In December of 2020, Windsor Police announced that they had identified a lead suspect in the 1971 rape and murder of 6-year-old Ljubica Topic in Windsor, Ontario. On February 7, 2023, they announced that the name of the suspect is Frank Arthur Hall.
On the afternoon of May 14, 1971, an unknown male had approached Ljubica and her 8-year-old brother, offering her some money to walk with him. He offered her brother money to ride his bike elsewhere – the last thing the boy saw was his sister walking down Drouillard Road holding the man’s hand. He went and told his mother and a search for the little girl was immediately launched. Her body was found in a nearby alley about four hours later.
Active for almost 50 years, this is one of the oldest cases solved by FGG. There is no information on who conducted the FGG investigation.
Windsor Police announced on December 9, 2019 that they had solved this case, but they refused to reveal the name of the suspect as he is deceased and will not be prosecuted. They also claim that he moved to a province in Western Canada. Windsor Police confirmed they had used FGG on October 23, 2020, after the Toronto PD confirmed that they had used this method to identify Calvin Hoover as the lead suspect in the murder of Christine Jessop.
The decision of the Windsor Police to keep the names of the killers of Ljubica Topic and Carol Christou confidential was strongly criticized. Windsor Police cited the Municipal Freedom of Information & Protection of Privacy Act, that a person has privacy interests for 30 years after their death. Since the suspect in this case passed away only recently, there are suspicions that he may have had other victims.
On February 7, 2023, Windsor police finally revealed that Frank Arthur Hall is the lead suspect in this case, and that he died in February of 2019. He lived less than 2 miles from Topic’s home at the time of the murder. He then moved to Edmonton, where he lived for the rest of his life. Police state that they reviewed their earlier decision to conceal the name of the lead suspect, and that they decided to overturn it; they further state that they will look at revealing this information on a case-by-case basis, and have no formal policy in place.
Windsor Police have also stated that there were more than 500 persons of interest in the case over the years. Now that they have released the name of the lead suspect in the case, other suspects can finally be publicly cleared of suspicion.
In February of 2023, it was finally announced that the FGG investigation was conducted by Parabon Nanolabs, led by CeCe Moore. Moore stated to the Windsor Star that, “There have been quite a number of successful cases up in Canada that have used this tool,” said Moore. “It’s just been kept under wraps more in Canada.”
The Windsor Star had spent three years conducting an access to information request to obtain information about the investigation into Topic’s murder. A search of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario’s Orders relating to access to information orders did not turn up any decisions related to the matter. Despite that, this may help set a precedent in future Canadian cases in favour of disclosure of information into police use of FGG.
CBC News. “Police in Windsor, Ont., Reveal Neighbour Killed 6-Year-Old Ljubica Topic Over 50 Years Ago.” CBC News, February 7, 2023. Accessed February 11, 2023. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/windsor/ljubica-topic-1.6742072?fbclid=IwAR0U8zpLVsQoGBdanIPn1bCPqTrvV7YQiwjBDeL-pb1ll67ZyDQBkYc6ucA.
CBC News. “Windsor Police Announce 48-Year-Old Cold Case Homicide Solved.” CBC News, December 13, 2019. Accessed December 12, 2020. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/windsor/ljubica-topic-homicide-windsor-1.5395367.
Freeze, Colin, and Patrick White. “Genetic Genealogy Generates Heated Debate Over Privacy While Helping to Crack Cold Cases.” Globe & Mail, October 23, 2020. Accessed December 12, 2020. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-genetic-genealogy-generates-heated-debate-over-privacy-while-helping/.
Our Windsor. “Suspect in 1971 Ljubica Topic Homicide, Identified by DNA, Recently Deceased: Windsor Police.” Our Windsor, December 13, 2019. Accessed December 12, 2020. https://www.ourwindsor.ca/news-story/9774496-suspect-in-1971-ljubica-topic-homicide-identified-by-dna-recently-deceased-windsor-police/.
Wilhelm, Trevor. “Scientist Explains How Her Genetic DNA Work Solved Child’s Killing 50 Years Later.” Windsor Star, reprinted in the London Free Press, February 14, 2023. Accessed February 28, 2023. https://lfpress.com/news/local-news/scientist-explains-how-her-genetic-dna-work-solved-childs-killing-50-years-later.
Wilhelm, Trevor. “Windsor Police Have ‘No Defensible Reason’ to Refuse Naming Ljubica Topic’s Killer, Expert Says.” Windsor Star, December 17, 2019. Accessed December 12, 2020. https://windsorstar.com/news/local-news/windsor-police-have-no-defensible-reason-to-refuse-naming-ljubica-topics-killer-expert-says.