A investigative reporter traces the role of DNA evidence in two groundbreaking murder cases involving young girls killed two decades apart in the same town.
In 1977, the industrial town of Port Alberni was shaken by the brutal murder of twelve-year-old Carolyn Lee, who had been abducted while walking home from her dance class. In 1996, the town was devastated again when eleven-year-old Jessica States disappeared while chasing foul balls at a local fast-pitch game, her lifeless body later found beaten in the woods.
At the time of States’s murder, Shayne Morrow was working as a reporter for the Alberni Valley Times. His interest in forensic science led him to cover the States case and relate it back to the Lee case, which had gone unsolved for years. In his coverage, Morrow gained unprecedented access to the investigators and scientists who were on the trail of both killers. Emerging DNA technology in the mid-1990s led to a renewed interest in the Lee case and ultimately to the conviction of her killer, Gurmit Singh Dhillon, in 1998. The technological mechanisms put in place during that case would lay the groundwork for the capture of States’s killer, Roderick Patten, a year later.
The Bulldog and the Helix is a riveting portrait of a town rocked twice by the most heinous type of crime imaginable and a community’s unrelenting search for justice.
About the author
Shayne Morrow is a journalist and writer, who holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. For over fifteen years, Morrow was a reporter for the Alberni Valley Times, which afforded him rare access to investigators and lab scientists in the Carolyn Lee and Jessica States murder cases. In 1999, he worked on the CBC Witness documentary The Gene Squad. Since 2011, he has worked as a freelance writer for Ha-Shilth-Sa, the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council news service, and the publication Windspeaker, and is a public affairs associate at Pacific Coast University.
“The Bulldog and the Helix will undoubtedly appeal . . . to residents of Vancouver Island and beyond who enjoy realistic crime stories. As well, DNA has become well-known in the general population and the book will appeal to those interested in its history and potential in criminal investigations.”
The Ormsby Review
"A taut, detailed account of the murders a town could never forget. This is not a whodunnit—we know the identities of the demons who committed these crimes. This is more of a howdunnit, the step-by-step story of how investigators pieced together the evidence using new genetic tools that helped solve these historic cases. The result will keep readers riveted.”
Aaron Chapman, author of The Last Gang in Town and Liquor, Lust, and the Law
"The author’s talent for in-depth investigation shines in The Bulldog and the Helix. Morrow paints the picture of two similar murders twenty years apart in Port Alberni, the growth and acceptance of DNA technology as evidence in Canadian criminal law, and its role in justice for two murdered girls."
Mike Browne, host of Dark Poutine Podcast