What happened that day?
Thursday, 12 December 1996, was a cold and rainy day in Moffat, a little hamlet outside Guelph, Ontario, Canada. 21-year-old Justin Greavette was on his way to fill up his truck when he checked the family’s letterbox. There were some mails, and a package addressed to his dad, Wayne Greavette. Justin gave the package to Wayne when he returned home.
Wayne unwrapped the package. Inside were some newspaper flyers used as packing material, a letter, and a flashlight. Justin attempted to turn on the flashlight as Wayne read the letter, but nothing happened. Justin then gave the flashlight to Wayne, who attempted to turn it on while sitting on the sofa. This time, something did happen.
When Wayne pressed the button, the flashlight exploded in his hands. Justin, who was sitting next to him, alongside Wayne’s wife Diane, who was in the same room when the explosion happened, was showered by shrapnels, but fortunately, both just suffered minor injuries. Justin instantly called 911, frantically telling the operator, “There’s a bomb, and my father just blew up!” By the time emergency services reached the Greavettes residence, there was little they could do to save Wayne’s life. He had perished almost immediately.
Who was Wayne Greavette?
42-year-old Wayne Greavette had worked in the beverage packing industry for most of his life. He met his future wife, Diane, when they were 15. They got married when Diane was 17 and had two kids, Danielle and Justin Greavette.
At the time of his demise, he and Diane were preparing to organize a spring water bottling facility in their sprawling Moffat farm. Wayne was mechanically gifted, and he took care of the facility’s machinery while Diane worked on the logistics.
This section will be halved into three parts, each talking about related evidence, in this case, namely the package box, the flashlight bomb, and the letter.
The package was covered in wrapping paper, white on the outside and hunter green on the inside. Inside was a box labeled Domaine D’or Cabarnet, which used to hold a bottle of red wine. At the top of the box, a rectangular hole had been neatly cut off. Detectives suspected that this was to discard the barcode and UPC which could be used to trace the wine to where it was bought.
Apart from the flashlight and the letter (which we’ll get into in a moment), many flyers were used to pack the wine box. Most of these flyers were widely circulated in Southern Ontario. Nonetheless, one stood out: a flyer advertising Copeland Lumber, a building centrally located at 700 Main Street East, Milton, around 20 km from Moffat (that address is now a Habitat for Humanity ReStore location) and was just distributed around the Milton area, which would imply that the mailer might be local to the area.
Two lines of hairs were recovered from the debris. They did not have their roots attached, and as an outcome, no nuclear DNA profile could be produced. The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) enlisted the assistance of the FBI to develop a mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) profile, but this has not resulted in any improvement.
In the CBC podcast Someone Knows Something, the postwoman’s mum (who, alongside her grandson, were riding along as the postwoman did her rounds) told that the package sent to the Greavette mailbox that day had a very nice ribbon on it and that it was not at all heavy, as her grandson was able to lift it.
The flashlight used to house the bomb was a Duracell-brand Floating Lantern around 23 cm long and 15 cm tall, related to this. According to Justin, the flashlight might have been glued shut, as he was incapable to open the flashlight when attempting to get it to work. A type of mining explosive emulsion called Superfrac was used in the bomb. According to detective Paul Johnson, around 1-1.5 pounds (0,5-0,7 kg) of Superfrac was possibly used.
He also told that Superfrac could be handily purchased from the manufacturer without a license, but it was also likely obtained through theft. The bomb was also packed with roofing nails to maximize its disastrous effect and was powered by a single-cell AA battery.
The Letter and Typewriter
The letter included in the package was a business invitation and was written by one “William J. French”. In the letter, the writer mentioned that he and his partner were scheming to begin a new business called “Acton Home Products” in the new year (1997) and that he would like a quote from Greavette on repairing some equipment. The writer also said that he had met and worked with Greavette in the past.
The writer closed the letter by explaining that he was looking forward to hearing back from Greavette. You can discover the entire letter here. The two names mentioned in the letter – “Lisa” and “Joe” – were real people Wayne knew. “Lisa” was Leesa Ervin, while “Joe” was Giuseppe “Joe” Zottich. Both had worked with Wayne at SERGE Beverage Equipment.
Leesa worked as a secretary, while Joe did delivery jobs. Their names had been redacted when the letter was first disclosed to the public. Founded on their analysis, investigators inferred that the letter had been typed on a Smith-Corona electric typewriter related to this. The letter was typed in all caps, the font used in the letter was Script 10/12, while the daisy wheel used had the number 59543.
There was an intriguing anomaly in the letter that was observed by investigators. Possibly due to a bent arm in the daisy wheel, there was always a vertical slash after every period in the letter. Further examination of the letter revealed that some information had been faked. The letter had been written in a relaxed and friendly tone as if the writer knew Wayne personally. Nonetheless, no one in the Greavette family knew who “William J. French” was.
Also, no business under the name “Acton Home Product” was ever established, and the supposed business address (RR #1 Unit #6, Acton, Ontario) did not exist. The postal code (L7G 2N1) was from the Marywood Meadows neighborhood in Georgetown, around 10 km from Acton.
Nonetheless, one thing was chillingly clear: the postscript of the letter implied that the writer knew precisely what was going to occur when Wayne switched on the flashlight. Didn’t understand you had moved. Had some trouble finding you. Have a very merry Christmas and may you never have to buy another flashlight.”
Around November 1996, two men had come to the Acton Post Office. And inquired two different people about the Greavettes’ new address (the Greavettes had shifted from Acton to Moffat in June). The OPP generated a sketch of the two men and released it to the public. But neither one of the men was recognized. Another person of attention in the investigation was Ed Galick. Ed was the owner of SERGE Beverage Equipments, where Wayne used to work. And would leave Wayne to look after SERGE whenever he went on holiday.
Ed was also very near with the Greavette family, so much so that the Greavette kids called him “Uncle Ed”. Nonetheless, according to Ed himself in Someone Knows Something, Wayne would treat the workers at SERGE “like dirt”, leading to some of the workers quitting. Also, at one point, Diane was working at SERGE, but Ed thought she was not good enough for the business, and he had asked Wayne to fire Diane from SERGE. Ed also claimed that Wayne began stealing cash from him (something that Wayne denied) and that he behaved weirdly around him, which he guessed resulted from Wayne using hard drugs.
This, alongside other things, led to Ed and Wayne falling out around three years before the killing. Ed also said that Wayne’s presumed stealing habit proceeded after he was fired from SERGE, which might be the motive why he was targeted, and also that his son, Ed Jr., with whom he is estranged, might be behind Wayne’s demise.
Conclusion and personal thoughts
Today (Sunday, 12 December 2021), is precisely 25 years since Wayne Greavette was brutally killed in his own house. There are several unanswered issues around this case. Who wanted Wayne dead so badly that they would establish a bomb to murder him? What did Wayne do to wrong this person that they want to rid the world of him? Why send the letter through the mail? Why not just drop it off at his house? I sincerely hope Diane, Justin, and Danielle can find some peace. And that one day, something will be indicated that will once and for all answer the question, “Who murdered Wayne Greavette?