Global News crime reporter Nancy Hixt shares new information and insight into cases from the past two seasons in this special episode of Crime Beat.
Listen to updates and insights to the following cases:
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The boy who overcame the odds
The final homecoming of Lukas Strasser-Hird
The boy who fell through the cracks
Darkness in the Pass
The Brentwood five massacre
After the release of Crime Beat: Daniel, silenced at 26 days, crime reporter Nancy Hixt received countless messages from listeners who reached out about the case—including many who knew Shelby Herchak, Daniel's mother, at that time.
In an update to this story--we share with you a new perspective on baby Daniel’s story--from another person who has been impacted by his death.
On this episode of the Global News podcast Crime Beat, crime reporter Nancy Hixt shares a story of a child whose life was silenced, snuffed out and stolen-- so young he never had a chance.
In the summer of 2010, EMS were called to a Calgary home where an 18-year-old single mom, Shelby Herchak, lived with her parents and her baby.
The infant, just 26 days old, was rushed to hospital.
But baby Daniel Herchak’s injuries were so severe, he died hours later.
At a media conference soon after, Calgary police stated the cause of death was determined to be blunt force trauma to the head. Officers said Daniel’s injuries were believed to be non-accidental in nature.
Police formally interviewed Herchak twice and said her story changed each time--and the explanations didn’t add up when compared to the evidence.
14 days after baby Daniel died, his mother was charged with second-degree murder.
But the case would take several major turns.
Herchak had bail granted and revoked several times.
Then, in September of 2012, the trial date was abandoned and the case was temporarily put on hold--while some of the work done by the medical examiner, in this case, was reviewed.
Alberta Justice ordered an independent external review panel to look at 14 of Dr. Evan Matshes’ cases.
The panel found his findings “unreasonable” in 13 of those 14 cases.
In baby Daniel's case, the panel agreed with the finding of homicide, and the cause of death-- but deemed his findings unreasonable because he noted there were signs of prior abuse.
Then, that government review-- was called into question.
A Queen’s Bench Justice ruled the government review was unfair and quashed the results. The judge also ordered Alberta Justice to pay for a large portion of Matshes legal costs.
In this episode, Dr. Matshes speaks to Hixt about the review. It’s the first time he’s ever spoken to a reporter about the investigation and he said he wanted to set the record straight.
Because of the controversy surrounding the government review another pathologist provided expertise in the Herchak case instead of Matshes.
They came up with the same findings: it was deemed a homicide and the cause of death was blunt force head trauma.
Daniel suffered two fractures to the skull, extensive bleeding, bruising to the head and face, bruising and swelling of the brain, nerve damage along the spine, bruising to the chest abdomen and back and hemorrhaging to both eyes
Then, on the eve of her trial, Shelby Herchak pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter.
She was sentenced to five and a half years in jail but with credit for time in custody pre-trial, she had just two and a half left to serve.
It was only during that time in prison, the Herchak finally shed light on what happened that fateful morning.
Hear those admissions, along with an exclusive interview with the primary investigator in this case in this episode of Crime Beat: Daniel, silenced at 26 days.
On this episode of the Global News podcast Crime Beat, crime reporter Nancy Hixt shares the story of a man who became the victim of a senseless crime and the unfortunate hands life dealt him throughout his life.
This case began, in the spring of 2014, when the co-manager of a Calgary Walmart was closing up shop and getting ready to head home.
As he walked out to the parking lot with several coworkers, they spotted a man on a nearby bench who looked to be in medical distress.
A closer look revealed the man was unconscious and lying in a pool of blood.
The store manager called 911.
Police and EMS arrived within minutes.
The man was badly beaten and had been stabbed twice.
He was rushed to hospital in serious, life-threatening condition but later died.
An autopsy revealed he died from a loss of blood caused by the stab wounds.
The victim was Gabriel Okeynan, 45, a father of four and his death became a homicide investigation.
The question was, who did this to him, and why?
This is a case that highlights what the detective in charge of this case refers to as “good old fashioned police work.”
Follow along as police investigated a trail of evidence and unravelled a complicated series of events to solve this case.
It’s the story about the paths we choose...and the paths that choose us--and how every decision we make impacts our lives.
This episode begins with an investigation that rocked Alberta's foster care system.
Garry Prokopishin took in troubled teenage boys: kids with behavioural and substance abuse issues. His foster home was considered a last resort for teens who had nowhere else to go.
Those boys described having all the freedom in the world at the Prokopishin’s. They were allowed to smoke, they could have friends over, party, go out and not get in trouble.
