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Killer’s taunts slowed journey to healing for Ray King Sr.

24 hours

Today, 24 hours launches an exclusive six-part series running through all of next week in partnership with Aftermath of Murder: Survivor Stories, a multi-part video series featuring interviews with ordinary people who have experienced the devastating loss of a loved one through homicide.

The series of stories and videos are produced in support of the National Victims of Crime Awareness Week, April 6-12 and the B.C. Victims of Homicide organization.

For most of us, our only experience with homicide is vicarious, through fictional stories in film and television, and via the real-life details covered in the news. Rarely do we get a full picture of the victim and almost never any true understanding of the terrible emotional impact on the survivors of homicide.

This series goes “behind the headlines” as survivors share their stories about the loss, grief, trauma and hope for healing in the aftermath of tragedy.

When Ray King Sr. is asked to describe his son, he perks up at the thought of the happy teenager who loved sports and flashed an artistic streak.

“He was all my hopes, my dreams,” King Sr. said.

Ray Jr., according to his father, was also a trusting soul.

It was that trust King Sr. believes allowed serial killer Clifford Olson — known as the Beast of B.C. — to kidnap the 15-year-old before murdering him in 1981.

“Unfortunately, (Ray) trusted everybody,” said King Sr. during his participation in a new video series called Aftermath of Murder: Survivor Stories. The video series coincides with National Victims of Crime Awareness Week, April 6-12.

In the video — which can be viewed in full by clicking on the QR code — King Sr. reveals extensive details of what happened to his son and his own 30-year journey towards healing — a process relentlessly hampered by Olson, convicted of killing 11 children between 1980-81.

The serial killer didn’t just disappear into the prison system after being convicted. He wrote taunting letters to victims, King Sr. said, and mounted legal challenges demanding everything from better prison conditions to pension benefits to early parole. Every few months, King Sr. said, it seemed Olson was back in the spotlight.

“Every time he was in the press I just flipped,” said King Sr.

King Sr. used his job to “work out frustrations,” but an accident in 1989 left him injured and sitting at home, where he got lost in alcohol and pain killers.

Things changed in the mid-1990s when he got involved with Canadians Against Violence.

“It’s very important because when this happens we’re all alone,” King Sr. said. “It’s important that we can tell people how we feel.”

Today, King Sr. is a victims’ advocate who also helps inmates take responsibility for their crimes.

His journey also took a great leap forward on Sept. 30, 2011 — the day Olson died of cancer.

“It was like night and day,” King Sr. said. “I felt the weight of the world lift off my shoulders because I knew I didn’t have to deal with him anymore.”

If you or someone you know has been affected by homicide go to the B.C. Victims of Homicide website at for resources and information on support groups.

Aftermath of Murder Survivor Stories is produced by Brent Stafford, of Shaky Egg Communications Inc., who is also a 24 hours Vancouver columnist.


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