Show Notes

Violence against native and indigenous women in the North American continent is an epidemic, one that deserves way more media that it gets. According the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls, published in Canada in 2019, the murder rate of indigenous women is six times higher than the average rate amongst non-indigenous women. This is a very broad and complex issue that I want to dedicate an entire episode to so I won’t be discussing much about the report or other inequalities indiginous women face in this episode. In this episode, I want to discuss one native Canadian women whose life was cruelly taken away and 10 years later, despite police having an audio recording of the man most likely responsible for her murder, she has not yet received justice. Let's uncover the unsolved murder of Amber Tuccaro.  

 

If you have any information regarding Amber's murder or if you recognise the voice in the audio clip, please contact Edmonton Police Service at 780-423-4567, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) 



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Music by CO.AG - Dark Rage, Haunted and The Rake



 

Amber Tuccaro
Amber Tuccaro
Amber with her son Jacob

 

Sources

 

https://www.cbc.ca/news/indigenous/amber-tuccaro-s-unsolved-murder-do-you-recognize-this-voice-1.3102635 

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/amber-tuccaro-murder-reward-1.4275054 

https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/alberta-family-seeking-daughters-murderer-whose-voice-was-likely-recorded-on-her-last-ever-phone-call 

http://www.the13thfloor.tv/2016/11/08/could-this-phone-recording-help-solve-the-murder-of-amber-tuccaro/ 

https://edmontonsun.com/2012/08/28/project-kare-calls-for-help-in-solving-alberta-womans-disappearance/wcm/f8ffc560-214c-4a99-8663-2c997b15cb66 

http://ammsa.com/publications/alberta-sweetgrass/missing-person%E2%80%99s-investigation-turns-%E2%80%9Csuspicious%E2%80%9D-death 

https://edmontonsun.com/2013/11/12/rcmp-unveiled-two-billboards-in-leduc-county-in-hopes-to-find-the-person-who-killed-her/wcm/678a87ae-6933-46dd-9d37-f9d997525923 

https://globalnews.ca/news/2135689/more-remains-near-leduc-identified-rcmp-may-be-searching-for-a-serial-killer/ 

http://www.cbc.ca/missingandmurdered/mmiw/profiles/amber-alyssa-tuccaro 

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/dir/Nisku+Place+Motel,+11+Avenue,+Nisku,+AB,+Canada/Rolly+View,+AB,+Canada/50th+Street,+Beaumont,+AB,+Canada/@53.3042464,-113.5170404,11.46z/data=!4m20!4m19!1m5!1m1!1s0x539ff825f53eac73:0x32e025a0e8c0e57e!2m2!1d-113.5369088!2d53.3098597!1m5!1m1!1s0x53a0016b09fa3657:0x568fe4a584290436!2m2!1d-113.3200999!2d53.250592!1m5!1m1!1s0x53a01cc8ae79cc13:0x30702740fe9151bd!2m2!1d-113.4165475!2d53.3668764!3e0 

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/delores-brower-s-remains-identified-1.3052089 

http://www.cbc.ca/missingandmurdered/mmiw/profile/katie-sylvia-ballantyne 

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/180443222/amber-alyssa-tuccaro 

http://www.cbc.ca/missingandmurdered/mmiw/profiles/edna-bernard 

https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/convicted-murderer-thomas-svekla-was-suspect-in-disappearances-of-two-edmonton-women-whose-remains-recently-found 

Show Transcript

Violence against native and indigenous women in the North American continent is an epidemic, one that deserves way more media that it gets. According the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls, published in Canada in 2019, the murder rate of indigenous women is six times higher than the average rate amongst non-indigenous women. This is a very broad and complex issue that I want to dedicate an entire episode to so I won’t be discussing much about the report or other inequalities indiginous women face in this episode. In this episode, I want to discuss one native Canadian women whose life was cruelly taken away and 10 years later, despite police having an audio recording of the man most liekly responsible for her murder, she has not yet received justice. Lets uncover the unsolved murder of Amber Tuccaro.  

