The 15-year-old was last seen Aug. 27, 2007, in an area northwest of Saskatoon.
Police have laid a murder charge against a convicted contract killer in the 2007 disappearance of a 15-year-old B.C. teen in Saskatchewan.
Katelyn Marie Noble was last seen on Aug. 27, 2007, in the Radisson area, northwest of Saskatoon.
Eduard Viktorovit Baranec, a 41-year-old man who is serving time at a federal prison in B.C., was arrested Tuesday. He is charged with first-degree murder.
RCMP Cpl. Rob King said he hopes the arrest will bring some level of closure or measure of comfort for Noble’s family.
“Hopefully the long ordeal that they’ve been going through is … coming to an end,” King said.
Baranec appeared briefly by video Wednesday morning in provincial court in Saskatoon, seemingly relaxed and agreeable during the short hearing. He is scheduled to appear again on Oct. 16.
“It’s not like in TV where they get everything done in 20 minutes,” King told the Saskatoon StarPhoenix on Wednesday. “It takes time. It takes the interviews. It takes the boots on the ground.”
As the case is now before the courts, King was unable to reveal specifics, such as whether a Mr. Big sting was used during the investigation or whether Baranec is a suspect in any other cases.
Noble’s remains have not been located, King said, but those efforts will “probably never, ever stop.”
“You want to try to bring as much closure to the family as possible, and part of that would be returning her home,” he added.
In 2013, Leona Noble told The StarPhoenix that she thinks about her daughter “every single day, from the minute I wake up to when I go to bed at night.”
Leona previously told The StarPhoenix that Katelyn’s boyfriend was the last person to see her. She said he told her he saw another man, then-33-year-old Baranec, kissing Katelyn, who then pushed Baranec and ran away. Katelyn has not been seen since.
Noble’s mother said she had trouble controlling the “energetic” teen. At 12, Noble had become addicted to methamphetamine. She also made the football team in Grade 9, but was kicked off “for smoking weed with her brother.”
“Girls in Mission hated Katelyn. She would get beat up all the time,” said her mother. “I can see why she wanted to go.”
The mother heard from her every few days, and they remained close while Noble was living with the two men.
Things were going well, said her mother, until December, when Baranec “accused Katelyn of breaking the septic system in the house.”
Noble came back to Mission to visit for a few weeks in June 2007, which was the last time her mother saw her.
Then, her mother said, phone calls between her and Noble became more sporadic. She talked to her mother the last time in August, telling her she would be moving to Ottawa with her boyfriend, and would be getting an apartment “because she was sick and tired of Eduard.”
Then Leona received a call from Katelyn’s boyfriend on Aug. 17.
“He was frantic, asking if I’d heard from her,” she said. “He said they were packing and he didn’t know where she went. He said he went outside and saw Ed kissing her down the road and was walking towards them. She pushed Ed off, and started running down the road.”
In 2011, the RCMP investigation into Noble’s disappearance led to Baranec being charged in a different case: the 2007 murder of Amanpreet Kaur Bahia, a mother of three in Surrey. She was brutally stabbed and was found dead in a pool of blood with her one-year old daughter sitting on top of her.
Following a trial, Baranec and the woman’s husband, Baljinder Singh Bahia, were convicted of first-degree murder in her death. In 2016, Baranec was given a life sentence with no parole for 25 years.
In 2017, Surrey realtor Tanpreet Kaur Athwal was also convicted of first-degree murder in Bahia’s death. The court heard Athwal was suspected of being in a romantic relationship with her husband. The two were charged with planning Bahia’s death and hiring Baranec as a hitman. He had been Athwal’s client.
Matthew Nathanson, Baranec’s lawyer, said in a statement that “the allegations against him (in the Noble case) are just that, allegations.”
He added an appeal was made in the Bahia case due to their “position that there were legal errors in the trial process,” but no date has been set.
King wouldn’t confirm the relationship between Baranec and Noble, but said the cause of death along with motive will be presented in court.
“Investigations are complex, investigations take time,” King said. “The number of officer hours on this and the number of kilometres travelled is well into the thousands.”
After Noble’s disappearance, a number of searches were conducted in the Radisson area.
Her mother made multiple trips to Saskatchewan to help look for any sign of her daughter.
-With files from Joanne Lee-Young
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