Calgary Police laid charges this week against Christopher Ward Dunlop, 48, of Calgary in the death of Judy Maerz.
Maerz’s body was found at the Deerfoot Athletic Park on the morning of Feb. 16 by a person walking their dog. Her body had been set on fire to conceal evidence of her death.
Staff Sergeant Sean Gregson with the Calgary Police Service Homicide unit called the homicide “a very public and extremely disturbing murder.”
“Judy Maerz was found in a public park where people take their kids, take their dogs first thing in the morning as people are going to their morning commutes,” he said.
“As we mentioned before there was a fire involved, and it’s not something that people are used to seeing in their normal course of the day.”
Police said that neither Dunlop or Maerz were known to each other before she was killed. They allege that Dunlop picked up Maerz before taking her to Deerfoot Athletic Park.
SSgt. Gregson said that they were still investigating the motive behind her death.
He said they believe that she was killed at the park sometime in the hours of the morning before she was discovered.
Dunlop has been charged with second-degree murder and indignity to a body.
Dunlop previously convicted for the killing of Laura Furlan
SSgt. Gregson confirmed that Dunlop was the same man who was previously convicted of manslaughter and indignity to a body in the 2009 killing of Laura Furlan.
Furlan at the time was unemployed and was working as a sex worker in order to try and pay her bills. In an agreed statement of facts to the court during his guilty plea, he choked and killed Furlan while having sex with her.
He then concealed her body in Fish Creek Park, which was found badly decomposed by an individual walking his dog.
Dunlop told an undercover police officer in that case that he’s angry and looking for someone “who would not be missed,” and someone who he could “fuck up.”
He was sentenced to 13-years in prison for the crime, less 78 months as double credit for the 39 months he already spent in jail prior to his conviction, making the total length of his conviction six-and-a-half years.
Justice K.M. Eidsvik, who convicted Dunlop in 2015, said in her decision that Dunlop was to be placed on the lifetime sexual offender registry. To Dunlop she said “when you are ultimately released I hope that you can return to be a productive member of our society.”
Police identified Calgarians were at risk as a result of the investigation
SSgt. Gregson said that there were many similarities between the death of Furlan and the killing of Maerz.
“We recognize these types of cases have an enormous impact on the sense of safety for Calgarians, and over the past two weeks, we’ve worked tirelessly to identify the suspect and secure key evidence and charges.”
He said that police are continuing to pour over evidence that has been collected, along with evidence that has been given to the service by the public.
“A lot of hard investigative work went into this, and some key pieces of evidence came forward. It also led us to some serious concerns for the safety of Calgarians,” Gregson said.
He said that the large volume of video evidence helped to narrow down the case. He said that investigators have been solely focused on solving Maerz’s death, and have not looked at any cold cases in the city.
SSgt. Gregson asked that anyone with information on Maerz’s death to come forward. Anyone with information can contact police at 403-266-1234, or submit tips anonymously to Crimestoppers.
- Editor’s note, the initial version of the story incorrectly had Foothills Athletic Park. It has been changed to Deerfoot Athletic Park.