Jennie Eldon Conroy was born in North Vancouver, Canada, in 1920. Jennie attended Ridgeway Elementary School, but left after grade seven (12-13 years old), to take care of her family household after her mother passed away from cancer.
At the age of 24, Jennie was working as a grain loader at Midland and Pacific Elevator company. Everyone who knew Jennie said that she was “always smiling and joking”, and was described as being a “cheery, popular girl.”
On December 27th, 1944, Jennie finished work and was heading to her father’s home for a family dinner. She missed her bus by less than a minute and was last seen walking away from the bus terminal and making her way towards her father’s house.
Unfortunately, Jennie never made it to her father’s home.
Jennie’s body was found on an isolated road, close to Capitano View Cemetry, the next day.
Jennie had been brutally murdered with a claw hammer.
Eve Lazarus, journalist and author of Blood, Sweat and Fear: the story of Inspector Vance, Vancouver’s first forensic investigator held a talk at The Vancouver Police Museum in 2017, in which she shed light on some of the facts in Jennie’s case.
Less than three months before her murder, Jennie gave birth to an illegitimate child and put the baby up for adoption. None of Jennie’s friends or family knew about this, and once this fact came to public light, the investigation into her murder changed drastically.
Newspapers and media made comments such as; “(we) believe she may have met questionable companions”, despite there being no evidence to support these claims. Some even went as far as to scandalise Jennie’s character, and imply that she may have deserved what happened to her.
Investigators had very little evidence to work with at the time, and despite interviewing over several suspects, including the father of the child, the case still remains cold.
A spot of blood found on Third Street, along with gouge marks on the road, indicate that Jennie had been dragged approximately forty – seven (47) feet along the street. To add to this, there was also gravel in the ball of one of her feet, and her stockings were wet, which suggested that Jennie had tried to run from her attacker – most likely by jumping out of a car.
One of her shoes was found near Third Street, along with her notification card, West Vancouver bus timetable, and an empty whiskey bottle that was drenched in her blood. Her other shoe was found in downtown Vancouver, lying on the lawn at the corner of Pender and Beatty Streets. This suggests that the killer crossed the bridge to Vancouver after killing Jennie, found the shoe in his vehicle, and then tossed it out.
A tracker dog found a clot of blood-stained excelsior (a paper-based packing material) two blocks from the body, and the same material was found on Jennie’s jacket. This specific material was made in San Fransisco, and there were only a few importers of the material in Canada.
Eve then went on to explain that in 1952, Sergeant Matheson took over the case and began looking specifically at the excelsior tape that had been found. One of the people who would have had access to the tape was the Green Grocer.
The Green Grocer’s importing of the tape, along with his travel routes, and the fact he had walked into the police station asking about the murder investigation makes him a likely culprit for Jennie’s murder. Sergeant Matheson also theorised that Jennie likely would have recognised him, which is why she would have felt safe accepting a ride from him.
Sadly, due to insufficient evidence, Sergeant Matheson was unable to charge the Green Grocer or take him to court. Since then, Jennie’s case has remained cold and unsolved.
Unsolved, Murder, Mystery, True Crime, Canada, Cold Case