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The Globe and Mail

Dozens forced from their Barrie, Ont. homes as police solve 1978 murder case

Barrie Police have evacuated approximately 25 homes as a precaution after explosives were found at a residence on Virgilwood Crescent in Barrie, Ont., Thursday, July 12, 2012.


Dozens of residents in this central Ontario city remain barred from their homes as local and provincial police continue their investigation into a three-decade-old murder case.

Police were forced to issue an evacuation order for 22 homes after the probe into the unsolved slaying of Michael Traynor led to the discovery of a cache of explosive devices and unidentified chemicals.

The evacuation order went into effect on Thursday night, hours after a local father and son were arrested for the historic crime.

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Donald Feldhoff, 54, has been charged with first-degree murder in Mr. Traynor's death, while his 75-year-old father William has been charged as an accessory after the fact.

The pair were arrested at a local home found to contain at least six homemade explosive devices, said Barrie police Const. Angela Butler.

Police have enlisted the help of investigators from Toronto to identify the chemicals found in the home, she added.

"It's a very slow process for safety concerns for the officers inside," Const. Butler said in a telephone interview. "They need to do their jobs slowly and safely and use the skills that they have available to them."

Const. Butler said residents would not be allowed to return to their homes until the area has been cleared, declining to speculate on when that would take place. Police will begin detonating the explosives on Friday, she said.

The arrests mark the culmination of an investigation that began when a 26-year-old plumber's apprentice went missing in the fall of 1978.

Mr. Traynor's family reported the 26-year-old missing on Sept. 18, six days after he was seen having a night out with friends.

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His body was found with obvious signs of trauma in a bush area in Springwater Township, north of Barrie, a few weeks later. Local media reports from that year said he was found with his hands tied behind his back and gunshot wounds to his chest.

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