Season 1: Episode 2 - Transcript
Mandy: You're listening to Who Killed Misha Pavelick? A Saskatchewan RCMP-created podcast outlining the true 2006 homicide of Misha Pavelick and the ongoing investigation. This is the second episode of the three-part feature.
Mandy: I would like to take a moment to recognize the land on which this podcast was produced is Treaty 4 Territory and homeland of the Métis. On behalf of the Saskatchewan RCMP, I offer my respect to the First Nation and Métis Peoples of this land.
This podcast feature the voices of Saskatchewan RCMP officers directly involved in investigating the Misha Pavelick. As well as Misha's loved ones and other RCMP experts. We want to caution listeners that some of the information and audio may be considered disturbing or traumatic, listener discretion is advised.
My name is Mandy and I work for the Saskatchewan RCMP.
According to Statistics Canada, there were 20 homicides that occurred in Saskatchewan RCMP jurisdiction in 2006 which were investigated by the RCMP Major Crimes Unit. This does not include homicides that occurred where there is a municipal police service of jurisdiction in the province; for example: in the cities of Regina, Saskatoon, Prince Albert, Moose Jaw, Weyburn, or Estevan.
Misha Pavelick was the victim of homicide on May 21, 2006.
Mandy: So let's start out, tell me about Misha. Lorne: I think it's a privilege to talk about him and to share the memories I have.
Mandy: Lorne Pavelick spoke at length, telling stories about his son. He shared openly about Misha and life prior to 2006.
Lorne: Well from the time he was little, like a toddler, he was independent, loved to, he was a highly active little boy. He, well when he was about five or six, I think he started getting into athletics and was really good at athletics and I took him to a lot of hockey games. We had all kinds of memories, I guess. He wasn't an all-star, but he played on excellent teams and they won all kinds of trophies, and so I got to be a hockey father for quite a few years.
Mandy: I also had the opportunity to speak with Misha's mom, Susan, and his sister Kathleen. All of our conversations are virtual, not only because of the current pandemic climate, but also because they each live in different cities in North America.
Susan: There's beautiful baby pictures of him and young, and when he was younger, he liked sports and he had a lot of friends and yeah, was busy, physically busy, yeah.
Kathleen: I'm Kathleen Marshall, I'm Misha's sister. He was sort of the quintessential annoying little brother. We fought a lot, you know like normal siblings do and he was also adorable. He had big brown eyes and the longest eyelashes ever and he's just like a beautiful baby and beautiful boy. And he was my only sibling, my parents adopted him when I was like turning six years old and I remember the day I met him, I came home from, I think from schoo,l and my parents were like, you got to go look up on the bed. And then I walked up to their bedroom and there's this tiny baby, 6-week old baby, laying in the middle of the bed and I was like "Wow'. And I thought, you know, I thought they got him and brought him into the family because, I realized, I was learning things about family dynamics and like, "I'm never gonna be an aunty," and you know. And so then all of sudden I have this little brother and I was like" wow, maybe I will be", unfortunately, that's not the case, I won't get that opportunity. Yeah that, he was, you know just everything we think a sibling would be. Like he was my annoying little brother, but I loved him.
Susan: Yes, he liked team sports, he liked, he liked all of them.
Mandy: Susan lights up when she shares her memories about Misha. She's sitting on a couch, speaking with me through a tablet. I'm glad I can see her, not only to put a face to her name, but because her smile says so much about her love for and relationship with her son.
Susan: We would make, he liked pies or things like that. He liked to cook. Not on a continual basis or anything, but at special times we would bake together. And he had a, he's pretty cute, he was pretty good looking, I think, pretty nice guy. We exposed him to you know, Phantom of the Opera, I don't know why I bought a seat, because he sat in my lap. We did a lot of travelling, I guess.
Lorne: For some reason, there this one memory that sticks out in my mind and he had just turned five and I grew up, when I was a kid, we had a cabin at Candle Lake. And I remember taking him there for the first time and I took him to a creek where I used to cast and I used to tell him this is where I caught my first fish. And he on his first cast, at five years old, caught a pickerel and which was a really exciting, his eyes were like saucers and I helped him bring it in, but he was determined to lift the fish out of the water and so I have memories, fond memories of those kinds of things.
