Serial killer Clifford Olson nearly dead of cancer

Relieved families of his victims say they've been advised the 71-year-old mass murderer has only days left.

Photo courtesy of YouTube.

A muted wave of relief washed across Canada today as news spread that notorious serial killer Clifford Olson -- the Beast of B.C. -- is apparently just days away from dying of cancer.

The Canadian Press has the story:

VANCOUVER -- Clifford Olson, Canada's most reviled serial killer who continued to torment his victims' families even from prison, is just days from death, families of his child victims say.

They say Olson's last breath will bring some closure decades after his murderous crime spree ended with a controversial cash-for-bodies deal with police.

Sharon Rosenfeldt, the mother of one of his 11 victims, said the weight of Olson's actions has been hanging around her neck like a heavy necklace for three decades.

"I think it will lighten somewhat with his death. Actually, I think it'll lighten quite a bit with his death,'' she said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

Olson has been moved to a hospital in Quebec and officials have told the family members of his victims that he isn't expected to live out the month.

The news is something Raymond King, 69, has been waiting for since his 15-year-old son Raymond Jr. was abducted and murdered.

"I wanted it 30 years ago, so did the rest of us,'' King said, referring to some other family members of Olson's victims.

"It will close some doors. At least he'll be out of our face. It's been really difficult for us to heal with him interfering in our lives over and over and over again whenever he chose,'' King said from his Maple Ridge home.

"The media didn't help. They just faithfully reported everything he had to say for some reason.''

Rosenfeldt, 65, said she was told by the commissioner for Corrections Canada that the 71-year-old killer's cancer has spread through his body.

"At first, it was very much a shock. Then I became emotional, not necessarily over Olson but I became emotional over my son, his little face flashed before me, my children, my family, my parents who were so devastated by this years ago.''

Olson may have only days to live, news that left Rosenfeldt in a state of relief, but also confusion.

"I felt, 'My God Sharon, I should be feeling yippee.' But I've been conditioned, I guess. I was raised in a Christian belief that I just don't get yippee over anybody's death.''

Sixteen-year-old Daryn Johnsrude, one of Olson's first victims, was Rosenfeldt's son.

King said victims' services staff had been phoning the families over the last few months every time Olson was taken from prison to hospital.

He was at Olson's last parole hearing in December and said Olson had mentioned that it might be his last hearing.

King didn't believe much of what Olson said during his parole hearings.

"But then he had an affidavit saying he renounced his Canadian citizenship. He was going off on a rant that he didn't want to be a Canadian anymore. I figured great, you don't get your pension anymore.''

Last year, the federal government moved to cut off Olson's more than $1,100 monthly Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement payments. The cutoff would take effect this January, King said.

Olson, once dubbed "the Beast of B.C.'' in media reports, had been serving a life sentence at a maximum-security prison. He was handed 11 concurrent life terms in 1982 after pleading guilty to the murders, which occurred in and around the Vancouver area in 1981.

The admission followed a deal that paid Olson $100,000 to lead police to the remains of his young victims. The case -- especially the blood-money payoff -- sparked a storm of controversy that engulfed senior B.C. justice authorities.

Because the trial was aborted, much of the evidence surrounding the murders and the police investigation was never disclosed.

"Mr. Olson presents a high risk and a psychopathic risk,'' National Parole Board panel member Jacques Letendre said at Olson's parole hearing in 2006.

"He is a sexual sadist and a narcissist. If released, he will kill again.''

After her son's death, Rosenfeldt and her husband Gary, who has since passed away, started the charity group Victims of Violence.

Rosenfeldt said she and her husband were appalled to learn after their son's death that Olson had more than 90 previous convictions by the time he was arrested for killing the B.C. children.

She said there were numerous other charges of rape and abduction involving children, but some of them never made it to trial.

She believes the justice system helped Olson become the "monster'' he eventually became.

Olson's victims, killed over an eight-month period between Nov. 17, 1980 and July 30, 1981, were boys and girls between the ages of nine and 17.

They didn't fit the profile of troubled youth who may have run away from home. They disappeared without a trace, gripping Vancouver and its suburbs in terror. Police were under tremendous pressure to solve the disappearances.

Olson had been a suspect for weeks. He was arrested Aug. 12, 1981, on Vancouver Island after a surveillance team spotted him picking up two young hitchhikers.

Olson faced 10 first-degree murder counts as his trial began Jan. 14, 1982. But it had barely begun when he reversed his not guilty plea, admitted to 11 killings and was sentenced to life with no parole eligibility for 25 years.

A Correction's Canada spokeswoman refused to confirm that Olson was ill, citing the man's privacy concerns.

Lori Pothier said the family members of Olson's victims are entitled to be alerted to Olson's movements and condition under the law.

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