Letter to the Editor: Defending the deceased

I am writing this letter in response to an article posted on June 9 on e-know, an online news source.

Dear Editor:

I am writing this letter in response to an article posted on June 9 on e-know, an online news source. I compare the article to one the National Enquirer would publish.

The article deals with the reopening of an RCMP cold case file on the disappearance of Brenda Byman. My brother was Elwood Godlien, who is now deceased, and I take exception to the sensationalism of the journalism and the innuendo by RCMP Cpl. Brent Ayers in the article.

Over the 51 years since the disappearance of Brenda Byman, my brother and family have been the subject of a lot of ridicule and innuendo. However, for the most part, the people involved were either misinformed or half wits, but to have an RCMP officer state some of the things Cpl. Ayers stated in this article I feel is classless and ridiculous for a person of his position in society.

For years, my brother was wrongly accused by people for being involved in the disappearance of Brenda. Yes, he was there that day but that does not mean he was involved in her disappearance. People must take into account that things were much different in 1961. Children’s rights were not as sacred as they are today. Elwood — just 13 years of age — was interrogated by the RCMP investigators, by Game Wardens and daily by adults while he was involved with the search parties, all without representation by an adult for his well being.

He was at times denied water and food during long exhaustive searches and he was threatened physically over and over again with what would happen to him if he did not tell where they hid Brenda’s body.

It just blows me away they never elicited a false confession and by all accounts he was treated the best of all the three boys.

About 20 years ago, I cannot remember the exact dates, a cold case investigator from the RCMP contacted Elwood and asked if he would be interviewed about the case again and take a polygraph test.

He was assured at that time that if the polygraph test found him to be truthful, he would be left alone by the RCMP.

The last he ever heard from that investigator was: “You passed the test and case closed” — for Elwood Godlien and the disappearance of Brenda Byman.

Cpl. Ayers states that “all three men were polygraphed 30 years ago and they did pass it, but after 30 years, it is hard to say how accurate it is. I mean, that is 30 years of preparation for such a thing.”

What innuendo for an investigator to state.

I have since learned that Vivian Barrett also agreed to a polygraph test and passed. So I can see maybe one person prepping himself and beating a polygraph  and, for the sake of argument, I will say two people could do it, but four people all on the same subject? Come on Ayers, let’s use some deductive reasoning.

Also, so many things in the initial investigation that exonerated the kids were not mentioned like how a tracking canine lost Brenda’s trail where the boys stated she left their sight and they heard a car door and engine noise.

Unfortunately, letters to the editor do not allow a person to write a novel, because there are so many innuendos in the e-know article that should be corrected, and I would love to relate to people the stories Elwood told me of how he was interrogated at the age of 13 and how it felt to be wrongly accused of murder. More than once, young people have been wrongfully convicted in this country because of poor investigators and a lynch mob mentality.

Russell  Godlien

Invermere

 

 

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