BY KEITH LACEY
Greater Sudbury Police are asking Ottawa Police if there could be a link with a suspect they are holding in connection with a woman?s murder in that city and an unsolved murder here.
Last Thursday, Ottawa police arrested Chris Myers, 25, in relation to the murder of Ardeth Wood, a 27-year-old University of Waterloo PhD student. She disappeared while riding her bike on a wooded trail while visiting her family in Ottawa in August 2003.
Myers was in custody at the North Bay District Jail when he was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in Wood?s death. He has been charged with five counts of sexual assault, including four in the Ottawa area and one in North Bay.
Sudbury police have sent Ottawa police information about the murder of Renee Sweeney, who was stabbed while working at a Paris St. video store on the morning of Jan. 27, 1998.
Staff Sgt. David Treitz of the criminal investigations division of Greater Sudbury Police, said although the composite sketches of the suspects, ?bear a striking resemblance? to each other, there?s no need to jump to conclusions.
But the local service will act quickly to provide information to determine if Myers is a suspect in Sweeney?s death.
?We?ve already sent a profile of some evidence from the Sweeney case to Ottawa...and shortly we?ll be forwarding a DNA profile,? he said.
Sudbury police collected DNA samples from underneath Sweeney?s fingernails and from clothing left behind at the scene eight years ago.
?Part of the problem is that in a case where we?ve been searching very hard to find who is responsible for over seven years, we?ve had probably 100 people who closely resemble our composite sketch eliminated as suspects,? said Treitz. ?A composite sketch is obviously not a primary
Since Sweeney?s death, Greater Sudbury Police have talked to and eliminated close to 1,200 male suspects. A small tandem of officers have never stopped working on the case, said Treitz.
The analysis of Myers? DNA and that of Sweeney?s killer will take several more weeks to complete, said Treitz.
?We would all love to have an answer right away, but it?s going to take some time yet,? he said.
Monique Ackland, media relations officer with the Ottawa Police Service, said Myers has remained in custody in Ottawa since his arrest last week and he?s expected to make another brief court appearance Thursday in relation to the murder charge he faces in Wood?s death.
Myers was arrested by Ottawa police earlier this year in relation to Woods? death. However, they did not have sufficient evidence at the time, and he was released.
Myers is charged with four counts of sexual assault in Ottawa, which police say took place between July of 2003 and December of 2004. Three of those assaults took place after Wood was killed.
Myers has been in custody in North Bay since May of this year.
Ottawa police were offering a $50,000 cash reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for the murder of Wood.
Ottawa police undertook the largest search operation in that city?s history after Wood was reported missing. Her body was found near a creek five
days after she was reported missing by her family.