Prokopishin also took them out for dinner and drinks and made the boys feel special.
A local association recognized him for his tireless efforts with boys, naming him “foster parent of the year."
By 2009, Prokopishin had been operating a foster home for nearly 20 years and during that time 55 teenage boys had come under his care.
Then, one young man came forward alleging sexual abuse.
Before long, police revealed that abuse went beyond just one victim.
The court process revealed Prokopishin used money and threats to manipulate the boys into keeping the abuse a secret for years.
But what set these young boys on a path that led to the Prokopishin home in the first place?
In covering this case, Hixt came to meet one of the young victims who revealed the abuse went much deeper.
That’s what set the stage for his time with Prokopishin, who preyed on his vulnerability.
Follow the shocking turns this case took as Nancy Hixt shares the story of young boy who was abandoned by the very people who were supposed to show him unconditional love and left him wanting a loving home.
In this episode, Global News crime reporter Nancy Hixt, turns to the experts including police, judges and lawyers, to answer your questions about crime, the courts and COVID-19 -- and what it all means for your safety.
The novel coronavirus has affected all of us.
Many have lost loved ones, businesses have closed, thousands have lost their jobs.
People are asked to stay home wherever possible, to self-isolate and to maintain social distancing.
With that, there are added strains on many relationships.
Advocacy groups are seeing increased rates of domestic and sexual violence -- in some areas, the number of reported incidents has tripled.
Others, can’t avoid going out -- including essential service providers like doctors, nurses and hospital staff.
That also includes those working to maintain public safety during a time of heightened anxiety.
Police are experiencing new challenges and are noticing a change in the types of crimes they’re being asked to investigate.
With more people working from home, house break-ins are down, but many closed businesses have been left more vulnerable and commercial break-ins are on the rise.
There have also been cases where COVID-19 has been used as a weapon against police, in the form of coughing and spitting on first-responders.
Experts note one silver lining in this difficult time--and that is the increased use of technology to keep the wheels of justice moving.
Video conferencing and teleconferencing is being used whenever possible to deal with bail, sentencing hearings and even trials.
Other court cases are being delayed because of the need to follow social distancing and limits on people gathered in one place, including jury trials.
That’s raised concerns about an already strained Canadian justice system and what that means for keeping up with time limits imposed by the Supreme Court of Canada on how long a case can take from start to finish.
On this episode of the Global News podcastCrime Beat, crime reporter Nancy Hixt brings us to Part 3 of her special series, the Brentwood five massacre.
This episode takes an in-depth look at what it means to be found not criminally responsible (NCR) in Canada.
Carol de Delley understands the anguish of what NCR can mean for the family of a victim, as few others can. She lost her son, Timothy McLean, in one of the most high profile cases in Canadian history where the killer was found NCR.
In 2008, McLean was brutally attacked by a stranger—a man who sat next to him as they rode a Greyhound bus.
McLean was stabbed more than 100 times. He was mutilated and cannibalized.
Vince Li was charged with second-degree murder
Less than a year later, he was found not criminally responsible for his actions.
Just eight years after that, Vince Li (who changed his name to Will Baker) was granted an absolute discharge.
That ruling gave him complete freedom. He never has to receive treatment or take medication again—if he chooses not to.
The families of the Brentwood five are concerned the same thing that happened to McLean’s killer will happen to the man who killed their five children in the Spring of 2014.
Matthew de Grood was originally charged with five counts of first-degree murder but was later deemed to be NCR for the stabbing deaths of Lawrence Hong, Kaiti Perras, Jordan Segura, Josh Hunter and Zackariah Rathwell.
The judge ruled de Grood was suffering from a mental disorder that rendered him incapable of knowing that his actions were wrong when committed the worst mass killing in Calgary’s history.
The finding meant de Grood would not go to prison and he would not have a criminal record.
He was no longer a part of the Canadian criminal justice system.
Instead, he was moved to the healthcare system.
De Grood’s case is assessed on a yearly basis by the Alberta Review Board (ARB) and each year the board has three options: to continue his treatment in a secure facility, to grant him a conditional discharge or to grant him an absolute discharge.
In the conclusion of “the Brentwood five massacre” you’ll hear from the families of these five victims, and from Timothy McLean’s mother. They are working together to lobby for a change in Canadian legislation so killers deemed to be NCR would be mandated to continue their treatment and monitoring indefinitely.
