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CAS Trains Killer
August 5, 2007 permalink
Jesse Imeson became Canada's most wanted man after committing three homicides. The biographical article below discloses that he spent much of his childhood in the care of children's aid. The article is misleading on one point: it says his mother placed him with CAS. We have interviewed many parents who (on paper) relinquished their children to CAS voluntarily. The consent was most often obtained by deception, such as a social worker suggesting to the parent that a signature was a formality necessary for the agency to provide help to the child.
Murder suspect 'always smiling'
By JENNIFER O'BRIEN, SUN MEDIA
August 4, 2007
He was non-stop.
An adventurous, wide-eyed boy, Jesse Imeson made his babysitter work for her money -- giggling as he chased her through his parents' Amherstburg home south of Windsor.
The eldest of three children, Imeson, seven at the time could be "a little turd," Cheryl White remembers.
"He would chase me through the house with a water gun. He was a jokester," says White, who used to care for Imeson and his younger brother and sister.
"But he was a happy kid. He had these huge eyes and he was always smiling, trying to have fun."
That boyish smile is long behind the six-foot-tall man whose eyes are harder now, and whose body is covered in tattoos, including a Chinese symbol meaning "soldier," on his neck.
At 22, Imeson is suddenly infamous as an unpredictable fugitive, accused of murdering three people in cold blood, and evading a national manhunt for two weeks before his arrest Tuesday.
But his troubles didn't begin overnight. In recent years, Imeson had been a regular at Windsor's jail, and became known to some people as a guy who'd say anything to get what he wanted.
Though his personal life appeared full -- a beautiful girlfriend, the mother of his two-year-old daughter, and a circle of supportive friends and relatives -- many say he considered himself alone since his mom put him into foster care at about age 10.
"He had a rough life," so many have said of Imeson.
There was the suicide of his father, Jeff, who worked in construction in Amherstburg. Imeson has told friends it was he -- then nine-years-old -- who found his father dead.
There was foster care. Shortly after his dad died, Imeson's mom handed over her eldest son -- but not his siblings -- to Children's Aid.
Since turning 18, a Corrections Canada official said, Imeson had often been in the Windsor jail on charges of petty crimes, including possession of stolen goods and robbery.
Then, there's the drug addiction.
And now there are the three killings police link to Imeson -- the strangulation of 25-year-old Carlos Rivera, who was found in Imeson's rented Windsor room on July 19, and the shooting deaths of Bill and Helene Regier, who were found dead, tied up in their Mount Carmel home July 23.
For 12 days, Imeson evaded a manhunt that went Canada-wide after the Regiers killings, until a concerned neighbour spotted him watching television in an unoccupied home in Portage-Du-Fort, Que., and he was chased into the woods.
Then, keeping with his unpredictable reputation, the heavily tattooed, newly bearded fugitive simply laid down beside the loaded gun he carried and let police arrest him.
"His family is so glad," says White. "We all thought it could have ended worse, with the family ( suicide) history."
Imeson took his father's death "badly," White says.
"His dad was his hero. He started to get out of hand. That's how he was reacting to the devastation."
His mom put him in foster care -- a move called "abandonment" by Children's Aid societies. She didn't put his younger siblings into care, but eventually relatives cared for them, too, a cousin says.
"She did it for him," says White. "He was causing trouble in the home and she couldn't handle it at the time."
He went to Leamington, a 45-minute drive from Amherstburg, where his mom lived.
Foster parents wouldn't comment on Imeson, but former classmates who met Imeson in Grade 6 remember the new kid as likeable.
"Everybody knew he had a messed up life," says a woman who went to Leamington's Queen Elizabeth elementary school."He was a little rough, but he was a decent kid."
Imeson graduated from Grade 8 at that school, she says, and went on to Leamington District secondary.
Somehow, he ended up back in Amherstburg, where he began temporary stays with aunts and uncles.
"He stayed with relatives, and his grandparents tried so hard," one cousin says. "He was unworkable."