Susan: And I taught him how to drive. When he had his learner's license, he was, I said do you want to drive and it's a five-hour trip to my hometown, right. So we were taking the backroads, up to Swift Current, and you know, he's driving and maybe, I don't know, after Lacadena, its wasn't to far, twenty, thirty miles, he was like, "that's it?" Yeah, then you just keep driving, that's what you do. So he let me take the wheel, we had another four hours to go. Its like, yeah, ok.
Mandy: Can you describe him. So obviously you've touched on sports and I've seen some photos of him, and he's wearing a jersey, he's got a big smile. For people who have never, never had the opportunity to meet him, how would you describe him?
Lorne: Actually, the best descriptions I got about Misha's personality, were from his friends and his friends' parents. I always thought it would be great to have a son who's a stand-up guy, you know, that somebody that was able to accept love and give love, right.
Susan: He, he had a lot of friends, he had a lot of friends.
Mandy: I had the privilege of speaking with Misha's sister, Kathleen on a Saturday afternoon in April. Her responses to my questions are thoughtful and sincere. It's heartbreaking to hear the tragedy she and her family have experienced.
Kathleen: He was very, I think he had a lot friends. And I think I didn't realize how many friends he had until after he died and I met so many of them.
Lorne: I'm just going to change something; I need to say something. You know, the idea that most parents look at their kids and they think, 'well they're angels, they can do no wrong.' That's not real. I think that each kid has a temperament and Misha wasn't an angel and he got into trouble, he got into different things and, but, he couldn't, he was not a good liar. Because he'd either come back and mention, you know I've been doing this and this and this is what's happened. Or I'd notice in his persona how he acted, that he was hurt, and so he'd have to talk that out and we had some issues in terms of that and so he left the house for several months. One of his best friends phoned me and said, Misha's crying in the bedroom, he doesn't know I'm on the phone to you, can he come home? So, it wasn't long after that, that Misha came to me, after he came home and he said, 'dad, I've been accepted to SIAST, I want to go back to school and get educated and have a trade.'
Kathleen: I moved away and I came back and so I had missed a couple years with him and so I wasn't, he was turning from boy into man, at that time. 'Cause he was getting closer to like 19-years-old, and you know, at lot can change in that time. So I didn't really know his friends or his interests, I knew he was thinking about going back to like, a trade school to learn a trade, and he was trying to get his life sort of back on track, cause, he had you know, he was young and he probably wasn't sure before now what he wanted to do. And so he was starting to come up with a plan for his life.
Lorne: Things were good, I mean things were good at home, right up to his death and I had the opportunity to tell him I loved him and he said the same back to me. A lot of parents don't get that opportunity, and I'm privileged to have had that happen.
Mandy: Misha was born on September 20, 1986. Today in May of 2021, he would be 34-years-old. He was 19-years-old when he died as a result of stab wounds sustained in an altercation the night of May 21, 2006.
Mandy: Sgt. Brian Jones was the RCMP Media Liaison Officer at the time. In a media briefing held in Regina, Saskatchewan on May 13, 2009, RCMP provided a timeline leading up to the violent confrontation that resulted in Misha's death and the aggravated assault of an 18-year-old Regina man.
It is during this critical time-frame, approximately 11:25 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. that police have focused their attention and are seeking that important piece of information necessary to solve the case.
(DOCC audio clip)
Mandy: You're about to hear the voice of Cpl. Marcus Crocker of the RCMP Historical Case Unit South. He is the police officer most recently assigned as the lead investigator of the homicide of Misha Pavelick.
Cpl. Crocker: Misha was on scene and attendees of the party, and Misha's friends, actually were performing CPR. EMS took over those lifesaving attempts. Misha was pronounced deceased at the scene, but he was transported to the Pasqua Hospital on recommendation of the police, just because of the scene itself and how many people were still there. That night itself, the intoxication level would have been, one of the major factors, the emotions, the emotional level of a lot of people still on scene and friends with Misha, very upset, distraught, just not thinking clearly, trying to process what had just happened.
Lorne: That night. I re-live that night. I can hear the voices on the phone, because I was phoned from the site of his death.
