The Abbotsford Killer

“Anyone familiar with the case of the Abbotsford killer will no doubt recall it as one of the strangest and most frightening murder cases imaginable.” [Rod Gehl]


As a relative of the murder victim I can tell you that’s an understatement.  It’s also the first line of the only book I’ve ever ordered based on the title alone: THROUGH THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW: THE SEARCH FOR THE ABBOTSFORD KILLER.

Book_Through the Valley

I’m just beginning to read it but already can tell it’s going to be difficult. This isn’t a story meant to entertain. It’s the unembellished account of what happened to my second cousin, Tanya Selina Smith, written by Rod Gehl, the team commander of the Homicide Task Force that investigated and solved the mystery of her 1995 murder. Eventually Terry Driver was arrested and convicted, but for seven months his taunts terrorized the people of the Fraser Valley, especially Tanya’s friend, Misty Cockerill, who was with her at the time but survived the attack.


I haven’t read far enough to tell whether this is a well written book. I know it’s an ugly story and I won’t “enjoy” it, but I will read it for the truth it contains and because of why it was written: “On behalf of the police officers who worked on this investigation, this book is dedicated to the victims of crime – in particular to the memory of Tanya Smith, whose young life was senselessly taken, and to the courage of her friend, Misty Cockerill, who fought back against incredible injuries to survive and help the police and prosecutors to capture and convict the killer.” “The author’s profits from this book will be donated to victims of crime.”


Having read only the first page, I recommend it to you.

CTV News Item

House of James, Abbotsford, BC


Published by Carol

A freelance writer of fiction and non-fiction living on the West Coast of Canada.

14 thoughts on “The Abbotsford Killer

    1. Given your writing genre you’ll be able to appreciate the investigative process. I find the details painful to read, but at the same time there’s a compulsion to learn the how’s and why’s of what happened from an inside perspective, and hear how the legal system functioned.

  1. Hi Carol,
    I hope that you found the book to be a final chapter in this tragedy. I did. After being in the dark for years about the investigation I appreciated that I could learn about it. I’m sure that it was difficult to read but I want to thank you for trying, if nothing else, and supporting a much needed cause.

    My sympathies always.

    1. Misty, thanks so much for visiting my blog and for your comment. What happened to you and Tanya was unspeakably horrible and has always been hard to think about but yes, Gehl’s methodical account of how the justice system dealt with it does help put the past in its place. I’m glad you have been able to move on, too. I’m sure it has taken a huge amount of courage and trust. You’ve been in my prayers through the years.

  2. Carol, thank you for your kind thoughts on my cousin’s passing. May you also continue to be comforted in your own cousin’s murder. It is so hard to make sense of these things, but I know you understand. Blessings to you.

    1. As the years pass I think of it less often but when I do it still rattles me. In the ordinary-ness of my life it never seemed like murder could intrude. I guess it’s as I’ve heard said, “We can’t know what our tomorrows hold, but we know Who holds our tomorrows.” I thank God for faith.

  3. Yeah, I’m sorry, but being a first cousin of Tanya, could you please remind me who you are? I can’t quite seem to place you in my family tree.

    1. Could be you don’t attend too many McGuire family functions? We’re a big family, aren’t we? Your grandmother Fernie was my Dad’s sister. Feel free to e-mail me if you have more questions.

  4. Hi!i’d like to talk with misty.y saw on TV the story about what’s so cruel…thank yoy

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