Jennifer Teague was an 18-year-old from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada when she was murdered in the early morning hours of September 8, 2005.
Her killer was caught, and he plead guilty, landing himself a life sentence in prison.
On September 8, 2005, Jennifer came home after a light-night-into-early-morning shift at Wendy's when she disappeared. She had met up with some friends at a local convenience store at 1 AM, but when she began walking home, she was abducted.
She was considered missing for 10 days until her body was discovered on September 18 by an off-duty police officer. She had been dumped near a secluded parking lot near a swamp conversion area.
There were no suspects in the case, and as Jennifer's family mourned the loss of their beloved daughter, the police worked to find the person who had killed her. Their investigation lasted almost a year with no leads.
The only lead police had was the murder of Ardeth Wood, a PhD student who had disappeared while riding her bike in Ottawa 2 summers earlier. Her body was found on August 11, 2003, but a killer was never found. When Jennifer went missing, the town began to believe that perhaps a serial killer was on the loose.
But 2 months after Jennifer disappeared, Chris Myers was arrested and charged with Ardeth's murder. But they were certain he was not the man who had killed Jennifer. And so while one case was solved, the other continued on with no real leads or suspects.
The pressure was piling up, but every tip was a dead end. They tried everything, going door-to-door to ask residents to look around their home for any clues in lieu of a search warrant for every house. The community rallied. When her body was found, police created a ploy: they set up a decoy tent across the road from where the body was actually found to suggest to the media that was where she was found, as the killer would be the only other person who knew where the body actually was. But it lead to nothing at the time.
In May of 2006, the police released the photos of various men who were at the convenience store the night of the disappearance. But again, it lead to nothing.
But the police caught the world's biggest break in the case on June 9, 2006, when a resident of Barrhaven, the district Jennifer lived in, stripped naked and rushed out into the middle of the street, screaming that he had murdered Jennifer Teague. He was almost hit by cars as he continued to repeat that he killed Jennifer. The man was 24-year-old Kevin Davis, a pizza maker from the area. He had been undone by magic mushrooms which he had taken on the day he confessed to the murders. As I like to say, if you're harboring a huge secret and it is very important it doesn't come out, stay away from drugs that may make you strip totally naked, sprint into oncoming traffic, and confess to the crime. Or something like that.He was taken to the hospital to be treated for a drug overdose, and when he came to, he recanted and claimed the influence of drugs made him confess, and he knew nothing about the murder.
So he was released, but then, on June 26, he walked up to an off duty cop at a beer store near his home and once again turned himself in, and was arrested without incident. He confessed that he put together a kit with knives, ropes and a gag, and he sat in his car out of range of the security camera.
Davis revealed the reason for killing Jennifer Teague: He wanted to. He had been looking for a young woman to rape and murder for about a week before he spotted her, walking alone in the night. It was a totally random crime of opportunity, though it was pre-planned in the sense that he had wanted to murder someone. He had been taking his car out, prowling around for the last 3 nights looking for a woman to take. When she took a "vulnerable route" home, alone, he knew it was his opportunity. Once he took her, he was unable to rape her, so he brought her to his home and strangled her to death while his mother slept in the next room. He dumped her body the next day.
He also shared one detail that shook Jennifer's mom to her core: in her final moments, she told Davis she had to get home so her mother wouldn't worry. Sobbing, her mom said, "It was the hardest part of all."
"He gave no kind of reason, nothing," she said. "It was senseless. Totally senseless."
When he was taken to the swamp to show where he had left Jennifer's body, he pointed to the exact spot, far away from the decoy tent. Only the real killer would have known. He recanted again, but with his confession and identification of the dump site, the police knew that he was their buy.
He said that he hated women, which played a large role in his decision to murder Jennifer, but he admitted to many other underlying reasons, including the fact that he had just been fired from Home Depot and his cat died. And sure, who among us hasn't desired to END SOMEONE'S LIFE after losing a part-time job at a hardware store?
ABOUT JENNIFER TEAGUE
Jennifer was born in 1987 to Ed and Jean Teague, the couple's only daughter. They divorced when she was young, and the kids moved in with their mother in Barrhaven. However, Ed lived nearby, eventually remarrying, and always stayed connected with his children, who grew up to be extremely close.
Jennifer had only been 18 for 2 months when she died, but she was old enough to leave a lasting impression on those around her. "She touched everyone she met," said Candice Webster, a friend from her school. She said Jennifer made the school fun.
