Kingston Whig-Standard, August 3, 2002

By Rob Tripp
Whig-Standard Staff Writer

Although a quarter century has passed, retired police detective Bob McLean has not forgotten the day he discovered evil.

It was on Monday of the holiday weekend in July, 1977. McLean and his homicide squad partner were called to the roof of a Yonge Street massage parlour, where the body of a missing 12-year-old boy had been found.

Emanuel Jaques had been sexually abused, tortured and drowned before his body was wrapped in plastic garbage bags and hidden under a mound of debris on the rooftop.

"It was horrible," McLean says, in a low, almost reverential voice. "I had a son the same age."

Emanuel had been missing for three days, since the day he left his Cabbagetown home bound for Yonge Street with a small box of shoe-shining equipment. He hoped to earn a few dollars for a coming family trip back to their native Portugal.

Instead, he met Saul Betesh.

The boy's protective father had never let the youngster peddle shoeshines on Toronto's busy main street before. But that weekend, Emanuel had pestered his father relentlessly, telling him that all his other friends did it and made money.

Mr. Jaques relented. It was an act destined to cripple him with guilt.

The naive young boy was promised by Betesh, then 27, the princely sum of $25 if he would go with him and help move some camera equipment. Emanuel was led to a slovenly apartment that occupied the second floor above a massage parlour and pornographic movie house. Three other men were waiting at the apartment when Betesh brought the youngster in via the back stairway, far from prying eyes.

Emanuel was fondled and forced to perform sex acts. The men took photos of the young naked boy. They injected him with prescription drugs in a bid to kill him. When it didn't work, they held his head under water in a filthy sink until he drowned. They wrapped his body in bags and hauled it onto the rooftop of the building. They gathered all the lumber and debris they could find and piled it on top of the body. A small box that contained the shoe-shining equipment was splintered into pieces and rammed down a chimney.

Betesh and Ronald Kribs, in a trial sometimes recalled as a "forced march through a sewer," were convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.

Those 25 years have now passed. The momentous anniversary occurred this week without fanfare. Thursday, Aug. 1, marked the day when both men, heinous sex killers with a place in Canadian criminal history, were eligible to seek full parole.

But both declined the chance to appear before National Parole Board members to beg for freedom. Betesh is still kept in maximum security, at Kingston Penitentiary.

"There has not been a review of this case by the board," said Carol Sparling, a spokeswoman for the board.

Although 25 years has elapsed, it does not mean Betesh's sentence is over.

"His sentence never finishes ... until he dies," Sparling said.

Betesh and Kribs waived their right to a hearing and will be automatically scheduled for hearings in two years, although they could request hearings sooner because they have now passed the date of eligibility to apply for full parole. They might choose to continue waiving their right to hearings. Neither man has ever appeared before the board since they were imprisoned in 1978.

A third man, Joseph Woods, was sentenced to life in prison with no parole eligibility for 18 years after he was convicted of second-degree murder.

The National Parole Board has reviewed his case five times. Parole records show that Woods has had periods of mental instability and paranoia. He has threatened to get revenge against police, whom he claims concocted evidence against him, and he once tried to kill Betesh at Kingston Pen by cutting the throat of his co-accused. Betesh was moved into segregation after the attempt on his life.

A 1995 parole report notes that, in the Emanuel Jaques killing, Woods "denies culpability and continues to live in a fantasy related occult mindset."

There are no similar parole records for Betesh or Kribs since neither man has been before the board.

A fourth man who police placed at the apartment where Jaques was murdered was acquitted at trial.

McLean, now retired from a 32 1/2 year career on the Metro Toronto Police Department, says he tries to think about the case as little as possible. He has not spoken publicly about it since the trial in 1978.

"It's something that you try to avoid," he says. "It was a horrible thing."

The crime shocked Toronto and sparked a cleanup of the city's underground sex trade that included massage parlours, prostitution and sleazy pornographic movie houses.

Woods worked in the pornographic movie theatre on the first floor of the building where Emanuel was murdered.

"There were girls employed, I think, at this place, to do body rubs and massages," McLean says, laughing at the notion that only massages were for sale.

Woods was allowed to live in the upstairs apartment. Betesh and Kribs also flopped at the apartment.

"It was a dump, uninhabitable by anybody's standards other than these swine," McLean says.

When Emanuel Jaques was reported missing, police were able to produce a composite drawing of a man believed to be the last person seen with the young boy.

Media reported that police had the composite, but the drawing was not released publicly that weekend.

Betesh knew he might be the man in the drawing. The day he lured the boy back to the Yonge Street apartment, he first took the youngster to a restaurant and plied him with a meal.

Betesh called a lawyer, and said he wanted to contact police and clear himself of any involvement. Instead, he ended up trapped by his own thin lies. Police soon got the address on Yonge Street and, once there, found a distinctive T shirt that Emanuel had been wearing.

Officers also discovered what appeared to be train schedules scrawled on the cover of a phone book. Calls to Union Station revealed that the times related to a route to western Canada. Railway police were contacted and the train was stopped in Sioux Lookout, a small community in northwestern Ontario.

Railway police and Ontario Provincial Police found Betesh's cohorts hiding on the train. The men were taken and locked up in the cells of the Sioux Lookout Police station and Toronto police were notified.

"It was at this point in time roughly that they found the body," McLean says. "By going back and talking to Betesh, he coughed up more information."

Later that day, McLean and his partner took Betesh to the apartment, where he willingly re-enacted events for the officers.

"Betesh had a camera and he took some photographs of Kribs and the boy and then Kribs took some photographs of Betesh and the boy, but Betesh was either ignorant of exactly how to use this camera properly or [something because] ... when we got the film developed, there were only two pictures that really turned out and it was of Betesh and the boy in a compromising position," McLean says.

The photos showed the child naked on a bed with Betesh fondling him.

At the apartment, Betesh also showed the officers how the men eventually murdered the young boy after failing to kill him with an injection of drugs.

They dragged the boy to a sink in the kitchen and filled it with water, holding Emanuel's head under.

"[Betesh] indicated that he held the boy's body and Kribs held the boy's head under," McLean recalls. The sex killer showed little emotion as he explained the horrible deeds.

"He was relatively matter of fact."

The other men did not willingly, at first, admit their roles in the crime. Eventually, Kribs pleaded guilty to murder. Betesh took the stand at the trial and changed his story, telling the jury he had lied in earlier statements about the involvement of the others.

In the two and a half decades since the crime was solved, fanciful tales have circulated about accomplices to the crime who were never identified and purported ties to occult rituals and role-playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons.

Betesh refused a request by The Whig-Standard for an interview.

In a letter sent to the newspaper earlier this year, he complained that he has been discriminated against in prison because he is a homosexual and a member of the Wiccan Church who is not allowed to practise his rituals, such as burning candles in his cell or growing herbs.

"I know that I did wrong in the past and that I had to go to prison for what I did," Betesh wrote. "However, I was sent here as punishment not for punishment. I ask that you judge these issues on their merits and not in relation to the crime I committed."

Joseph Woods' parole records note that "he is known to experience auditory and visual hallucinations and to practise voodoo, Taro cards, witchcraft, telepathy and clairvoyance."

The retired police officer who put Woods, Betesh and Kribs in prison says he never saw any evidence of a cult or role-playing game connection to the murder of Emanuel Jaques.

"They were pedophiles, particularly Kribs and Betesh and that's it," McLean says.

"They just got themselves in so deep in such a bizarre situation that they didn't know how to extricate themselves and stay out of jail so the only thought they had was, 'We have to kill this boy.'"