Kathleen: I was actually living in, close to downtown, actually, really close to General Hospital. When I got the call from my dad, he said something happened. Misha's been hurt, I don't how bad, doesn't sound like its very good, and then I'm like, 'okay where are they going?,' and he said, 'General Hospital,' and I hung up the phone and I called my pastor's wife and she prayed with me and I ran, I didn't even drive, I ran to the General emergency room and I beat everybody there.
Lorne: I phoned my daughter Kathleen and because by then we were told that he's, being brought into the hospital. Strange thing was we went to the General, and the young man, that had been stabbed along with Misha, was brought to that hospital and later recovered from his wounds. But Misha wasn't brought there, and we were sitting and waiting and waiting and I'm thinking, this is kind of weird.
Kathleen: We're just waiting to find to out what is happening and Misha's friends started filing into the waiting room. They just kind of came out of nowhere and there were just a whole bunch of them, just sitting waiting to find out what was happening and we were waiting and watching each ambulance as it came in and my dad pulled up and were waiting and then somebody came and said to have us come to the back with them. And, so we were walking to the back and I just had this feeling like, this isn't good because this is not how you would, this is not what you would do in this situation where somebody is like in surgery or they're okay, you know you wouldn't bring the family back to a back room in the emergency room. So, they sat us down and they said he's gone.
Lorne: And then, policemen came to us at the General and said he's been taken to the Pasqua and I've got bad news. And, yeah, we went into the family room and that's where we were told that he didn't make it. I have, I don't know how I responded, I was like, at that point, in shock and you know, you hear the words, but you, it just doesn't register, in your mind you're thinking, 'am I really hearing what I think I'm hearing?,' you know.
Kathleen: I mean the memory is kind of blurry, I think I said, my dad he thinks he said. But at the end of the day it doesn't matter, the point is, we realized somebody had to tell my mom. The best option I think we agreed on at the time was to send RCMP to her house, because, so she wouldn't be alone, to find out in sort of in the middle of the night or early morning like that would be devastating.
Mandy: Susan, Misha's mom, lives two provinces away in British Columbia.
Susan: I was sleeping. And the door knocked and the door and for some reason, anyways he said, anyways he told me. I used to work for the police as an actor and death notification was just something I never did. We would do it because sometimes they would come and I just said, I don't do this. And I just want to get that out of my house. Because he was lying, or whatever, and basically just to leave. And I had to figure out what was going on. Yeah. Then I, I own a business and of course I had to make arrangements to keep the business open and I was on an island and it was May Long weekend and I couldn't, couldn't leave. The ferries were booked and they wouldn't let me on and so I had to wait, I couldn't leave yet. Anyway, that's what happened that day and, then I probably called somebody and yeah, but I got in a car and drove to Canmore where I had a brother and then to Regina.
Mandy: Communication was different in 2006. Clamshell flip and slide cell phones were popular, but many people didn't own or carry one yet. To put things into perspective, advertisements from the time promote cell phone features such as 2 megapixel cameras, the ability to support 4 gigabyte memory cards and full physical mini keyboards.
Misha's friend Alicia was at home the night of May 21, 2006. She had made the decision to leave Kinookimaw on Saturday – the day prior to the altercation.
Alicia: Yeah 2006, how did you guys communicate, and that's funny that you say that cause now looking back I was notified, like I had left that party about 36 hours, and I was at home and I had gotten a phone call, its not like your phone texts going off, right. And my mom had said I had a phone call, and I got to the phone and one of his, like one our mutual friends had said that he was killed and I just remembered being in such shock. Like, I still just get chills thinking abut that and I immediately raced over to this mutual friend's of ours and there was a lot of people who had gathered at this one friend's house and people were just so emotional, upset, in shock, crying, we felt, I think we just felt so helpless, like traumatized kind of thing. It still leaves just like, it just leaves a really big mark, so.
Mandy: Lee Rosin was working in the RCMP Divisional Operational Communications Center, or DOCC, the night of May 21, 2006. She took phone calls from frantic people at Kinookimaw, seeking police officer assistance. She'll have sixteen years of service with the RCMP DOCC later this year.
