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Former Montrealer John Allore remembered as tireless, generous advocate for crime victims

Former Montrealer and longtime advocate for victims of violent crime, John Allore, was killed in a biking accident Thursday morning.

Allore was well known for his unrelenting pursuit of justice for his sister Theresa, who was killed in the Eastern Townships in 1978. The crime was never solved.

As he advocated for her, Allore became a voice for dozens of other families along the way, profiling dozens of cases on his website and podcast.

At the start of every episode Allore would say the tagline: “Life isn’t fair, justice is blind and dysfunctional, and some cops aren’t smart and dedicated like on television.”

It rang true in relation to the unsolved cases of dozens of women whose violent deaths he investigated.

On Thursday, life wasn’t fair to him.

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According to North Caroline State Highway Patrol, the 59-year-old Allore was cycling on a country road near his home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina when he was struck from behind by a speeding vehicle.

He died on the scene. Allore was an avid cyclist who often shared about his long rides on Facebook. He was the budget director for the city of Durham, North Carolina.

Twenty-six-year-old Karen Denisse Maldonado arrested and charged with failure to reduce speed, to include misdemeanour death by motor vehicle.

The news spread quickly across his vast network of friends and family in both North Carolina and Canada, bringing shock and sadness.

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“He was a special guy. He was a very special guy,” said Sen. Pierre Hugues Boisvenu. Boisvenu counted Allore as one of his best friends. The senator’s own advocacy following the death of his daughter Julie in 2002 was a key inspiration for John.

“For many families, John was the light at the end of the tunnel,” Boisvenu told Global News, as he extended his sympathies to Allore’s family.

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The youngest of three siblings, Allore grew up in the West Island.

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On Nov. 3, 1978, when John was in his early teens, his sister Theresa went missing while studying at Champlain College in Lennoxville. She was 19.

Her body was found five months later, face down in a creek in her underwear.

The family was never satisfied with the police investigation, saying authorities treated her case as a runaway or a drug overdose.

As an adult, John launched his own investigation.

Global News just completed an episode of Crime Beat about his decades-long pursuit of justice for Theresa.

“They’re incompetent. They don’t know how to do a criminal investigation,” he said in the episode.

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Along with journalist Patricia Pearson, he wrote a book about his extensive investigative work called Wish You Were Here: A Murdered Girl, a Brother’s Quest and the Hunt for a Canadian Serial Killer.

He put relentless pressure on the Suréte du Quebec to reopen the case, and they did in the early 2000s.

“It didn’t just happen to Theresa. There’s all these other, unresolved families,” he told Global last year.

As he tried to figure out who killed Theresa, John started looking into other similar cases and cataloguing them on his website, and later his podcast. He listened attentively to families of murdered women, combing through newspaper archives and teaching them how to obtain documents related to their cases.

“John was the one who was a guide for them because John never quit,” said Boisvenu. “He asked families, don’t quit.” 

The unsolved 1977 murder of  18-year-old Helene Monast in Chambly was just one of dozens he analyzed.

“He was a man with a big heart,” Helene’s sister Nicole told Global News.

She said she was reeling from the news, and that Allore was like a brother to her.

“We never heard news from the police. It was like Helene had been forgotten. Knowing that John came to Montreal to do research at the National Archives, meet with journalists, police officers, he did colossal work,” said Monast. “It made me feel like Helene was not forgotten.”

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Stephane Luce, the president of  Meurtres et Disparitions Irrésolus du Québec, says Allore was set to travel to Montreal this weekend to work on a project with him.

“That man had so many things going on, and positive things going on and great things going on, and all of a sudden that’s it. That’s the end. What a shame,” he said in an interview.

Luce, a fellow victims rights advocate, has long struggled with the unsolved murder of his mother Roxane in 1981.

“My mother, when she was murdered, there were pictures of the crime scene and he gave them to me. Not the police, not the newspapers, John Allore,” Luce said, recounting visiting Allore in North Carolina.

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He said he was going to partake in a California-based production on citizen detectives with Allore.

“He was very serious about his work. He was very generous,” said Luce. “He was a great thinker, a great analyzer. He was very open-minded, he wasn’t narrow-minded about a case.”

One of John’s three daughters, Theresa Grace, expressed the family’s devastation on his Facebook page.

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“I want to say more about how great he was, and how funny, and how much my sisters and I loved him, but I don’t have the words right now,” she wrote.

The Search for Theresa Allore’s Killer airs tonight at 10 p.m. on Global.

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