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Three Years Later, Skinner Murder Still Unsolved

Family launches social media campaign on anniversary of killing to draw further attention to case.

The surveillance video from the early hours of October 18, 2009, collected from various sources, is as frustrating and disturbing for what it doesn’t show as for what it does: a young man walking, stopping, trying to hail a cab; vehicles passing, including a black SUV; the young man walking offscreen where, we now know, he was killed.

Three years after Christopher Skinner was beaten, kicked, and run down by a car on Adelaide Street East near Victoria Street, on his way home from celebrating his sister’s birthday in the entertainment district, his murder remains unsolved, and police and his family continue to search for answers.

On the anniversary of his death this week, Christopher’s sister Taryn Skinner joined Detective Sergeant Stacy Gallant at the Toronto Police Services media gallery to speak about her brother, and to launch a social media campaign on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. Police and family hope to use those tools to reach a broader audience, and to provide new ways to share information that could lead to arrests in the case. “It’s 2012, and people stare at their screens and use their phones all day long,” said Taryn Skinner at the media gallery event. “So, if we can hit them and reach them, then I think that hopefully that’s going to do the trick.”

When the news of Chris Skinner’s murder first broke, much attention was paid to his sexual orientation as a possible motive in the attack. Now, it is just one of a number of possible factors in a case that defies rational understanding. “There’s tonnes of speculation,” Skinner continued. “Whether these guys were at the bar with us—it was all my girlfriends there, Christopher was hanging out with all these 23-year-old girls—whether they were jealous of that, or if he had hit their car, or if he was gay, there’s a tonne of speculations and again, doesn’t matter. Speculate or not, it’s the same. Same story.”

Gallant made a point at the event of encouraging those who were in the SUV to break their silence, noting that Chris Skinner’s clothing is being carefully examined for DNA evidence (a longer and more arduous process than TV crime shows would have us believe). “It’s been three years since Chris died,” said Gallant. “If it takes three more years, six more years, nine more years, eventually those responsible will be accounting for their actions.”

Anyone with information is asked to call the homicide squad at 416-898-7410, or Crime Stoppers, anonymously, at 416-222-TIPS (8477).

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