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Richard Oland’s blood found on son’s jacket, police say

The Saint John Police Force executed a criminal code search warrant at the Rothesay, NB home of Dennis Oland on Thursday, July 14, 2011. Dennis Oland is the son of Richard Oland, who was found killed at his Saint John, NB office on Thursday, July 7, 2011.

David Smith-MDS Photography/The Globe and Mail

More than two years after prominent New Brunswick businessman Richard Oland was found dead in his Saint John office, newly released police documents reveal his blood was found on a designer-sports jacket belonging to his son, Dennis.

The brown Hugo Boss jacket, with a dry-cleaning tag on it, was seized from Dennis Oland's home in Rothesay, a tony suburb of Saint John, in July, 2011. It is now the newest piece of information to be made public in the investigation into Richard Oland's death.

In May, Dennis Oland, 45, was named as the suspect in the high-profile case after a New Brunswick judge removed a publication ban on the identity of people subject to search warrants.

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Richard Oland was found dead on July 7, 2011 – no cause of death has ever been revealed.

According to documents released Friday, Richard Oland's secretary told police that when she left work on July 6, her boss was there with his son, Dennis. They were researching their family tree. The secretary said Dennis Oland was wearing a brown sports jacket.

No charges or arrests have been made in this case. The Telegraph-Journal and CBC went to court to have the documents released. They provide a glimpse into the strained relationships between the members of the exceedingly private yet well-known Maritime family that brews Moosehead beer.

Dennis Oland, a stockbroker, is one of Richard and Constance's three children and their only son. In the police document, Constance gave a statement on July 7, 2011, describing Richard as "having a very strong and controlling personality."

She said that Richard had high expectations and was "hardest on Dennis Oland and her."

In his statement, Dennis Oland, who was also interviewed that day, said that his relationship with his father was "perfect up until his teen years."

The police officer who took the statement wrote that Dennis Oland said, "His father felt that a father could not be friends with his son."

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However, Dennis Oland noted his father paid for his divorce, which he had gone through several years earlier, "so Dennis would not lose his home."

"Dennis Oland stated that it was fantastic that his father would do that," according to the document.

His father lent him $500,000 to $600,000, according to a second police document, released Friday, and Dennis paid him a monthly, interest-only payment.

The document indicates, however, that in the two months before his father died, Dennis Oland missed the monthly payments – the amount was blacked out. On July 5, 2011, there was a deposit. "On July 7, 2011, the deposit was returned NSF," according to the police document.

The Olands began brewing beer in Nova Scotia in the mid-1800s. When he died, Richard Oland was a philanthropist and investor. He had left the family brewing business in the early 1980s. His older brother, Derek, took it over and it is run by his family.

Seven days after Richard was found dead, police searched Dennis Oland's home. They seized 57 items, including a dry-cleaning receipt dated July 8, 2011. "The receipts refer to one pair of pants, two sports jackets and sixteen shirts," according to the documents.

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"Exhibit 221" is the Hugo Boss jacket with the dry-cleaning tag. Forensic testing showed blood on the outside right sleeve and the outside upper chest areas that had "DNA profiles that were obtained which matched Richard Oland's DNA standard," according to the documents.

"The estimated probability of selecting an unrelated individual at random from the Canadian Caucasian population with the same profile was 1 in 180 million," the document says.

Dennis Oland told police that he was wearing a navy blazer on July 6 – but an officer who interviewed him, said, "I do not believe that Dennis Oland was wearing a navy blazer when he visited Richard Oland …" the document says.

He noted that security video shows Dennis Oland in a brown sports jacket that day.

With reports from Gordon Pitts and The Canadian Press

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About the Author
Ontario politics reporter

Jane Taber is a reporter at Queen’s Park. After spending three years reporting from the Atlantic, she has returned to Ontario and back to writing about her passion, politics. She spent 25 years covering Parliament Hill for the Ottawa Citizen, the National Post and the Globe and Mail. More

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