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MacLean murder linked to deceased serial killer

                                                                                   Barbara Jean MacLean

May 22, 2024

-by Rankin MacDonald
Seems like a dream now,
It was so long ago.
    When the terrible news arrived in Inverness on that cold, February night, it crushed the spirit of the whole community.
    One of the community’s brightest lights had been murdered in Calgary and 47 years later the police have discovered who took the young woman’s life.

    Barbara Jean MacLean was only 19 years old, a daughter of, you could easily say, the most prominent family in Inverness.
    Her father was chief of staff at the Inverness hospital, Dr. Jim MacLean, a former member of the Nova Scotia Legislative Assembly (’63-’74, ’84-’88), a surgeon and a well-respected doctor in all of Eastern North America.
    Her mother, Toby, was a gracious lady beloved by all who knew her and they raised four children in their adopted home, Anne, Jim, Bobby, and Barbie.
    Her uncle, Dr. Bernie and his wife, Jean, were part of the MacLean family practice and her other uncle, Billy Joe MacLean, was an MLA and mayor of Port Hawkesbury.
    On the night of February 25th, 1977, Barbie who had gone to Calgary to find work in October of 1976, was out with friends at a popular Cape Breton expats bar called the Highlander on 16th Avenue.
    Apparently, she and her boyfriend got into an argument and she decided to hitchhike to their apartment or a party.
    She was last seen hiking on 16th Avenue.
    Her body was found the next morning in a ditch by the road near the airport. She was fully clothed and died of strangulation.
    All those in her circle of friends were cleared.
    She was waked in the family home on Maple Street with thousands coming out to pay their respects to the MacLean family.
    Her father, Dr. Jim, told a newspaper at the time that her killer would be found one day. Dr. Jim died in 2000 and Toby is also deceased; so, they never got to learn who killed their youngest child.
    On Friday, in Calgary, the RCMP reported that they had discovered who killed Barbie along with three other women in Calgary in and around 1977.
    His name was Gary Allen Srery, a violent drifter and sex offender who lived in Alberta and BC from the mid-1970s until 2003 when he was deported.
    He died in an Idaho prison in 2011.
Srery was identified as the killer through DNA evidence.
    He hunted his victims from behind the wheel of his car.
    “The pain of losing Barbara so tragically has been a constant presence in our lives, but recent developments have finally brought us answers to questions that we’ve had to live with all these years,” said the MacLean family statement.
    Barbie was intelligent, full of fun, and added a spark to any room.
    The Oran was in its first year and she used to come to the paper in the old post office to help any way she could.
    She didn’t want to go to university right away, but wanted to go somewhere where she could experience life on her own terms.
    She asked us what it was like to live in Calgary because she was planning to join her brothers there in the fall.
    In those days we would work to the wee hours of the morning putting the paper to bed and on the last late night she joined us but left early. She returned with a very large pizza she had made for us to get us through the night.
    She was a bright light!
    Barbie was to come home for a visit in the spring. She was homesick. It never happened.
    Today, both brothers are in Fort Mac and Anne is home for now.
    In talking to them, you can feel the sadness. It has been there for 47 years and will be forever.
    A whole generation has grown in a reborn Inverness who will never know the pain the community felt that February.
    The MacLean family said:
    Our family would like to express their endless gratitude and appreciation to the people of Inverness for the compassion and understanding that has been extended to us over these many years. We cannot begin to put into words the value of your support and many kindnesses always, always so freely given to us.
    We are aware the loss of Barbara greatly impacted not only her family but so many others of her community. We are grateful, as we are sure many of you are, to have answers after all this time. There is never closure but this is a certain sense of relief. We are sad Toby and Jim did not live to see this day.
    Barbie always knew Inverness is the best place ever. We miss her.
    The four Calgary victims were Eva Dvorak and Patricia McQueen, both 14, Mellissa Rehorek, 20, and Barbie, 19.
    The MacLean family added, “This breakthrough reaffirms our belief in the power of perseverance and the importance of embracing scientific advancements in law enforcement.”
    It is likely that Srery killed more women that the police are aware of but for over 40 years they never gave up the search for those killed in Calgary that year.
    Barbie had fought for her life with the police retaining foreign hairs on her body and blood on her hands.
    This helped in identifying Srery as the man who killed these innocent young women.
    He died in prison while serving a life sentence for sexual assault.
    The hearts of all those who knew Barbie and the MacLean family go out to them this week as we share their pain once again.

















































































































































































































Oran Dan - The Inverness Oran -

The Inverness Oran
15767 Central Avenue. P.O. Box 100
Inverness, Nova Scotia. B0E 1N0
Tel.: 1 (902) 258-2253. Fax: 1 (902) 258-2632
Email: [email protected]