By Nate Hendley
My new book, Steven Truscott: Decades of Injustice, will be released this November.
Steven Truscott was an ordinary, 14 year-old boy living with his parents on a Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) base near small-town Clinton, Ontario. When a classmate, Lynne Harper, was found dead and raped in June, 1959, Truscott (the last person seen with her) became the prime suspect. Virtually no physical evidence tied him to the crime, but police were convinced they had their man, or boy as the case was.
From the book:
“The policemen worked Truscott over in turns. One man would question the boy while the other left the room. Then the second man would come in and take over the interrogation. Police wanted Truscott to admit to raping and murdering Harper. The boy refused to oblige and stuck to his story about biking Harper to the highway. Throughout the ordeal, Truscott didn’t cry or break down, remaining true to his family’s stoic code.
After unsuccessfully attempting to get the boy to confess, Inspector Graham and Constable Trumbley drove Truscott back to the guardhouse at the RCAF base. It was around 9:30 pm at night.
In Clinton, Daniel and Doris Truscott were extremely worried. Steven hadn’t come home for dinner and now he was missing. Did the same killer who abducted and murdered Lynne Harper strike again?
Inspector Graham related what happened next in his official report: “We took Steven back to the guardhouse on the RCAF base and at 9:30, Sgt. (Charles) Anderson left the guardhouse to make arrangements for the boy’s father to come to the guardhouse.”
Truscott would later deny this was the case, and said his father had to find out on his own where his son was being held. Regardless, once Daniel Truscott got word his son was at the RCAF guardhouse, he raced to the scene.
When later questioned about the guardhouse faux pas, Inspector Graham stated, “About 9:40 pm, Warrant Officer Truscott met me in the passage way outside the office in which Steven was seated with Trumbley. The father asked me in a belligerent manner how and where Steve had been picked up.”
It’s unclear if Daniel Truscott was indeed in a fighting mood or just simply deeply concerned with what was happening to his son. He fruitlessly tried to get the police to release Steven. Warrant Officer Truscott wanted to take the tired boy home and let the police resume their interrogation in the morning. The police refused to consider this request.
Their interrogation of Truscott in the guardhouse resumed.
Legally, Daniel Truscott could have removed his son from the guardhouse at any time. His son still wasn’t under arrest which meant police couldn’t hold him against his will. Only no one explained this to either father or son.”