12/02/2014 04:08 EST | Updated 02/01/2015 05:59 EST

Garry Taylor Handlen, accused child killer, evaded charges for 39 years

Garry Taylor Handlen, the man charged on Monday with first-degree murder in the deaths of two B.C. girls in the 1970s, had a long and violent criminal history dating back to 1969, court records reveal.

Handlen is accused of killing Kathryn-Mary Herbert, 11, and Monica Jack, 12. He has multiple convictions as a violent sexual predator dating back to 1969.

The accused has kept a low profile in recent years, but starting in 1969, he was convicted of a series of sexual offences.

Over the years, some investigators and victims' family members believed Handlen was responsible for killing the two girls, but there had not been enough evidence to lay charges.

Police aren't saying exactly what new facts have come to light, but now believe he is the killer of Herbert and Jack.


- 1969: Garry Taylor Handlen is convicted of indecent assault. Then 22 years old, he is sentenced to six months.

- 1971: Handlen is convicted of rape and sentenced to five years and six months in prison.

- 1975: On Sept. 24, Kathryn-Mary Herbert, 11, was on her way home when she was abducted in Abbotsford, B.C.. Her body was found in November under some rotting boards on the Matsqui Indian Reserve, north of Abbotsford. Handlen knew Herbert's family through a teenage girl he was dating who was living with the Herbert family.

- 1978: On May 6, Monica Jack, 12, was riding her bike north on Highway 5A near the Nicola Ranch in Merritt, B.C. Her bike was discovered the next day, but her remains weren't found until 1995, in a rural area north of Merritt.

- 1978: Handlen is sentenced for assault with intent to rape in New Westminster and is jailed for six months.

- 1978: In September Handlen picked up a hitchhiker near Hope, B.C. He later stopped the car and repeatedly sexually assaulted her. He dragged her by the neck and also placed his thumbs on her throat, choking her. She managed to escape, half naked, and was picked up by a passing motorist. Handlen was sentenced to 18 years, but on appeal that sentence was later reduced to 12 years.

- Since his release from prison Handlen has spent time in Edmonton, and more recently, in Minden, Ont.

- 2014: On Dec. 1, RCMP announce Handlen has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of the two girls. RCMP Supt. Ward Lymburner said, "The road to today’s announcement has been long." He added, "Police reviewed over 500 investigative tasks and then initiated another 241 tasks including re-interviewing individuals and exploring new forensic analysis."