 

Amber Alyssa Tuccaro was born on the 3rd of January 1990 and lived in Alberta, Canada with her son Jacob, who was just over a year old when he last saw his mother. Amber  was said to love singing, once telling her mum that her face would be on billboards one day. Sadly, this would happen but under very tragic circumstances. Sadly, I couldn't find out a lot about Amber's life as all news reports on her centre around her disapperance in 2010 and the discovery of her body in 2012. 

 
Amber, her son Jacob and a female friend of Amber's flew from Fort McMurray to Nisku on the 17th of August for the purpose of attending a medical appointment however it seems that they planned to stay there for a few days. They opted to stay at the Nisku Place Hotel, which was right next to Edmonton International Airport. The plan was for the trio to head into Beaumont on the 19th however Amber was eager to experience what the city had to offer so she decided to go on the evening on the 18th, although it has also been speculated she intended on meeting another friend in Beaumont. She left the hotel between  7pm-7.30pm and this was a last day her friend or her son would see her. She would be reported missing on the 20th of August to the RCMP. 

 
They didn't take her disappearance seriously, assuming that she was out partying. They took her personal belongings that she had left in the hotel room and on the 4th of September, t,hey released a statement to the media, saying: "We don't have any reason to believe she is any danger. We know that she is in the Edmonton area." It is unknown how they "knew" she was still in Edmonton as they have not released that there was any confirmed sightings for her. Shortly thereafter, the RCMP took Amber's name off the list of missing persons, despite no confirmed sightings of her and without having found her. They, then, destroyed Amber's personal belongings that had been taken from her hotel room. It is very unlikely that any of these items would have assisted in the investigation however it is very disrespectful and they had no right to do this. Amber's mum, Vivian had to fight for one month to have her name put back on the missing persons list. RCMP have admitted that Amber's investigation was "mishandled" at the beginning and Vivian has since filed a federal public complaint against the Edmonton RCMP. Amber's case is now in the hands of Project KARE, a unit within the RCMP that investigates and reviews files of missing vulnerable persons throughout Alberta and Edmonton. 
 

On the 29th of August 2012, two years after Amber's disappearance, the RCMP released 61 seconds of audio recorded on the night Amber disappeared. This is the first time the RCMP had released an audio clip to the public, as part of an appeal for information. The audio clip is from a call placed to Amber's phone and apparently, the entire call lasted 17 minutes. Police refused to reveal who had called Amber that night and how they had obtained the recording but it has now been verified that her brother called her from prison and that is why the conversation had been recorded. At the time of the phone call, Amber was in an unidentified man's car. It is believed she was trying to hitchhike and had instructed the unidentified man to take her to Beaumont. During the call, it becomes clear she is doubting whether or not the man is driving her towards Beaumont and asks him repeatedly if they are going towards the city or not.  Here is the full version of the released audio clip;

 

“Where are we by?” 

“We’re just heading south of, uh, Beaumont or north to Beaumont” 

“We’re heading north to Beaumont” 

“Yo, where are we going?” 

“Just….” (intelligible) 

“No this is a …” he talks over her 

“the back roads” 

“Are you fucking kidding me?” 

“No, I’m not kidding you” 

“You better not take, You better not be taking me anywhere I don’t want to go. I want to go into the city, ok?” 

“The one end of the street” 

“Yo, we’re not going into the city, are we?” 

“We are. We’re going…” 

“No we’re not” 

“Yes.” 

“Then where the fuck are these roads going to?” 

“To 50th street” 

“50th street, are you sure?” 

“Absolutely” 

“Yo, where are we going?” 

“50th street” 

“50th street?” 

“50th street” 

“East, right?” 

