Possible break in Canadian "gay chat room" murder

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com January 11 2003 1:00 AM ET

Police in Quebec City are holding a Montreal man for questioning in the beating death of gay actor Christopher Raynsford of Ottawa, reports the Ottawa Citizen. Raynsford, 34, was found dead in his Ottawa apartment on December 4. He had been bludgeoned to death several days earlier.

Earlier this week, police identified Sebastien Roy, 24, as possibly the last person to see Raynsford alive and asked for public help in finding him. Quebec City police spokesman Steve Desroches said Roy was detained Thursday night after a police officer who had seen his photo recognized him at the Quebec City courthouse, where he was apparently seeking a lawyer. Quebec City police immediately contacted Ottawa police and took Roy in for questioning. Staff sergeant David Lengacher said Roy is a "person of interest" in the Raynsford case and was wanted for questioning.

Raynsford's killing sent a wave of fear through Ottawa's gay community. Many feared his homicide was a hate crime, but police have said there is no evidence that the killing was motivated by his sexual orientation. A few weeks before his death, Raynsford told friends he had been threatened and robbed at knifepoint by a man he met on an Internet chat line. The incident was never reported to police.

But while investigating Raynsford's death, police soon turned their attention to Roy. "Mr. Roy is known to associate in the gay communities of whichever city he visits and was last seen in Montreal," stated a public alert issued by police earlier this week. "[He] has also lived in Alberta and British Columbia in the recent past."