On May 12, 2003, 10-year-old Holly Jones went missing from her west-end Toronto neighborhood while she was walking home from a friend’s house. Find out more about what happened to her and the man accused of her murder in our Michael Briere wiki.
Who Is Michael Briere?
Michel Briere was born in 1968 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He later moved to Toronto, Ontario, Canada, changing his first name to the anglophone version, Michael.
|About Michael Briere|
|Known As||Michael Briere|
|Spouse||Vicky Lee Bolduc 1993-1997|
According to a June 2003 Globe & Mail article, Briere had a very troubled relationship with his mother, Marie-Ange.
Abandoned by her son’s father before he was even born, Marie-Ange raised Michel on her own. The single mother and her son struggled financially, constantly moving from apartment to apartment.
And young Michel Briere had to grow up quickly, taking on the burden of caring for his possibly mentally ill mother. She was reportedly unable to care properly for herself, much less her son.
A friend of Briere, Daniel Crevier, said that Briere “was the adult” in the mother-son relationship and that the boy “shouldn’t have been under her care.”
According to Crevier, Briere was ashamed of his unstable mother, but he took care of her until she passed away in 2001.
By all accounts, Briere was considered to be a loner who was obsessed with playing video games, notably the Final Fantasy series. His ex-wife, Vicky Lee Bolduc, says he wasn’t always that way, though.
When she first met him, Michael Briere was a professional bodybuilder. They met when they were both doing improv at Second City, a comedy club in Toronto.
The couple married in 1993, but Bolduc says everything changed after that. Briere became increasingly involved in playing violent video games. And, as the marriage wore on, his wife became more and more concerned with his habits.
They eventually divorced in 1997.
After the divorce, Bolduc distanced herself from her ex-husband, so much so that she had no idea what had become of him.
“I don’t hate the guy,” she admitted. “It’s been so long and I dropped out of touch with him. It’s been so long.”
In 2003, Briere was working as a software developer for MDS Inc. in downtown Toronto. He was renting an apartment at 1450 Bloor Street West in Toronto, just a few blocks from where a little girl named Holly Jones and her family lived on Sterling Avenue.
What Happened to Holly Jones?
On May 12, 2003, Holly Jones, who was, and still is, a beloved member of her community, had walked a friend of hers home from a play date when she decided to walk home by herself. Earlier that day, the 10-year-old had begged her mother, Maria Jones, to let her walk home by herself in a desperate attempt to demonstrate her growing independence.
Maria agreed as long as Holly promised to be home by dinnertime, which was around 6:00 p.m.
Hours later, when her youngest daughter still hadn’t returned home, Maria and her husband, George Stonehouse, began to panic.
They contacted local authorities, who put out an Amber Alert within three hours of Holly’s disappearance. Unbeknownst to them, by that point, it was already too late.
Around the same time Holly was supposed to be home that evening, Briere had left his house, walking past the little girl on the street as she was heading home.
In a spur-of-the-moment decision, he turned back and crept up behind her. Making sure no one else was around, Briere wrapped his arms around the little girl’s neck and dragged her inside his home.
The details of what happened next are graphic and disturbing.
Briere threw Holly on the bed, removed both of their clothes, and then attempted to rape her, but was unsuccessful. According to reports, he ended up bruising her vagina and ripping her anal lining.
Panic-stricken and possibly disturbed by his own actions and total lack of impulse control, he strangled the little girl to death. He promptly placed her body in his refrigerator until he could figure out how to dispose of it.
After a few hours, Briere removed Holly’s body and dismembered it. He placed the pieces in two gym bags, and then disposed of the bags in various parts of Lake Ontario, hoping they would sink to the bottom. They didn’t.
The next morning, a man walking his dog discovered one of the bags of remains on Toronto’s Ward Island. The other bag was discovered near the Canadian National Exhibition fairgrounds.
The Apprehension of Michael Briere
Through DNA testing, Toronto police were able to confirm that the remains belonged to Holly Jones almost immediately. The question at that point was, who would do this to such a sweet and innocent little girl?
The investigation took nearly six weeks, as police embarked on a mission to collect DNA from every male resident in the area. There were a few exceptions; men who refused to surrender DNA samples on the grounds that it was a violation of their civil rights.
Initially, Michael Briere was one of those men who refused to cooperate with police. However, authorities were able to successfully collect a sample of his DNA after retrieving a discarded soda can that he’d used.
They were quickly able to match it to the DNA found underneath Holly Jones’ fingernails, which she’d gained in trying to fight off her attacker.
Michael Briere was arrested on June 20, 2003.
Briere willingly confessed to the crime and detailed his actions in a three-hour-long recording. Describing abducting Jones, Briere said, “She didn’t scream. She was in total shock, and I just started with her, holding her by the neck, towards my home.”
The Trial of Michael Briere
At the plea hearing in 2004, Briere pleaded guilty and waived his rights to a preliminary hearing. While not completely unprecedented, such a plea is almost unheard of, as most criminals tend to plead “not guilty.”
At the time, Briere claimed that his reasoning for entering a guilty plea was that he wanted to avoid putting the Jones family through the turmoil of enduring a trial, calling his own actions, “cruel, inhuman, and nightmarish.”
Michael Briere was convicted of first-degree murder and given an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole until 2028.
Briere, currently 51 years old, is an inmate at the Kingston Penitentiary. The convicted child murderer is in protective custody, segregated from the rest of the prison population.
What Drove Michael Briere to Rape and Kill a Child?
Up until his terrible actions on that May day in 2003, it seems no one could have predicted what Michael Briere was capable of.
Upon hearing of his conviction in the Holly Jones rape and murder case, his ex-wife, Vicki Lee Bolduc, was absolutely shocked: “Oh my God. I can’t believe it would be him,” she said.
On the surface, it seemed as if Michael Briere led a very quiet and unassuming existence…but appearances can be deceiving.
He woke up every morning, got dressed, and went to work. But looming under that thin veil of normalcy was a demented soul who had always fantasized about engaging in sexual relations with a young girl.
Living a life shrouded in secrecy, Briere regularly indulged in viewing child pornography, most notably videos involving little girls between the ages of 10 and 12.
Upon his arrest, police seized hundreds of videos he’d downloaded both on his home and work computers. They estimated that he’d downloaded pornographic content as often as twice a day.
According to those who knew Briere, he was not only heavily involved in playing video games, but he was also a huge movie fanatic. He frequently rented movies from Video 99 on Bloor Street; his rental record there showed that he had an eclectic taste in films, but mostly pretty mundane.
Back then, it wasn’t uncommon for people to rent movies a few times a week, and Briere was no exception. He’d rent movies of all genres, from romances like Kate and Leopold to slasher flicks like American Psycho.
What was so jarring about his film selection the week of Holly Jones’ murder was that he’d watched a movie called Gacy, a biopic about the life and crimes of real-life child serial killer John Wayne Gacy, Jr.
After his June 20th arrest, the software engineer admitted that he’d fantasized about sexually assaulting little girls his entire life. Briere said the onset of his attack on Holly was fueled by the copious amounts of child pornography he’d recently viewed.