“East” 

“(intelligible)….over …..(intelligible) now” 

“Gravel” 

“(intelligible)” beep, beep, beep 
 

The driver that you can hear in the audio has only ever been referred to by the RCMP as a person of interest, not a suspect. The police said that they believe the driver didn't drive north to Beaumont but instead drove south to rural Ludac County. I would be interested to know how they knew exactly where he was taking her based solely of the audio from the call and I suspect the reason police have not released more of the audio in order to preserve the integrity of the investigation. Given that we are soon approaching the 10 year anniversary of Amber's disappearance and police don’t seem to be any closer to finding her killer, I hope that in order to raise public interest in the case, they will consider releasing more of the audio. During my research, I found a post on Reddit from someone who lives in the area where Amber disappeared and they were able to give us an insight into the roads in the area:  

I grew up in the Nisku area, in fact two range roads over from where the body of Amber and all the other women have been found. Amber is not the only one unfortunately, police believe these murders are the work of a Serial killer. 

In between the motel she was picked up to 50th street, there are no perpendicular gravel roads that would connect, all roads are paved now. So he clearly took her down a parallel side road, in the opposite direction. This was someone who knows the area, and knows exactly where to go. This area is fairly sparsely populated, mostly small acreages and farmland. It takes about 10 minutes to get from Nisku Motel to 50th street towards Beaumont. I drive that road 3-5 times a week. So if the call was 17 minutes long, I strongly believe he was backtracking and heading down random side roads to confuse or disorient her. There are times where I'm on those roads at 9pm and never see another car until I hit Beaumont, so I have a very easy time believing they could go unnoticed later in the night on the back roads. I think he drove her down Airport Road towards 50th, crossed 50th, and then turned South down RR241. It would match the timeline. RR241 is gravel. 

Many have speculated whether the driver knew she was on the phone or not but I believe he did as I doubt the call would have lasted as long as 17 minutes if she wasn't talking to her brother, who was on the other end of the line. Also, it probably would have seemed strange to other inmates and guards around her brother during the call if he wasn't talking to her at least some of the time. A few times during the recording, you can hear Amber repeating things the driver has said to her, possibly so her brother was able to hear it too. She questioned where he was taking her and the direction they were going in and it's likely she repeated the answers he gave her so her brother would know what was going on. A few different women have, independently, gone to police and named the same man as being the unidentified male heard on the tape but police have ruled him out as a suspect, He is a known & convicted sex offender so it is understandable why people would suspect him. O have chosen not to name him on this podcast, purely because police have ruled him out however if you choose to look more into this case yourself, his name is pop up very quickly. 
 

Two days after the recording was released, on the 1st of September 2012, horse-back riders found remains on a rural property near Ludac County. The remains were identified as belonging to Amber Tuccaro and it appears that the release of the audio recording didn't play a part in her remains being discovered. The RCMP have said her death is being treated as suspicious and have never publicly stated it is a murder investigation. The most likely explanation for this is the condition of Amber's remains. She had to be identified by her dental records, meaning her body would have been in an advances state of decomposition and from what I was able to gather, they have only managed to locate her skull so it is likely that they don't know her cause of death, According to Google Maps, it would have taken 17 minutes to drive from the hotel Amber was staying at to where her remains were found, the exact length of time as the phone call. Also, remember how they police said they claimed the man was driving to rural south Leduc county? That’s exactly where Amber was found. 

 

As of February 2020, the last publicly known lead in this case happened just weeks ago when a man from Utah took to Facebook, accusing his father of being Amber's killer. I am not going to read the entire post but I'll sum up what it said. The man claims that his father is addicted to meth and that he suspects he is connected to several disappearances in Canada and has evidence to prove it and that he has submitted all of this to the relevant authorities. The only victim he names in the post is Amber Tuccaro and says that he is certain the voice on the audio tape is his fathers. He claims his father lived in Canada at the time of Ambers disappearance and that he believes his father was involved in several cases that took place in the 70's, spanning over at least 5 different states. The man writing the post is an author that claims in the post that he is not accusing his father in order to sell more books, but that he genuinely believes his father is a violent criminal. He has since taken the post down as he says his fmaily was receiveing threats as a result. The RCMP have publicitly stated that they are aware of the post and are treating it like anyone tip but have urged people not to blindly believe the allegations. A police spokesperson commented on the post stating “(Investigators) determined that many of the names of missing persons files provided to RCMP by the individual had already been solved,” Cpl. Deanna Fontaine said. 

