Man accused in 1994 stabbing death of Barrie, Ont.'s Katherine Janeiro makes court appearance

A preliminary hearing for a cold case homicide that struck a chord with Barrie, Ont. residents roughly 28 years ago got underway on Monday with the man accused appearing in court.

On Jan. 13, 2021, Barrie police charged Barrie man Robert Bruce MacQueen, who goes by the name Bruce Ellis, with the stabbing death of Katherine Janeiro.

The 20-year-old woman was found dead with multiple stab wounds on Oct. 10, 1994, in her apartment on Dunlop Street West.

"In any investigation, it is important that every piece of information received is always closely examined. You just never know which one holds the key detail you are searching for and will lead your team ultimately to arrest the person responsible," said Det. Kevin Scales, a case manager for the investigation.

The now 59-year-old Ellis was arrested in Barrie after police said new information had come to light, but investigators have yet to provide what led them to the accused.

At the time, Barrie Police Services spokesperson Peter Leon said he believed Ellis was "surprised" to be arrested nearly three decades after Janeiro's death.

"That's a lot of looking over your shoulder, wondering if today is the day," Leon said of the arrest.

The accused has been in custody since his arrest 18 months ago.

In the Barrie courthouse on Monday, a grey-haired Ellis looked heavier than in past photos as he stood in the prisoner's box.

Barrie, Ont., police make arrest in 1994 homicide of Katherine Janeiro
Bruce MacQueen, aka Bruce Ellis, identified as man charged in 1994 Barrie homicide

Janeiro's daughter Dawn, who was two years old at the time of her mother's death, hopes for closure.

"I want to thank those who never gave up hope in looking for my mother's murderer. I wish my grandparents, Dinora and Fernando Janeiro, were alive to see this day. Grief is the most familiar feeling to me. Closure on my mother's case will help to finally bring me some peace," she said.

Janeiro's parents waited years for her killer to be found but passed away roughly a decade ago.

Barrie Chief of Police Kimberely Greenwood said she understands how the announcement of an arrest in a historical investigation can stir up mixed emotions for the family.

"The fact that today we can hold someone accountable for the violent death of Katherine Janeiro should serve as proof that no homicide case is ever closed until an arrest is made," Greenwood said.

Anyone with information regarding this investigation is encouraged to contact the Barrie Police Services at 705-725-7025, extension 2160.

The preliminary hearing is scheduled to take several weeks to determine whether Ellis will stand trial for Janeiro's death.

A publication ban prevents CTV News from reporting on any evidence heard during the hearing.

The allegations against the accused have not been proven in court.