Former Winnipeg police officer apologizes to dead girl's mom for not finding her
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WINNIPEG — A former police officer who searched the shed where a girl's body was later found more than 30 years ago apologized to the girl's mother for not finding her.
Jim Cook, who retired from the Winnipeg Police Service in 2006, looked through the shed more than two weeks prior to Candace Derksen's body being discovered in 1985.
He testified Wednesday at the retrial of Mark Grant, now 53, who is charged with second-degree murder in the 13-year-old girl's death.
The teen vanished on her way home from school in November 1984 and was found tied up and frozen to death in a lumber yard shed nearly two months later.
Cook told court that a snow drift prevented him from fully opening the door to the shed and get a good look when he was searching it on Dec. 30, 1984.
After testifying, he spoke to Candace's mother.
“I apologize for not finding her, if she was there,” Cook said.
He testified he was only able to get his head and shoulder through the door to look around with a flashlight.
“I’m positive that when I made the search, or looked into the building, there was no body there,” Cook explained.
He said all he remembered seeing was a wooden or metal frame, which he thought was for machinery or equipment of some kind, on the floor.
When Candace's body was found in the same shed, Cook said he rushed there to make sure that it was the same shed he searched.
However, detectives would not allow him in the shed, or to even look at photos of the shed.
Cook then wrote a second report saying that when he searched he did not see a body, but “there is a possibility there could’ve been one there.”
It was not until Wednesday that Cook said he saw the photos inside the shed.
Grant had been convicted in 2011, largely because of DNA evidence presented to the jury, but that conviction was overturned after an appeal.
The trial before judge alone is set to continue on Tuesday.