Murder of Undercover Cop in Oakville Remains Unsolved
by Stephen Metelsky
April 11, 2020
This Easter weekend marks the 36th anniversary since William McIntyre was shot to death in his Oakville, Ontario apartment.
The murder occurred on Saturday April 21 in 1984. It was on the front page of the newspapers, recalled Cal Millar, a staff writer at the time with the Toronto Star.
The initial story referenced there had been a homicide in the town of Oakville. Additional information came out days later about the victim, McIntyre – details that he was an undercover cop working for the Ontario Provincial Police at the time of his murder. This is when Millar picked up the story, a cold case that remains open to this day.
“This one should have been solved,” said Millar, who specialized in covering police stories. It is a puzzling case with its share of twists and turns, that intrigues and fascinates the author to this day – a mutual feeling shared by investigators working the 36-year old cold case.
William McIntyre was born and bred in Oakville. He was born in 1951. Policing wasn’t his first foray into the work world. He spent a few years working as an apprentice mechanic before he decided to join the O.P.P. in 1972. He was 21 years old when he became a police officer with the provincial force.
He quickly gravitated to undercover work. He had the knack for it – and the look. With his long hair and scruffy beard, McIntyre became proficient working various undercover operations – specializing in narcotics and undercover incarcerations, or “cell shots” – police slang for undercover operations involving police officers posing as inmates to solicit confessions from convicts, while being mindful of entrapment and inducement issues.
McIntyre was a skilled undercover cop. In one jailhouse case, McIntyre, while posing as a thief, successfully obtained a confession from Rex Yates, a locksmith with a penchant for breaking into bank vaults. Yates had later learned about McIntyre and allegedly sought revenge against the O.P.P undercover operator.
McIntyre lived in a second-floor apartment. He was last seen alive earlier that day in 1984 when he was seen leaning over his balcony railing speaking with a male in the parking lot of his building. The unknown male, who was holding a motorcycle helmet at the time, was never identified by investigators.
McIntyre was gearing up for another undercover operation the following day in Kingston, Ontario. The last known contact McIntyre had was with his police handler. All undercover operators work under the direction and mentorship of a handler – another police officer tasked with looking out for the UC’s safety and well-being during a covert operation. McIntyre had informed his handler about a meeting the following day. McIntyre never made it to Kingston.
McIntyre was murdered sometime on Saturday April 21 inside his apartment at 1300 Marlborough Court, mere steps, 550 metres to be exact, from the old Halton Regional Police headquarters at 1229 White Oaks Boulevard.
McIntyre had been shot once in the back of the head with a .22 calibre handgun. The door to his apartment was locked when police first arrived at the building. McIntyre’s undercover and personal vehicle were both located in the parking lot of his building. It is not known if this apartment was McIntyre’s “safe house” – a term used for where an undercover operator resides during a covert operation.
“At first, they [police] didn’t think it was a homicide. They thought he had fallen and hit his head, particularly with the apartment door being locked,” said Millar. “It was the coroner who said he had been shot and indicated it was a shooting,” after a thorough examination had been completed by the forensic doctor. The small round from a .22 calibre weapon typically leaves a small entry point, with the possibility of no exit wound – making it much more difficult to initially detect.
The initial investigation, handled by the Halton Regional Police Service, soon included a joint task force with the Ontario Provincial Police. Given McIntyre’s occupation and his undercover immersion in the criminal underworld the list of motives and suspects were endless.
Yates, the locksmith, was at the top of the suspect list. The initial theory investigators held involved Yates learning of McIntyre’s whereabouts and somehow obtaining a duplicate key to his Oakville apartment leading up to his murder – the motive being revenge for McIntyre’s success at obtaining a jailhouse confession from Yates. The covert confession was going to cost Yates an additional five years in prison.
However, this investigative avenue soon came to a dead end. Several different sources were able to confirm and place Yates in the vicinity of Orangeville, Ontario during the time of McIntyre’s death on April 21st.
If Rex Yates had any knowledge about the murder, he brought it to the grave with him. In a strange twist to this case, Yates was killed in a suspicious boating incident near Kingston, Ontario. He had accidentally drowned.
Other investigative tips were followed up by police over the years – leaving police empty-handed after all avenues had been exhausted. A $25,000 reward was eventually offered by the Halton Police for any information that may solve the McIntyre homicide.
The case, however, soon grew colder.
In 1997 the Ontario Provincial Police doubled the initial reward to $50,000 for any information about the murder of Constable William McIntyre.
In 2020 a joint investigative team was formed to continue the investigation into McIntyre’s murder. The Halton Police and O.P.P. are now offering a reward of $100,000 for any information that successfully leads to the identity, arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the murder of William McIntyre. The six-digit reward is being offered for one year – it will expire in April 2021.
If you have information or a tip about this crime you can contact the McIntyre Homicide team at 905-825-4777 ext. 8969 or the homicide tip number at 905-825-4776. If tipsters wish to remain anonymous, they can call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.
Stephen G. Metelsky, M.A. is a professor and writer with over 20 years experience as a police (ret.) sergeant. Stephen is a cold case columnist with Canada’s Blue Line magazine and has covered true & organized crime stories for various newspapers affiliated with Metroland Media Group & Postmedia Network Inc.