Part 3: 1981 murder of Newfoundland teen revisited

Staff ~ The Telegram
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Man who says he saw Dana Bradley murder receives final RCMP commission report

ST. JOHN'S — Monday may have been a day of reflection for a man who claims he witnessed the murder of Dana Bradley in 1981, and who shared his story with The Telegram in a series of articles that began Saturday.

And while Robert (not his real name) says a weight has been lifted from his shoulders by going public, the scales tipped the opposite way when he opened his mailbox Monday morning. In it he found a letter from the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP.

To see part 1, CLICK HERE.

To see part 2, CLICK HERE.

The letter contained the final report on his appeal into how the RCMP handled his information about the murder and about being allegedly sexually assaulted by the man he says committed the murder.

Robert had alleged the RCMP relied on false memory syndrome, which isn’t a medically recognized disorder, to make the decision to dismiss his complaint.

In the final report, the commission informed him that, after reviewing the police investigation, the commission found the disposition of Robert’s complaint was reasonably handled by the RCMP.

The document notes that during the 16-month investigation into Robert’s allegations, about 2,000 pages of material was compiled, along with a ground search, consultation with scientific experts regarding changes to topography, interviews with relevant individuals and DNA testing.

Robert said he provided samples for DNA tests.

In an interview with The Telegram last week, Sgt. Kent Osmond, lead investigator on the Bradley murder file, declined to comment specifically about Robert’s tip. He did say that all tips are investigated thoroughly.

Commission interim chair Ian McPhail wrote in the final report that the forensic psychiatrist’s diagnosis of false memory syndrome didn’t play a role in the attention given to the investigation and wasn’t the basis for the investigators’ dismissal of the tip.

“I emphasize that, given its place in the investigation, the psychiatric assessment was not conducted to determine whether (Robert) was lying about his memories, which would have impacted the investigation, but rather to determine what the appropriate degree of reliance on those memories would and could be. There is no suggestion in the available material that (Robert) was deceitful.”

Robert told The Telegram Monday he is surprised by what he said is a “sudden and unexpected de-emphasizing” by the police of forensic psychiatrist Peter Collins’ diagnosis.

“Dr. Collins applied for a temporary licence to practice in Newfoundland so he could deliver his false memory syndrome message, and the RCMP could close my tip that very same day,” Robert said. “He appeared to be very important to investigators at the time.

“Things could be much further along if only they had given me the benefit of the doubt.”

Organizations: RCMP, Commission for Public Complaints, FBI

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Maddox Cove Road, Topsail Road

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