On Sept. 19, 1997: David John Gorton believing that his fiance Heidi Challand (28) was cheating on him “snapped”. Heidi and her four young children (Robert, 12, David, 9, Calvin, 6 and Jewel, 2) were bludgeoned to death with an axe in their Black Creek home on Vancouver Island. The murdered children were not Gorton’s, but he did have two young children living in Victoria. The bodies were also discovered by Gorton’s parents who were in from Nanaimo to visit.
This was not Gorton’s first violent outburst either. In 1977 he lured his 16 year old girlfriend to a out of the way spot and stabbed her 19 times. She was in the hospital for a month. Then in 1983 he attacked his then wife with a knife and served 2 years in prison for aggravated assault.
Gorton was on the run for a few days until the police found him very close to home in a motel room in Courtenay, BC.
He was later convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison with no parole for at least 25 years.
Thomas Gordon Kosberg was born October 2nd, 1948 in Vancouver, British Columbia. Tom as he went by, had a history of mental illness, but no one could imagine him plotting a murder, let along killing his own family.Thomas Kosberg, who, by most accounts, seemed like a normal teenager in a large family. A neighbour even remarked that the family “had the nicest, most beautiful children.”
On December 9, 1965, 17-year-old Kosberg made chocolate milkshakes for his mother, father, and four younger brothers and sisters, added some sleeping pills, waited for them to go to bed, and then hacked them to death with an axe. Only a baby survived. But there was some obvious planning put into the murders. Tom’s mother had been entertaining her best friend Florence the night before the murder. Sometime around 11pm, Florence left to go home. Thomas waited for Florence to leave and for his father to return home from his late shift at the Allied Heat and Fuel Co. (roughly 1am) before committing the murders.There was also a large span of time between the murders and when they were reported (from 1am-7:45am).
After the murders Kosberg changed his clothes, took his father’s car, and ran it into a power pole, whereupon he stole another car, and finally telephoned Robert Estergaard, who took him to Dr. Wong. According to Estergaard, Kosberg was trembling, having cramps, and kept holding his stomach, but at times would also drift off to sleep. They arrived at Dr. Wong’s at 7 a.m., where Kosberg confessed to the crime, stating that he had “done someting awful.” Wong called the police at 7:45 a.m. and Kosberg was arrested shortly afterwards
When officers arrived at the crime scene they found Mr. and Mrs. Kosberg dead in their beds, while their son Vincent lay dead on the floor, and Osborne jr. was in his crib, apparently unharmed. In the rear bedroom they discovered the body of Barry, and in the front bedroom that of Gayle Kosberg. Marianne, who was in the same room as Gayle, was still alive in her bed, but with serious head injuries. She was taken to hospital in critical condition, where she underwent emergency surgery, and eventually died on December 19, without regaining consciousness.
The court ruled that he was not guilty by reason of insanity in 1967, and Tom was shipped off to Riverview. He was released 12 years later, married and worked at Vancouver Children’s Hospital for the next 30 years. He died in 2016.