Accused killer Travis Vader is escorted out of court by police following his first court appearance in Edson on May 15 after he was charged with two counts of first degree murder in the deaths of a missing St. Albert couple, Lyle and Marie McCann.
Credits: PAMELA ROTH/QMI AGENCY
The man, who can not be named, claims a cash reward is what prompted him to sign a partial contract with witness protection to help police probe information from his former cell mate, Travis Vader, during his time in remand for an assault charge.
But now that the man is no longer behind bars, he said he feels everything has backfired on him and he and his family aren't safe at all.
"I stuck my neck out. I risked my life doing this," said the man. "Everybody has said, ‘Hey, we got what we wanted and now we don't need you.' Now my life is in danger because of this."
The St. Albert, AB, seniors were last seen fuelling up their motorhome in that city on July 3, 2010, before embarking upon a trip to Chilliwack, BC, for a vacation. Two days after the couple was last seen, their RV was found engulfed in flames near the Minnow Lake campground, 20 km east of Edson. The SUV they were towing was discovered six days later in a remote wooded area near Carrot Creek, 30 km east of Edson.
Vader was named as a person of interest early in the case, but no charges were ever laid until late April when he was charged with two counts of first-degree murder.
So far there has been no plea entered in the case.
Vader's former cell mate said he was approached by a team from RCMP major crimes after he was picked up on a warrant and sent to remand. He had never met Vader, but said his common law wife worked with Vader's mother prior to the disappearance of the couple.
The man claims he befriended Vader and eventually got him to share details about the McCann case -- all of it recorded on wire taps.
"I hate to live with the guy, but I had no choice," said the man about his time behind bars with Vader. "I'm in dire straights. Witness protection just left me hanging."
The man's common-law wife, who also can't be named, was friends with Vader's mother. Their relationship changed once Vader was thrust into media headlines. She too fears for her family's safety.
"Our understanding is there was going to be help to keep ourselves safe. I don't feel safe now," she said.
The man's RCMP contact could not discuss the case but said he speaks with the man regularly.
There's still a key piece missing from the puzzle -- the bodies of the missing St. Albert couple have never been recovered, despite exhaustive efforts. A $60,000 reward remains in the case for information leading to the couple's whereabouts.
Their deaths are presumed to have occurred near the town of Peers, about 40 km northeast of Edson.
In June, Vader was found guilty on a number of charges not related to the McCann case, including possession of a firearm without a license or registration, trafficking methamphetamine, theft of a motor vehicle, and possession of a stolen truck.