“We continue to seek information on the case, but caution that erroneous information can have negative effects to the investigation to the well-being of the family.” Ambers  mother had not been made aware of the post before it was public news, which caused her further pain and upset. She stated “My phone starts beeping, beeping, beeping, asking, ‘Have you seen this?’ And I was, like, ‘What the heck, I haven’t seen nothing,’”“This is not the first time something like this has happened,” Tuccaro said, adding that recently she was on Facebook and a memory popped up from around this time last year, when someone had offered another tip. 

“We get hopeful, but at the same time it’s like, if this is not real, this is not fair. … It’s not fair to my family. Like, I know he’s trying to help, don’t get me wrong; I appreciate stuff like that. But make sure it’s confirmed before they post,” she added. I really was in two minds on whether to even mention this post and the only reason I am covering it is because the RCMP have publicy acknowledged it as a tip. Social media is a great tool for spreading awareness to cases as it only takes one person seeing, hearing or reading about a case for authorities to receive that one tip they need in order to solve the case. Social media has it's purpose and so do the police and we should not get them confused. This information belongs in the hands of authorities, not anyone else. This man has nto been arrested or even named as a suspect but his name will know forever be linked to this case, which, I he is innocent, could possibly ruin his life. It doesn't help him, or the family or authorities to post this information so please think twice before going on social media. As much as I truly appreciate people sharing, not only my podcast but the work other true crime creators do in order to raise exposure, I will also always include contact details for the authorities in all my episodes. If you have any information on this, or any other case, please tell your story to authorities and let police do their job.  
 

Many theorise that Amber was victim to a serial killer, as the remains of four other women, missing from Edmonton, have been found within eight kilometres of each other. The other four women were; Katie Ballantyne who went missing in May of 2003 and found July that same year; Delores Bower who went missing in May of 2004 and wasn't found until April 2015; Edna Bernard who went missing in May 2002 and found the next day and Corrie Ottenbreit who went missing in 2004 and was found in 2015. Katie, Delores, Edna and Corrie all worked as sex workers and were all known to frequent the corner of 118th Avenue and 70th Street, which was a red-light district, a 33 minute drive from where Amber was staying. This corner is also were all four women were last seen. I think it is extremely likely that Katie, Delores, Edna and Corrie were all killed by the same man however Amber doesn't seem to fit his pattern as she wasn't a sex worker and wasn't in that specific area when she was picked up. Thomas George Svekla is a suspect in all of their murders (and several others) and is currently in prison, convicted of Theresa Innes, who was also a sex worker. However Thomas was in prison at the time Amber disappeared. It may have just been a coincidence that Amber was found near all these other women but the RCMP have not ruled out a serial killer theory - but they know it wasn't Thomas George Svekla. 
 

 Sadly, if the RCMP had taken Amber's case more seriously from the beginning, we might have more answers or at least more evidence that would help in getting Amber justice. The Edmonton Remand Centre, the prison Amber's brother was in when he called her that fateful evening, had only started recording calls earlier that year and if they hadn't put that policy in place, we wouldn't even have the audio clip as evidence. Amber's son is now living with his grandmother Vivian, who said he is a constant reminder of Amber. Amber's mum Tootsie said “Just the way he looks at me sometimes, and the way he stands like his mommy... The way he says words, he says them the way Amber used to, like Amber had a witty attitude and that’s what Jacob has,”. Sadly, Amber's dad Andrew died in 2014 without ever knowing who killed Amber. I sincerley hope that the rest of her family will, one day, receive clousure and that Amber will receive justice.  

 
If you have any information regarding Amber's murder or if you recognise the voice in the audio clip, please contact Edmonton Police Service at 780-423-4567, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477)