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A prime suspect in the unsolved murder of a Winnipeg doughnut shop waitress has been found dead in Victoria.

The body of Terry Arnold, 42, was discovered Saturday in an apartment, police say.

Thomas Sophonow was convicted and later cleared of Barbara Stoppel's 1981 murder. Police then considered Arnold to be a suspect, although there was only circumstantial evidence linking him to the crime.

"Our members went inside the apartment and found who they believe to be Terry Arnold, deceased," Victoria Police Sergeant Michael Brown said on Monday. "At this point there are no signs of foul play; it does appear to be a suicide."

Mr. Arnold was identified in court documents filed by Winnipeg police at an inquiry into Mr. Sophonow's wrongful conviction.

Mr. Arnold served eight years for raping several Newfoundland children. He was also investigated in the unsolved 1987 slaying of Denise Lapierre, 17, of Calgary.

After confessing in 1997 to raping and murdering Christine Browne, 16, of Keremeos, B.C., Mr. Arnold was convicted of first-degree murder.

He served five years of a life sentence before winning a new trial on appeal after he argued that some documents available to the Crown had not been made available to him.

The B.C. Crown Attorney's office decided to stay the charge against him in 2002, and he was immediately released from jail.

Mr. Sophonow, who protested his innocence for 20 years, was tried three times and spent four years in jail for Ms. Stoppel's murder before he was finally exonerated and awarded $2.6-million in compensation.

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