The Unsolved Murder Of Melissa Rehorek, Canada, 1976

Here is another murder of a young lady from the Calgary area in the 1970s. This case has been linked, by the RCMP, to the strangulation killing of 19 year old Barbara MacLean in February 1977.

Brief Circumstances.

Melissa Rehorek, 20.


On 16th September 1976 Ms Rehorek was found dead in a ditch about 14 miles west of Calgary, Alberta. According to the details released by the cops that places her being found in the below area.

This is about a mile north of route 1 which runs to the west of Calgary. Ms Rehorek was a chambermaid at a Calgary hotel. She had two days off and decided to spend the time hitchhiking. From the text I found this was normal for her. There was a very different attitude to hitchhiking back then. Young people hitchhiked…As crazy as that might seem to us today.

She was seen in Calgary at 9.30pm on 15th September at a bus depot. The place where she was found off Route 1 is isolated. By the time she got a lift and got there, it would have been dark.

The Police Investigation

Like Barbara MacLean, Ms Rehorek had moved to Calgary not long before she was killed. Both women were starting a new phase of their lives. I think sometimes we read these sort of cases and the real people involved become nothing more than words on a screen. The police and families dealt with the flesh and blood reality. Two young women were alive and probably full of expectation and someone acted as a supreme authority and ended them. They would have known terror and pain. I don’t think we should forget that when we see the tears of those convicted. I don’t think we should forget that the like of Colin Pitchfork (a vile British murderer) did just that and later played on the misplaced compassion of our society.

Obviously a hitchhiker is vulnerable in a way many victims are not and unless someone sees who picked them up the trail goes cold. Sadly that was the situation for the cops in 1976.

A grey coloured half-ton truck was seen in the area and no-one came forward to say they were the driver. Apart from that there was little to go on. Ms Rehorek was found clothed and with all her possessions. This included money. She had been strangled and so many features tied in with Ms Maclean’s killing. Both victims were a similar age, both likely thumbed a lift from a stranger, both were strangled and both were left on or near gravel roads.

My Take

Even I can point to my own writing here and show many similar tales. These poor women go into the mists of time and apart from family, friends and some aging coppers they are forgotten. I have seen the name Gary McAstocker mentioned in connection with these killings. He is believed to have had access to a truck of that description. My only reservation is that he killed himself in 1991 at the age of 34. That would mean he was 16 or 17 when Ms Rehorek was murdered.  He was a rapist certainly, but I noticed he came from an area 170 miles north and several of his crimes were there. Could he have been driving a truck ( a small pick up type) west out of Calgary in September 1976? Maybe a kind Canadian can tell me how likely that would have been.

The link to the RCMP is below if you know anything about this murder.

Take Care