Lawrence Hong, Kaiti Perras, Jordan Segura, Josh Hunter and Zackariah Rathwell were a group of talented young people with promising futures.
On this episode of the Global News podcast Crime Beat, crime reporter Nancy Hixt brings us to Part 2 of her special series, the Brentwood five massacre.
What started out as a party to mark the end of classes at the University of Calgary ended in a horrific tragedy.
It happened quickly and without warning.
In less than a minute the five victims were stabbed in the biggest mass killing in Calgary’s history.
Police arrived on the scene less than five minutes after the first call to 911.
To add to the complexity of the case, investigators quickly learned the suspect was the son of one of their own.
The accused was the 22-year-old son of a veteran, high ranking officer with the Calgary Police Service and would soon be charged with five counts of first-degree murder.
But what led to such a horrific and violent attack?
On April 14, 2014, a group of friends had a small get-together at their home near the University of Calgary campus in the northwest neighbourhood of Brentwood.
Five young people shared a small, grey-and-blue split-level house on a quiet block on Butler Crescent.
The house was a well-known rental for university students that many affectionately called the “Butler Mansion.”
It was a relatively small gathering, with many of those invited having gone to junior high or high school together. The rest knew each other from university.
It was an amazing group of young people that included an accomplished dancer, an aspiring urban planner, two talented musicians, and a young man who was well on his way to becoming a humanitarian.
For the most part, the mood of the party was laid back and relaxed.
No one could have predicted the terrifying turn the night would take and how quickly it would all unravel.
It was a day that left a scar on the soul of the city -- the biggest mass killing in Calgary’s history.
On this episode of the Global News podcast Crime Beat, crime reporter Nancy Hixt looks the Brentwood five massacre.
On this episode Global News crime reporter Nancy Hixt is joined by an investigator who’s worked on many of the high profile cases featured on Crime Beat.
In this special conversation with retired homicide Det. Tom Barrow, the veteran officer opens up in a raw, intimate way, and provides new insight into the demons that continue to haunt him.
Listen to this episode now for exclusive behind the scenes details on several cases we’ve covered on the show and ones we’ll be profiling in the coming months.
Nancy Hixt shares a story that highlights how fragile life can be.
On a crisp summer evening in August 2014, a young woman was enjoying a night out with some friends in downtown Calgary.
Natasha Farah, 26, was originally from Toronto, but came to Calgary a year earlier for work and to further her education.
That night, Farah was feeling especially nostalgic and had a long heart-to-heart with her best friend and also called her mother back home in Toronto.
Neither of them realized how precious those talks would later become.
That night, the group of friends stayed right until closing time, and after that, they kept visiting out front of the club, not wanting the night to end.
That’s when gunfire erupted.
A series of shots were fired into the air — and then into the crowd.
One of those bullets hit and killed Farah – an innocent bystander.
Witnesses watched as the gunman took off in a getaway car.
Follow along to learn how detectives and forensic crime scene investigators worked together to track the killer.
In 2002, Lisa was 19 and working several jobs to put herself through university. One of which was at a Calgary tanning salon. Lisa is not her real name. Her identity is protected by a court-imposed publication ban.
She is smart and a hard worker, and it appeared she made a good impression on the owners of the salon.
After just a couple of months, she was offered an incredible opportunity -- the chance to manage her own store.
She was asked to meet with the owner’s nephew one evening after work to go over details of the job.
That meeting seemed to go smoothly until right before she was about to leave.
Learn the shocking details of the night that left her paralyzed with fear – and hear why Lisa has been forced to relive the trauma over and over again.
On this episode of the Global News podcast Crime Beat, crime reporter Nancy Hixt shares the story of a young woman who was presented with a golden opportunity -- instead, it would tarnish her whole life.
At 29 years old, Lisa Mitchell had a lot on her plate. Lisa and her common-law husband, Allan Shyback, had two children.
In the fall of 2012, she juggled two jobs to try to make ends meet and provide for her family.
Then one day-- she disappeared-- leaving her common-law husband and two children behind.
The only clues were a few short emails and a cryptic voicemail to her mother.
For more than two years, her mother held out hope Lisa would return.
On this episode of the Global News podcast Crime Beat, crime reporter Nancy Hixt shares the shocking twist this case took. Follow along as investigators work to uncover the mystery behind Lisa's disappearance.
On this special year-end episode of Crime Beat, Global News crime reporter Nancy Hixt is joined by L.A. Times journalist and Pulitzer Prize finalist Christopher Goffard, who is the reporter and host of two podcasts, Dirty John and Detective Trapp.
