Barb Pacholik’s new book details criminal cases in Moose Jaw that have long gone cold.
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Barb Pacholik spent a lot of time in the newspaper morgue researching cold cases in Saskatchewan for her new book.
“When I do the books, I try to find stories that are from around the province and throughout the eras,” Pacholik said.
Moose Jaw has its share of shady historical crimes, including an intriguing murder dating back to 1885.
Pacholik, a veteran crime reporter with the Regina Leader-Post, dug deep into archives and newspaper morgues forBoiling Point and Cold Cases: More Saskatchewan Crime Stories.
This is the third book Pacholik and Jana Pruden have written about crimes in Saskatchewan, but this one has more focus on detailing unsolved murders and disappearances.
“They’re stories with no end,” Pacholik said.
She told the Times-Herald her publisher wantedBoiling Pointto be entirely dedicated to cold cases.
“I didn’t want to do a book that was just cold cases, but I certainly wanted to bring a number of them,” Pacholik said. “And to be fair, all of the books have always had some cold cases in them, but this one we really made a point of including quite a few.”
She said the RCMP Historical Crimes Unit was helpful in the process, flagging cold cases like the disappearance of Ken Kettleson from his Crestwynd farm in July 2006.
From her research, Pacholik described Kettleson as a brilliant man who seemingly had some issues with mental illness.
What interested her most about this particular case wasn’t found in the files regarding the disappearance; it was in an earlier case.
“I came across the whole case he had been involved in where he was accused of animal cruelty because a number of pigs on his farm had died. They’d apparently been starved,” Pacholik said.
He wasn’t found guilty because they’d been starved, he was found guilty because of the conditions the pigs lived in.
“He accused people of trying to sabotage his farm, that they were trying to chase him off his land,” Pacholik said. “Some of the samples of some pigs he sent away were necropsied. They found that there was some poison in there.”
The substance was the same that would be used as an embalming fluid.
Kettleson, in discussion with an investigator on his land, asked something to the effect of “If they can kill my pigs that easily, how easy would it be to get rid of me?”
Pacholik said the judge who heard the trial clearly thought Kettleson was suffering from mental illness.
A few years later Kettleson disappeared.
“With this book, it tried to really play up some of the cold cases and that one is really intriguing because I think there’s so many different ways to look at what might have happened there,” Pacholik.
That case is the most recent with a Moose Jaw connection.
Other Moose Jaw stories included inBoiling Pointexamine a shyster Klansman who was ran out of Indiana, a pregnant woman who was mysteriously poisoned in 1909, and a dispute over money between two railway workers that ended in murder.
Austin M. Davis can be reached at 306-691-1258 or follow him on Twitter @theAustinX.