Her bedroom featured a collection of NHL bobbleheads and had her favorite Ottawa Senator plastered up on her wall. She had stuffed animals from childhood, and a deck of cards that she'd play for hours with her friends as they talked and laughed the night away. Like all teens, she did regular teen things. She had crushes, played too many video games, wasn't a morning person, and smoked cigarettes from time to time.
"She was an amazing person. You couldn't find anyone who was as good a friend as Jen. She was the best," friend Kelly Robertson said, who had met Jennifer when she was just 12 when the kids played little league together.
Jennifer was only 5'4", barely over 100lbs, but her generosity, determination, and kindness made her larger than life. When her older brother was terrified of a mouse in the basement when she was only 3, the brave girl grabbed a plastic baseball bat to go deal with it. Her brothers remember that she would always hold her own despite the inevitable endless teasing of growing up with brothers.
She was an athlete who was a star in baseball and was an amazing goalie in her real passion of soccer. She had gotten a job at Wendy's to support her basic necessities: makeup, clothes, and video rentals. She loved shopping with her mom, experimenting with her hair color, and loved animals. She was also gifted academically. She was extremely kind: she joined an environmental group which travelled to elementary schools to talk to the younger generation about conservation.
Her father remembered that she was strong and independent, but as commemorated by the last words he ever heard from her, "I love you, daddy," she had a soft side.
Even teachers thought she was the best, one saying he would take a "school full of Jens anytime" and another saying that she reminded everyone the "power of optimism".
THE TRIAL AND AFTERMATH
On January 12, 2008, Davis announced that he planned to pleas guilty to murder charges at the start of his trial that was set to start on the 25th. He was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for at least 25 years. He confessed during his trial in extreme detail about abducting, killing, and dumping 18-year-old Jennifer Teague.
He believed that he deserved his punishment of life in prison, and said that he would give up his life to bring back Jennifer's. While her father did not believe he was at all sincere, her mother was relieved that he plead guilty, as it meant that they wouldn't have to sit through the murder trial of their daughter. "Never once did he really look me in the eye, nor did I at any time really see any flicker or emotion on his face," her father said. "There were police officers in the court who were crying. The Crown prosecutor was in tears. The judge was visibly touched. But where was his emotion? That's a cold person."
In the victim impact statements, Jennifer's mom described her daughter's disappearance and subsequent murder "a mother's worst nightmare" and described how she struggles to enjoy the things she used to love. Shopping, hockey, birthdays and holidays are painful. They tried to keep traditions alive, but it doesn't bring her back.
Even in the depths of despair, she held compassion for Davis' mother. "It must be very hard for her. To think it happened in her own home and she didn't know about it," she said, saying she could not imagine how she was feeling.
She also said it was extremely painful to watch her 2 sons deal with the loss of their beloved only sister. Kevin, the oldest, was the only family member who attended the preliminary hearing where the details of the murder were first disclosed. He was so disturbed he wasn't able to attend other court proceedings.
Cary, her younger brother, said, "I've seen close up how cruel, senseless and unforgiving this world often is. I was always hesitant to meet new people because I was shy. Now I'm hesitant, because part of me fears getting too close to them, and then losing them, as I did Jen."
Her friends also cite panic attacks, sleepless nights, and nightmares. Alicia Blais, who had met with Jennifer at the convenience store that night, said "this crime has affected almost every aspect of my life. It has changed me entirely." Another friend, Amy Picknell, talked about sleeplessness, missing work, and having a hard time making it through her days without bursting into tears.
Another friend, Melissa Davidson, said that the loss of Jennifer made her so terrified of being alone that she stayed in an abusive relationship for years rather than live alone. "I find it very hard to trust even close friends now," she wrote.
Her father had hoped that the impact statements would have an impact on Davis, but he was left disappointed. "I don't think he can give us an adequate answer," he said. "So there will never be an adequate answer."
9 years later, Jennifer's father and stepmother began writing a book about how to cope with similar tragedies, and they advocate for victims who have been murdered and forgotten. They are strong believers that while the details of the murders remain in people's minds, so should the victims who have been lost.
After the murder, her family received counseling and up-to-date information from police officers to prepare them for the trial. Though this was a great service provided, it is not something that every family of a murder victim receives, so Jennifer's stepmother is working on proposing a victims bill of rights.
Before she was brutally and senselessly taken from the world, Jennifer was going into her senior year with no idea what she wanted to do with her life, but considered someone outdoors, or maybe clothing design. Though no one knows how the rest of her life would have gone, columnist Janice Kennedy wrote, "it is safe to assume, though, that it would have included lots of people, lots of activity, and lots of enthusiasm. And it would have been lived with grit and a smile that looked like pure sunshine."