Lee: I remember, just feeling so overwhelmed, when you take your headset off and you put it in your locker and you turn around and you think, what just happened and you sit in your car, or at least I do. And take just a few minutes to breathe. Normally if it's a really busy shift, whether I've been dispatching or whether I've been call-taking it doesn't matter. I usually shed a few tears, get it out of my system and make the drive home.
Mandy: S/Sgt. Tim Schwartz was the constable on call in 2006 when he received notification of an incident that happened at the Koonikimaw campground near Regina Beach in Saskatchewan. He is no longer working in the RCMP Major Crime Unit, but thought it was important to contribute his perspective as lead investigator at the time.
S/Sgt. Schwartz: At that point in time, obviously realizing that there's a role for our unit, I then was able to forward more of the information around to the team, and that's when we all met at our office at our headquarters building and then started to put an investigative plan together.
Mandy: I asked Cpl. Marcus Crocker to explain what an investigative plan is. He shared that generally it identifies avenues to help progress an investigation forward. It can include re-interviews of witnesses, interviews of suspects, re-submission of evidence for analysis, among other tasks.
Back in 2006, S/Sgt. Tim Schwartz met with his RCMP Major Crime Unit team at their Regina office before deploying to the scene.
S/Sgt. Schwartz: Going through your mind, what, what information do I have, what is the scene, your starting to picture in your mind what the scene might look like from the information that has been provided. You're obviously looking at, you know, evidence, right, what, how can we secure, preserve evidence, knowing its an outside scene, knowing that we have 100 plus, you know, individuals in the area, its in a campground, you know we certainly want to identify people as they are leaving, you know maybe there's people on the list that were not, their name was not properly logged in.
Mandy: So just from your memory, is there anything you can share with people to describe to them, if they haven't been there or even if they were there. What did you see when you got the scene, what did it look like?
S/Sgt. Schwartz: The fire was down it was out, there would have been lots of pallets. So it would have obviously using big large chunks of wood to kind of create light and heat, the lingering smoke in the air, I believe there was a water tank that was kind of used there for water.
Mandy: If you'll remember from the first episode, Alicia recalls her last memory with Misha. They had sat near a water tank near the campfire together, talking.
S/Sgt. Schwartz: People scrambled, it was clear that there was something happened, there were tents that were down, some items that were broken, chairs broken, clothing scattered, cans, bottles scattered all over. Broken glass, it was clear that there was a large gathering, party per se, and then also too, just walking into it you could tell that obviously people left in a real hurry just with what was left behind and how things were left.
Mandy: Many years separate the time when Cpl. Crocker and S/Sgt. Schwartz are lead investigators for this homicide investigation. One point they consistently reference, is the sheer number of people who were present at the party on the night of May 21, 2006. So 170 people you say have been spoken with or been part of an interview, is that a large number comparatively to other investigations that the Major Crime Units might conduct?
Cpl. Crocker: To hear, you know as a, as a Major Crime member, the on-call member taking that call, you know you want to know how many witnesses are. But when you hear 121 people are on that list and 11 chaperones, that is a lot of witnesses on an investigation, so it's not just a regular investigation. These are homicides, I believe are complex and having anywhere up to 200 people is, that just makes it that much more difficult.
S/Sgt. Schwartz: So challenging, certainly, when we're dealing with those kinds of numbers with interviews, people are scared right, you know, so we had also, an evening where it was dark, it happened during early morning. Large number of youth present, so basically, when you start breaking down a list and trying to get a statement from everyone that they can recall, we see some similarities in statements and then we see a vast difference in statements and then again everybody's perspective is different. It was certainly not clear-cut as an investigation can sometimes be with larger crowds, it was quite challenging.
Its 12:30 in the morning, you know we are going to start getting some daybreak in about four or five hours, six hours, type thing, that's really when, you know, the investigation pieces at the scene is gonna start taking place.
Mandy: This is the end of the second episode of Who Killed Misha Pavelick? There is one more episodes in this Saskatchewan RCMP-created three-part feature. You can listen to the podcast in its entirety on the Saskatchewan RCMP website.
If you want to report the information you have about this investigation, you can contact your local police service. You can also report anonymously through Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-8477 or report the information you have online at saskcrimestoppers.com