A dark time in history is bringing up bad memories for residents of two towns in the Foothills as James Edwards Peters heads into a parole hearing on November 16th for the early 1980s murder of two women.

Retired CST. Robert Laird was with the Okotoks RCMP when Debbie Stevens of High River and Laurie Boyd of Okotoks were brutally killed.

"At the time with the first disappearance of Debbie Stevens, really close to the outskirts of High River, and then with the abduction and disappearance of Laurie Boyd the entire area was really quite on edge," said Laird.

"People were then calling in all kinds of suspicious activity they were reporting strange activities by their neighbours or people they knew. Because everybody was trying to figure out who was responsible for these terrible crimes."

Laird was able to help break the case open after attending a suicide attempt call at the Blackie home of Robert Edward Brown.

"I believe his wife had phoned in saying he had taken a whole bunch of pills and was trying to kill himself."

Paramedics from Okotoks were dispatched to his residence in the country out by Blackie, but he didn't want anything to do with them or leaving in an ambulance.
"But the paramedics felt he should go to the hospital, so the paramedics then contact the RCMP dispatch and said they would like to have some assistance at this residence. I was close by in the area so I said I would go out there."

When he got there he found out it was the residence of Robert Brown.

"I kind of knew Robert Brown from around the area. The paramedics brought him outside and he was not going to get into in the ambulance with them. So I calmed him down and I said look it just come with me and I will drive you to the hospital."

When he got into the backseat of the police car a paramedic had to sit in front because we were going to drive to High River hospital altogether because he was a patient of the paramedic.

"At that time everybody was a suspect in these crimes because of course they were unsolved and everybody was wondering who could possibility be responsible for this crime."

Laird adds this was back in the day before the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and giving anybody their rights.

"So I just flat out asked Mr Brown, Robert did you have anything to do with the murder of those two girls. And his answer was, and I'll never forget, "You can't get me for nothing, because you need the evidence," and that struck me as a very poor answer to that question."

"So I had the paramedic wait in the vehicle with Mr Brown and I went looking around the property for anything that might stand out and in the garage, it was an old farm garage of course, I shone my flashlight in there was a vehicle that was very similar in colour and make that was seen leaving the Red Rooster directly after the abduction of Laurie Boyd."

And the backseat was missing.

And that is basically where the story started with Brown.

He was transported to the High River hospital where Laird sat with him all night.

"And then I transported him back to Okotoks the next morning and the detectives from Calgary came and proceeded to interview him again and I believe that is where he implicated Mr Peters as well."


Read more: Killer of High River and Okotoks Woman Back Up For Parole


Send us your news tips, story ideas and comments at [email protected]



More Local News

HighRiverOnline.com is High River's only source for community news and information such as weather and classifieds.

Search the Biz Guide