Podcast examines historic murders of three Victoria teens

CHEK

Del Gallup keeps treasured items made by his late daughter, Kimberly Gallup.

“This she made in grade two at Lake Hill School,” he said, pointing to some pottery. “There’s an autograph in there somewhere. Yep.”

He’s talking about the school projects Kimberly made.

“She made this at Lake Hill School too, probably Grade 2,” he said.

Between June 1990 and June 1991, someone murdered three teenage girls living in Victoria, including Kimberly. Their unsolved cases are now the focus of a new podcast series, “Sweethearts.”

An excerpt from the first episode, part of the latest season of the Rogers Frequency “Island Crime” series, deals with Kimberly’s murder.

“Seventeen-year-old Kimberly Gallup was killed on November 1, 1990, just a few weeks after her 17th birthday on Halloween,” says podcaster Laura Palmer.

The eight-part series aims to change how the stories of the three murdered teens are told to a new audience.

Cheri Lynn Smith died in June 1990. She was beaten to death, and her remains were not discovered for three months in the bushes off Munns Road north of Thetis Lake.

That November, 17-year-old Kimberly was strangled to death in a motel room at the Colony Motor Inn in Victoria.

Seventeen-year-old Melissa Nicholson’s body was found at Shawnigan Lake in June 1991.

At the time, friends said she wanted to get off the streets and become a hairdresser.

“Melissa was not just a prostitute. She was out there to support herself. She did not have any other way or know any other way to survive,” said a friend at the time.

“Melissa is not like that. There is more to her than that.”

The murder of three 17-year-old girls in one year would typically attract much more attention.

But the disappearance of four-year-old Michael Dunahee from a Victoria playground on March 24, 1991, dominated the headlines.

“Once the Dunahee investigation kicked in, the rest of kind of history. I don’t think I’ve really heard anything since,” said Del.

Insp. Damien Kowalewich of Saanich Police said the Cheri Lynn Smith file remains open and active.

“We are always very aware that even though that time has passed, this has had such an effect on friends and family of Cheri,” he told CHEK News.

“We certainly, our hearts go out to her, and we will continue to work on this.”

The “Sweethearts” podcast also examines the role sex trafficking played in the murders and if technology could bring new answers and much-needed closure for the families.

READ ALSO: ‘We keep the hope alive’: Annual walk/run marks 33rd anniversary of Michael Dunahee’s disappearance

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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