Thirty years ago this month, a 45-year-old real estate agent and former nurse was stabbed to death in her Retlaw Drive home in north Sarnia.
To this day, the murder of Morag Davies remains one of the city’s most perplexing unsolved homicides.
For Davies’ sister in Scotland, Sandra Longmuir, it has been a long and despairing wait. Their final meeting came about because of a strange foreboding, she said.
“I felt an overpowering need to be with her,” said Longmuir, who was four years younger than her sister. For the very first time, she left her young children in the care of others and flew to Canada, spending a week in Sarnia in March of 1988. Five months later her sister was gone.
“We talked about things with each other that we had never discussed,” Longmuir recalled. That included the disclosure her sister, recently separated from her estranged husband, was seeing a married man.
Davies, who was widely regarded as a friendly and professional woman, was last seen alive by a visiting co-worker the night of Aug. 23, 1988. When she hadn’t shown up for work two days later, co-workers returned to the apartment, got no response at the door, and walked in.
They found Davies in her bedroom, dead of multiple stab wounds.
According to police, DNA samples obtained at the crime scene subsequently cleared both the former husband and the boyfriend.
For months, most of the city’s then 12-man detective unit worked on the investigation. Since then, the case has been under the supervision of a series of senior officers – most recently Detective Constable Heather Patterson.
Sandra Longmuir is quick to praise Det. Const. Patterson, who she said stayed in regular contact and assured her Sarnia Police were determined to eventually identify the party responsible for Morag Davies’ death.
Patterson retired recently and the case has been reassigned to veteran officer and Staff Sergeant Leo Murphy, police say.
Longmuir said her sister’s murder was devastating. The two were close and Longmuir, desperate for answers, sought out counselling and even enlisted the aid of a “psychic detective” she discovered on Scottish television.
Sarnia’s new police chief, Norm Hansen, said he has a personal and professional desire to see the killer brought to justice.
“As a young constable, the Morag Davies case was my first exposure to homicide,” the chief said. “I was at the scene. Inspector Hodgson and I were there, working all night.”
Longmuir’s daughter, Gail, said even three decades later the family is hopeful police will get a new tip or lead.
“My mother needs peace,” she said.
Anyone with any information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or Sarnia Police at 519-344-8861.