus on the fact he murdered a girl. what a selfish comment.

  5. Unbelievable quote:

    “He had a good upbringing — everything was perfect,” said Legebokoff’s grandfather Roy Goodwin. “I hunted with him. I fished with him. We did everything and he was a perfectly normal child.

    “He was no different than you or I when we were younger.”

    Well, I’m not trying to pick an argument with those who will be angered by my remarks and prefer to defend the slaughtering of animals, than admit the truth about the taking of innocent life! But it needs to be said that NOT everyone goes hunting and fishing…we do NOT all have the same upbringing! We don’t all get taught that killing in some instances is ‘acceptable’ because you ‘get away with it’, or ‘learn’ to shut down the feelings of empathy that encourage mercy, compassion and caring for the vulnerable (human or non-human animal)!

    I don’t believe for a minute that killing of any kind comes naturally to a ‘normal’ person. Not all hunters are going to choose to dominate other humans, obviously, but many killers are allegedly drawn to harming animals before they turn to people. The fact that this kid hunted and fished, and that that isn’t even noted as an act of extreme power-over and dominance in reporting like this on a serial killer, makes one wonder how many other ‘blind spots’ cloud such investigations.

    To the friends, family, and community of this man’s victims, and to his own, my heartfelt condolensces on your loss.

  6. Although I understand that people are disgusted by the descriptions of how ‘normal’ people around him thought this guy was – but there is a point here for everyone to take from this. We all want to think that our sixth senses would kick in to prevent something terrible from happening to us – call it intuition or whatever causes the hair to raise on the back of your neck seemingly without reason. These details about the murderer, assuming they got the right guy, teach us lessons about what predators can look and be like – what walks of life they may come from. I think most of us imagine sociopaths to be socially inept, or have obviously troubled childhoods. We imagine that even if someone can hide who they are from their friends, their parents and siblings, must have an inkling, that something’s off. This case is saying is that this is not necessarily true. Take heed of the lesson. Stay safe everyone.

  7. nobody is defending him ! its just a simple fact that u can never juge a book buy its coveer , he was good looking popular smart athletic ….. all parents should teech there children about the dangers of the internet and anybody can be a killer pretty face has nothing to do with it

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