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Cold case as book challenges 22 year old death

A controversial new book has been released that claims a Canadian hockey player was run over by a ski grooming machine and then thrown off a cliff to cover up the death 22 years ago reports Canadian media.

John Leake said he wrote the book Cold a Long Time: An Alpine Mystery about the death of the hockey player Duncan MacPherson after looking at the evidence and being convinced that there had been a cover-up.

MacPherson played with his hometown Blades and was a first-round draft pick of the New York Islanders disappeared in August 1989 while travelling in Europe.

Fourteen years later, melting ice at a resort on the Stubai Glacier in Austria released MacPherson's body from its icy tomb.

His parents Lynda and Bob were told that he had fallen down an out-of-bounds crevasse but later were given compelling evidence that he was hit by a snow-grooming machine while snowboarding, severing three of his limbs, then thrown into a chasm to conceal the tragedy.

They strongly suspected a path of deception and coverup from a wide range of authority figures and medical people in Austria.

"I believe that for the ski resort and for the Innsbruck authorities, the best strategy for them is not to stir the pot and just hope it goes away," says Leake.

But he is now trying to get the book published in German so that people who live in Austria can follow the case and make their own conclusions.

He said the case started with an attempt by employees at the ski resort to cover up an accident, incompetence and passivity from investigating police, and a series of lies that stretched over two decades.

Leake said: "It should have been, and could have been, very easy to solve the case of what happened to Duncan. With some very basic police work, they could have gotten to the bottom of it. The mystery was created by this refusal of the authorities in Austria to investigate it. What the police could have quickly discovered, was entirely left to Lynda and Bob to discover. One afternoon of police work in Austria turns into, literally, two decades of frustration for the parents. For me, it was stunning to contemplate that."

Leake says he had to suspend his own disbelief when he first immersed himself in the case. It seemed too improbable, but he soon realized that it was, in fact, not improbable at all.

The MacPhersons used up much of their life savings travelling back and forth from Saskatoon to Austria while trying, almost single-handedly, to unravel the mystery behind their son's death and disappearance.

Leake says that 25 per cent of proceeds from books ordered off his website,
www. coldalongtime.com, will go to Duncan's parents.

And, in the final accounting, both he and the MacPhersons feel it was a fight well worth waging.

"It was a very, very difficult project," says Leake, an American-born writer who lived in Austria for more than 10 years. "I was sucked into the mystery of it, but I didn't want to write anything I didn't feel 100 per cent confident was true. So much about it was ambiguous, initially. I thought it was just a horrible situation to be in, and will we ever manage to figure this out?

"Until I hired the ski-accident investigator, I really felt like we may never cut through the ambiguity of this. That was the big breakthrough, where I began to feel like now we were getting somewhere. I could feel comfortable in writing this and publishing this, because we were getting a clear sense of what happened."

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Write your comment to this article here

  • Johanna Steinberger wrote on 25. 03. 2012 from San Francisco about "Cold case as book challen..."

    I am an Austrian expat who has actually read this book: The author doesn't maintain that Duncan's body was thrown off a cliff but was concealed in a crevasse.

    Reply


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