Today, Imeson is close with his sister and a brother, who is training to be a paramedic, and some cousins, friends say.
Though he had friends in high school -- he went to General Amherst in Amherstburg until dropping out in Grade 11 -- Imeson's reputation was as a hard-partying hot head.
Known for his tough talk, and tough walk, he always had a cigarette in his mouth and usually a beer in his hands.
Though friends say he wasn't a bully, and that he charmed women with his manners and easy grin, he was a bad boy -- even banned from one Amherstburg bar.
"He caused trouble all the time," says a server at Shooters. "The night he was banned, we were all sitting around after work and (talking about it)."
Though Imeson has several tattoos, including his surname etched across his stomach, a Windsor tattoo artist says he was horrible to work on.
"He was hyper and high strung," says Jeff Vella, who booted Imeson from his shop for his behaviour. Vella says Imeson often came in after partying at the casino and sometimes couldn't sit still for more than five minutes.
A well-built man who worked out often, Imeson took odd jobs, doing construction or helping people out, friends say. But he had several criminal convictions.
It's surprising, then, that he wanted to be a cop, enrolling in a police foundations course at a Windsor college. But that's where White -- enrolled in a different course -- ran into the man she once babysat.
Imeson was worried during his time at the college, she says -- his girlfriend was pregnant. She says he graduated, but then couldn't find work.
Imeson left for Whistler, B.C., to do just that, says another friend. He did get a job somewhere, but "he came back after his daughter was born," she says.
But Imeson's drug use -- a former rehab peer says he was into cocaine -- was heavy and his troubles continued.
This summer, Imeson did a 40-day program at Windsor's Salvation Army Addiction and Rehabilitation Centre, where former peers blame drugs for his troubles. While there, Imeson said he wanted to be a better dad and received visits from his baby's "hot" mother, says a former peer.
"He was a nice guy," the friend says.
Imeson graduated from the program "a model client," says Salvation Army Major Wilfred Harbin. But he relapsed.
Imeson moved into a rooming house in downtown Windsor, telling his landlords he had been in the military -- a story police have refuted.
The couple who rented to him say Imeson was polite and quiet, and kept pictures of his daughter in his room.
Friends say he was still in an on-and-off relationship with his daughter's mom.
Imeson was living in that home for three weeks when he decided to go to a downtown gay strip bar, the Tap.
Staff at the Tap say they had never seen Imeson before Tuesday, July 17, when he showed up and began talking to bartender Carlos Rivera.
Always on the hunt for fast cash, the high school dropout told friends he thought he could make good money dancing for men. But he didn't fill out the application, says operator Eddie An.
An said he had a bad feeling about Imeson, who was boasting about being a soldier.
But Rivera was interested and later left with Imeson.
Next morning, the landlords said, Imeson left early. In Rivera's car, he drove the more than 200 kilometres to Grand Bend. Rivera's strangled body remained in his room -- and wasn't found until Thursday, July 19.
Police have said that before Rivera's body was even found, Imeson had hooked up with South Huron teen Lindsey Glavin at a Grand Bend bar.
They hung out until Friday, July 20, when Glavin ended the relationship and dropped Imeson off in a Stephen Township field, north of Mount Carmel Line.
Assisted by Glavin, police combed that field Saturday, July 21, but called off the search the next day.
On Monday, July 23, four concessions east, the Regiers were found dead, spurring the nationwide hunt for Imeson. That hunt ended last Tuesday, eight days later, 600 kilometres away, in a wooded area of Quebec, north of Ottawa.
With no blaze of glory, Imeson went down peacefully, police said, laying down beside his loaded rifle.
He's been charged with first-degree murder in Rivera's death and, within a week, is expected to face the same charge for the deaths of the Regiers.
"He has gotten himself into a lot of trouble over the years but something like this? We are shocked," says White.
Another friend from Amherstburg says she was happy Imeson was captured, "because he doesn't have to run anymore," though she was worried about him, saying he looked thin on the news.
Source: London Free Press