Karmein Chan: Child murderer and abductor `Mr Cruel` still on the loose

Date: //
Location: Australia


**The 1991 abduction and murder of 13-year old Karmein Chan (pictured) remains unsolved and the so called ‘Mr Cruel’ remains one of the most wanted persons in Australia. He was the subject of Victoria’s biggest manhunt.**

As time passes and with leads drying up the prospect of police bringing Mr Cruel to justice is diminishing. Despite a $300,000 reward and the setting up of the 40-strong Operation Spectrum taskforce the case remains unsolved with no prime suspect, although a list of people have not been eliminated by police.

Karmein Chan was abducted from her Templestow home on April 13,1991 while she was baby sitting her two younger sisters, who were locked in a cupboard before Mr Cruel kidnapped Karmein at knife point.

Karmein’s body was found a year later. This is believed to be Mr Cruel’s last known abduction.

Police believe Mr Cruel was responsible for as many as 12 attacks on children over at least a 10-year period. His first known victim was an 11-year-old girl, who was raped in her home after her parents and brother were tied up. He was armed with a knife and a handgun.

He is also suspected of being responsible for a string of earlier sex attacks in the Hampton area, including the abduction and rape of a 14-year-old girl. She was later dumped in suburban Moorabbin.

**Police are certain however that it was Mr Cruel that abducted and assaulted 10-year-old Sharon Wills and 13-year-old Nicola Lynas.**

Sharon Wills was abducted from her Ringwood North home in December 1988 before being dumped 18 hours later. She was wearing a man’s shirt and wrapped in plastic rubbish bags.

In July 1990 Nicola Lynas was abducted from her home in Canterbury after her sister was tied up. She was taken to a house and held hostage for two days before being dropped off near her home.

Some detectives on the taskforce believe Karmein`s murder is not linked to Mr Cruel, arguing that killing his victim was out of character, as all his previous known victims had been released.

However Det-Supt Steve Fontana, who headed Operation Spectrum, firmly believes the same person was responsible for the previous abductions and the murder of Karmein. It had been suggested Karmein was killed after she was able to remove her blindfold and get a look at her abductor, leaving him little option but to kill her to avoid capture.

Mr Cruel demonstrated an intimate knowledge of forensic science by methodically destroying any physical evidence that might later identify him.

He carefully washed himself and his victims and even got them to brush their teeth and scape under their fingernails.

** “ His crimes were very much pre-meditated,” Det-Supt Fontana said. “ He wore a balaclava, always wore gloves, he always made sure the girls were blindfolded the whole time.”**

Det-Supt Fontana has a few ideas on what might have happened to the man he hunted for so long.

“ He may be in custody for other matters, he may have gone interstate or overseas. Or he may have stopped because of that last offence and the gravity of what he has done,” he said.

Det-Supt Fontana believes Mr Cruel will appear anything but cruel to family and friends.

“He’s very intelligent and probably comes across as being a reasonable sort of person. He is very talented and will be very meticulous in the way he goes about things.”

An FBI compiled profile suggests Mr Cruel is employed in a field that allows him freedom of movement.He has an obsessive, compulsive character – the type who would immediately wipe his hands if soiled.

He is someone who gets satisfaction from the way things look rather than for their use, he is intelligent and well organised. He will seem genuinely interested in and dedicated to children.

He has expressed sexual fantasies or showed sexually dysfunctional behaviour.

Reward information

**There is a $300,000 reward for information leading to a conviction**