Nancy and Christopher pull back the curtain on crime reporting in a way that only two people who have covered this beat can.
They talk crime and justice, and provide a look at how two journalists work to uncover the truth.
18-year-old, Lukas Strasser-Hird had aspirations of becoming a trauma surgeon.
Instead, on November 23, 2013, he laid on an operating table, as a trauma surgeon worked to try and save his life.
He was out at a nightclub, celebrating his return from a year studying abroad, when he became the victim of a savage attack.
It took mere minutes for a group of guys to swarm him.
He was kicked, stabbed and beaten beyond recognition.
It was so hard to comprehend how this happened to Lukas-- and over what?
All he did was defend a stranger.
Police had their work cut out for them-- with so many involved in the attack... it was a daunting task.
To make matters worse...the savage swarming was not captured on surveillance video…
Would there ever be justice for Lukas?
On this episode of the Global News podcast Crime Beat, crime reporter Nancy Hixt concludes her two-part series, and follows along as his family was dealt a series of debilitating blows in their search for justice in his case.
Follow the emotional rollercoaster Lukas’ loved ones have been on for more than six years.
At 18, Lukas Strasser-Hird’s future was bright. After a year studying abroad, he had aspirations to become a doctor.
The day he arrived back in Calgary, he went out with friends to celebrate his homecoming.
It was a fun night, until last-call.
No one could have predicted how dangerous the situation was about to become.
It’s a story that will leave you questioning what the person next to you at a bar is capable of.
On this episode of the Global News podcast Crime Beat, crime reporter Nancy Hixt begins a two-part series on a case that devastated a Calgary family.
Maryam Rashidi’s life focused on creating opportunities for her son.
But in 2015, both Rashidi and her husband were laid off from their jobs in the oil and gas industry.
June 7, 2015, was her fourth shift working at a Calgary gas station — a job she took to make ends meet.
That morning, Rashidi said goodbye to her husband and son, and went to work — the last time they would get to talk to her.
Just hours later, they would learn Rashidi was taken by ambulance to the hospital. She’d been run over while trying to stop a gas-and-dash.
Follow the twists and turns this case took and hear from the offender himself, who chose to run Rashidi over rather than pay for $113 worth of fuel.
In this episode, you’ll also hear the far-reaching the impact this crime has had.
If you enjoy Crime Beat, please take a minute to rate it on Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts, tell us what you think and share the show with your friends.
On this episode of the Global News podcast Crime Beat, crime reporter Nancy Hixt shares the story Brittney McInnes, the concrete angel.
At 17 and just months from graduation, McInnes had her whole life ahead of her.
But in January 2010, the Calgary teen disappeared.
Police were called to investigate, but the search came up empty.
Hours later, Brittney’s family discovered her body.
Follow along as police unraveled the web of lies her killer had created, and hear his confession—audio that’s never been made public before.
In this episode, you’ll also learn details of further allegations in this case.
If you enjoy Crime Beat, please take a minute to rate it on Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts, tell us what you think and share the show with your friends.
On this episode of the Global News Crime Beat, crime reporter Nancy Hixt shares the story of a young boy who fell through the cracks.
You’ll hear from those who loved Alex Radita, those who fought to keep him alive and healthy, and those who fought for justice in his case.
And for the first time, you’ll hear a recorded interview with Alex himself — who knew what he needed most to save his life.
In May 2013, police were called to a home in northwest Calgary for reports of a teenage boy in medical distress.
Nothing could have prepared first responders for what they found.
Alex was found unconscious, lying in a bed in an upstairs room of his home.
He was skin and bones.
He had no useable teeth and was covered in dozens of ulcers and sores.
The 15-year-old was wearing a diaper and weighed just 37 pounds.
Despite all efforts by paramedics to resuscitate Alex, it was too late.
The Calgary police homicide unit began investigating and what they found was that Alex’s death was not only completely preventable, but it was murder.
More than a decade before he died, doctors and RCMP investigators in B.C. predicted this would happen to Alex if he wasn’t provided proper medical treatment for his Type 1 diabetes.
It’s a case the family of the victims call a real life horror show.
On this episode of the Global News podcast Crime Beat, crime reporter Nancy Hixt takes you through the details of the crimes committed against Terry Blanchette and his two-year-old daughter Hailey Dunbar Blanchette.
Follow along as we reveal evidence investigators uncovered, and an exclusive interview with the mother of the triple-murderer in this case. Her life has been shattered by her son’s actions.