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Police say cold case from 1995 not connected to McArthur

A homicide cold case dating back over 20 years that was identified as possibly being connected to Bruce McArthur has now been solved, with no connection found to the convicted serial killer.

Police say a man was killed on Sept. 12, 1995 and officers found his lifeless body in an apartment on Cosburn Avenue.

The homicide unit investigated the incident and identified the victim as Dennis Joseph Colby, 47, the city’s 35th homicide that year. A post-mortem revealed the cause of death was “extreme trauma to the head, consistent with a beating.”

While numerous witnesses were interviewed and appeals for information, including a composite sketch, were sent out to the media, the case remained unsolved.

In 2016 the police’s cold case unit began to review the case and submitted items for DNA analysis to the Centre of Forensic Sciences.

When Bruce McArthur was arrested in 2018, the case was identified as one that required further review for any connection to McArthur. Investigators concluded that there were no identified links to Project Houston or Project Prism — both launched to investigate the disappearance of McArthur’s victims — or Bruce McArthur himself.

During this time, an unknown DNA profile uploaded to the National DNA data bank by the Centre of Forensic Sciences was matched to the profile of an offender.

The investigation revealed that the offender had a history of violence and been staying with Colby around the time of his death. He also strongly resembled the composite sketch that had been released to media.

Investigators say the offender died in 2015. Had he still been alive today, he would be facing second-degree murder charges in Colby’s death. As no charges will be laid, police say the suspect’s name will not be released.

Colby’s family have been notified of the outcome of the cold case.

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