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Police probe new information in unsolved case of slain Ontario woman

Sonia Varaschin is shown in this OPP released photo. Police investigating Varaschin 's murder are broadening the search for her killer by collecting voluntary DNA samples from men who knew her.


An underwater police search team combed a swamp on Wednesday near the rural Ontario area where slain nurse Sonia Varaschin's body was found almost two years ago.

Police said they were searching the area in Caledon again based on new information during their probe into the unsolved murder, which OPP Sergeant Peter Leon described as an "active case." The search was finished by 1:30 p.m. – less than three hours after it began – and police would not say whether they found what they were looking for.

"At this time we're not disclosing whether or not some evidence was located at the scene," said Constable Brenda Evans.

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The investigation began two years ago on Thursday after Ms. Varaschin, 42, didn't show up for work at a Mississauga pharmaceutical company. Foul play was suspected early on when her home and abandoned car were found spattered with blood. Several days later, Ms. Varaschin's remains were discovered by a woman walking her dog near Beech Grove Sideroad, a dirt road about 13 kilometres east of town.

It was unspecified new information that led police back to the scene Wednesday, to search a body of water and ground in the "vicinity" of where Ms. Varaschin's remains were found.

"We're hopeful that if they locate something there, maybe it could be a piece of the puzzle that turns the corner on this investigation," said Sgt. Leon, a spokesman for the OPP's central region.

He said he couldn't specify what the OPP's five-member Underwater Search and Recovery Unit, detectives and other officers would be looking for. "It could be anything," he said. "There could be something that's been left there or somebody got rid of. It could be some form of evidence."

The killing of Ms. Varaschin, who lived alone in Orangeville, shook the town of 27,000. No suspect has been identified, and the cause of death has not been released to the public, but some details have emerged in the past two years.

Days after her body was found, police said the killer left footprints from a pair of size 10 or 11 Dakota or Wind River work boots, sold only at Mark's Work Wearhouse.

Detectives also said they believed the killer was familiar with Orangeville, where the victim lived and possibly knew Ms. Varaschin.

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Hundreds of voluntary DNA samples have been taken and police say they're continuing the tests.

"This is still very much an active case," Sgt. Leon said. "We've always said, right from the very outset, that no matter how small the information is, the police will certainly follow up and act on it and that's what we're doing today."

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