'It's been 15 years': Family, RCMP hope new podcast helps solve the murder of Misha Pavelick
REGINA -- Saskatchewan RCMP launched a podcast examining the unsolved murder of a Regina teen, in hopes of digging up new information about the 15-year-old cold case.
Misha Pavelick was 19-years-old when he was stabbed to death at a graduation party near Regina Beach, Sask., on May 21, 2006.
Approximately 200 people were at the party, but those responsible for his death were never found.
Misha’s dad, Lorne Pavelick, still remembers the last conversation he had with his son before Misha went to the grad party that evening.
“I asked him if he’d be safe and he said ‘yes’ and ‘not to worry,” Pavelick said. “I told him ‘I love you’ and he said ‘I love you too, Dad.’ So I’m grateful that I had that opportunity, that I was given that gift to remember.”
Later that night while he was sleeping, Pavelick received a frantic phone call from one of Misha’s friends who told him his son had been stabbed and it didn’t look good.
“I asked her to please put the phone down to his ear so I could tell him I love him,” Pavelick said. “There was pandemonium in the background. These are young people - 18, 19, 17 some of them - and they were horrified.”
Misha’s older sister, Kathleen Marshall, remembers getting the call from their dad saying things weren’t looking good for her brother. The family and several of Misha’s friends arrived at the Regina General Hospital. Hospital employees took the family to a separate room where they delivered the news.
“They sat us down and said ‘he didn’t make it,’” she explained. “I sat there just shocked. We still didn’t even know what happened at that point, but it was shocking. It was not the news I was expecting.”
Pavelick said the family was told it would be a complicated investigation because of the circumstances that surrounded it - the incident took place outdoors, it was dark and there were approximately 200 people there.
Marshall said the family wasn’t sure how long it would take to get the answers but since there were so many people at the party, they know someone has information.
“I don’t know what my expectations were, but our hopes absolutely were for someone to be held accountable,” she said. “There were so many people there so there’s definitely people that saw what happened and know what happened first hand.”
Pavelick said the family was excited when RCMP approached them to do the podcast.
“I must say that I’m grateful to the RCMP, which may sound weird, but I am grateful that they have assigned some importance - like they do for most of their cases - but in this case for Misha and they created this podcast,” Pavelick said. “As a family we’re hopeful that there will be some results.”
“Who Killed Misha Pavelick?” is the first season of the podcast created by the RCMP.
The podcast includes interviews with Pavelick’s family, RCMP officers involved in the case and other police experts. Those involved hope the podcast will encourage someone to bring forward information that could help police solve the case.
The first episode was released on Friday morning on the RCMP website and Apple Podcasts.
Producing a podcast to assist with an investigation is a first for the RCMP.
Sgt. Donna Zawislak with the RCMP Historical Case Unit said podcasts have proven to be a positive way to share historical cases.
“They’re great because they can be shared so many times, plus they leave an imprint on the internet for a long period of time,” she said.
Sgt. Zawislak said investigators recently received some new information about the case before the podcast had launched.
“We were pushing forward with this investigation, whether the podcast took place or not,” she said.
Since the podcast launch was announced on Thursday, she said even more tips came in.
“The last tip prior to that was probably in 2010, so we are looking at a significant difference where now tips are coming forward and information is coming forward. Some of it is known but some of it is not known,” she said. “Without people even hearing the podcast, we have benefited from it.”
Misha’s sister said she’s hoping the delivery of the story through a podcast will affect listeners in a unique way.
“They can read an online article but to hear us and hear our pain and hear our experience and remember that we’re real people that are still missing him, maybe then they will be more open or moved to come forward,” Marshall said.
Every year, the family pays tribute to Misha in some way, but his dad said this year felt different.
“With this being the 15th year, I decided I wasn’t going to sit on the sidelines and I was going to be more involved,” Pavelick said.
He’s hoping that by sharing the details of Misha’s story through the podcast and through the media, the people who were at the party that night and who know details about what happened to Misha will finally come forward.
“It’s hard enough living with grief, but I can’t imagine being someone who knows about this, knows who did it,” Pavelick said. “Most of these people that were out there that evening are probably married now and have kids of their own. It’s time to let go, get honest - quit lying to yourself and do the right thing.”
The RCMP said it’s confident that the answers are out there.
“You understand probably, back in 2006, why people were hesitant to come forward,” Sgt. Zawislak said. “It’s been 15 years. Circumstances have changed, people have grown. They have families and they’ve matured. If they put themselves in the situation of the Pavelick family, how would they feel if it was their loved one?”
Pavelick said every year when May rolls around, he struggles.
“My sleep is affected, my thoughts are affected, my emotions are affected,” he said. “My wife tells me she usually sees me going into grief before I realize I’m in it.”
He likens the feeling of living without his son to building a puzzle.
“You’re creating a puzzle and it’s the puzzle of life. You assemble this puzzle and as you’re processing and putting all these pieces together, you suddenly realize that there’s one missing,” he said. “That’s what losing Misha was like. There’s this element in our life that is missing.”
Misha’s family said it’s hard to think about all that Misha has missed - including marriage and family births.
“I never thought that he would not be here,” Marshall said. “He would have been a dad already for sure, he would have had me beat to having a kid. I just had a daughter last year and he would have been the most incredible, loving uncle. He loved children.”
Misha’s dad remembers his son being loving and athletic.
“He didn’t want his friends to know, but he was clingy to me and his mother,” Pavelick said with a laugh. “He was just beginning to be an adult and so there was lots of possibility. We don’t know what lays ahead for all of us - but we have optimism and hope.”
RCMP encourages anyone with information about Pavelick’s death to contact investigators directly by calling 639-625-4252, or leave a tip or report information anonymously by contacting Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or visit saskcrimestoppers.com.