Bizarre acts of mutilation, necrophilia, and
cannibalism were inflicted upon the bodies of two female victims before
Nelson was captured. (In one case, he opened the child victim's stomach
with a knife, thrust his face inside, and devoured recently-ingested
food.) Deemed sane by state psychiatrists, Nelson was convicted on two
counts of murder in 1971 and was sentenced to life.
Dale Merle Nelson was a prolific Canadian mass
murderer who killed eight people (including five young children) and
partially ate one victim in 1970 following a drinking binge and possible
use of LSD.
Nelson was a logger in Creston, British Columbia,
married with three children. He reportedly was a "good husband and a
kind, caring father", but was also known to become wild, very aggressive,
and unpredictable when he drank to excess.
An avid sportsman, the 31-year old fell into a
depressed state in early 1970 and unsuccessfully attempted suicide. He
subsequently spent two months at Riverview Hospital in Coquitlam.
On September 4, 1970, Nelson drove into Creston,
purchased six beers and a bottle of vodka at the liquor store, drove to
the Kootenay Hotel (a bar), and then drank eight beers with friends.
Friends say he chatted about the upcoming hunting season, and did not
act unusual in any way.
He left the tavern and picked up from Maureen McKay a
7 mm caliber bolt action rifle he had loaned to her, then drove back to
Creston to purchase ammunition for the gun as well as more alcohol. He
went to the King George Hotel (another bar), where he drank six more
beers before joining his friends in a hotel room at 10:30 p.m. for more
Just after midnight, he drove to the home of his
distant relative, Shirley Wasyk, knowing her husband Alex was not home.
He beat Shirley with a home fire extinguisher, and she cried out, "No,
Dale, don't!" He tied Shirley's hands behind her back and left her on
her bed, then gathered two of his three young relatives (Charlene, age
eight, and Tracey, age seven) in the youngest girl's bedroom.
Awakened by her mother's cry, 12-year old Debbie saw
Nelson taking Charlene into Tracey's room. She crept to her mother and
untied her hands, then took the fire extinguisher and returned to her
own room. When she heard Tracey scream and then the sounds of Nelson at
her door, she threw the fire extinguisher through her bedroom window and
escapedórunning to the McKay household. Maureen McKay quickly telephoned
the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
When law enforcement officers arrived at the Wasyk
home, Nelson's truck was still parked outside. Shirley had been beaten
to death with the fire extinguisher, and Tracey had died from multiple
stab wounds. Charlene had been set free in the woods nearby.
The police immediately drove to the Nelson household
where they evacuated his wife, Annette, and his children, fearing that
they might be the next targets. When they returned to the Wasyk home 15
minutes later, they were "stunned" to realise that Nelson had still been
at the scene of the crime and driven away with Tracey's body as soon as
they had left.
Shortly afterward, Isabelle St. Amand, who lived a
few kilometres down the road from the Wasyks, phoned the police to
report "There's a man here with a gun." By the time police arrived, St.
Amand, her common-law husband Ray Phipps, and their three sons (Paul,
age 10; Brian, age seven; and Roy, age 18 months) had all been shot in
Their eight-year old daughter Cathy was missing, and
police immediately launched a manhunt employing bush pilots to scour the
countryside for Nelson's truck. The vehicle was found on the afternoon
of September 5 stuck in a ditch, and when police searched it they found
a bloody hammer and dismembered remains of Tracey Wasyk scattered around
the area. The 150 residents of West Creston were moved into Creston for
their own safety, as police continued their search for Nelson.
Dale was located late in the afternoon on September 6
in a shack in the woods near his home, and surrendered to police without
incident. He told them that Cathy was dead, pointed out the location of
her body on a map, and admitted committing all eight murders.
He was put on trial for the murders of eight-year old
Cathy Rose St. Amand (whom he had also sodomised) and seven-year old
Tracey Wasyk (whose organs he tore out and attempted to eat).
Represented by attorney M. E. Moran, Nelson was found
guilty in March 1971 despite a plea of criminal insanity brought about
by his heavy drinking and addiction to LSD. He was sentenced to life
imprisonment. Prosecutors say that, should he win parole at any time,
they would put him on trial for the remaining six murders they say he
In 1972, Larry Still (a reporter for the Vancouver
Sun who covered Nelson's trial) published The Limits of Sanity,
a book about the murders; Nelson's family has disputed its accuracy.
Dale Nelson died of throat cancer while in prison.
Dale Merle Nelson
"Do you think you could do without my rifle for a
few days?, I want to go hunting tomorrow morning."
Dale Nelson spent the entire day on a bender. He drunk
himself stupid from about noon till midnight, which is when he set out
on his little mission.
Dale's first stop was at Shirley Wasyk's house. Dale
was a distant relative of Shirley but he wasn't paying a nice family
visit. He crushed he skull with the butt of his 7mm. rifle. He then went
into one of her children bedrooms where he forced her eight-year-old
daughter, Sharlene, to give him a blow job. Luckily for her Nelson
enjoyed it and he let her live, the same can't be said for her sister,
Tracey, seven, who was sliced from her head to her cunt. She was also
cut from ear-to-ear, through the mouth.
Dale Nelson then proceeded to
eat undigested cereal from her stomache. For some reason he left the
eldest daughter, Debbie, 12, completely alone, just pushing her out of
his way as he destroyed her family.
This is where the story gets really interesting.
Young Debbie ran to the next house and told the
occupant, Maureen McCay (her cousin) what was happening next door. The
Mounties were called in at 12.30 am. When they arrived at the house they
went in to find Shirley and Tracey Wasyk dead. Next to the younger
victim there was a bloody carving knife.
The Mounties then went across
the road to warn others about Nelson. Upon there return thet found a
trail of blood leading from the house to their car, the front seat and
stearing wheel were smeared with it. Nelson had actually been standing
in the front yard watching them the whole time, for some reason not
shooting them while they investigated the house.
While the police were over the road Nelson re-entered
the house and took the body of young Tracey, placing her in his car and
driving away with her.
For some reason Nelson the drove to a house occupidied
by a family Nelson didn't know. That didn't seem to bother him as Nelson
shot the entire family dead. Ray Phipps, his wife, Isabelle and three of
their four children were killed in a few minutes.
Nelson had killed Ray Phipps as he opened the door,
and he had then shot his wife as she tried to run. The worst of the
murderers was that of the Phipp's eighteen-month-old son, Roy, who had
his head blown completely off by Nelson as he had turned to face the
killer. Next he killed ten-year-old Paul, then Brian, seven. All died
from head-shots. Upon talking to neighbors Police realized that Nelson
had taken the Phipps's eight-year-old daughter, Cathy with him.
The next day police found Nelson's car. In it he'd
left a hammer which had human hair stuck to it. It didn't look good for
Cathy. Within 40 meters of the car searchers found a human arm, then a
head, then a leg, then eventually the torso, with the remaining arm and
leg still attached. It was Tracy Wasyk. About 200 meters down the road
police found a rope tied to a tree, little Cathy had been tied up all
night it seemed.
Later in the day they found Nelson asleep, I suppose
exhausted after a hard night, and he was arrested. He then showed the
cops where the final body was. When found, young Cathy hgad been stabbed
in the back, then gutted. Next to her was a bloody wine bottle. I wonder
what Dale had gotten up to the night before?
Dale Nelson was found guilty of all 8 murders and was
sentenced to life on 1 April 1971.
The Wacky World of Murder