Canadian police investigating the deaths of eight men found stuffed inside abandoned vehicles in a wooded field descended on a farmhouse a few miles down the road on Sunday. A former motorcycle gang member said there were indications the deaths were linked to the Bandidos gang.
Police refused to discuss what was happening beyond the roadblock they had set up around the farmhouse, about three miles from where the bodies were found inside four vehicles deserted in a farmer’s field Saturday morning. The farm in Shedden, Ontario, is about 90 miles northeast of Detroit.
Edward Winterhalder, a former member of the Bandidos motorcycle gang who lives in Oklahoma, said he had talked to current members in the area who recognized the vehicles from the media coverage.
“I can tell you that it’s Bandidos that got killed,” said Winterhalder, who left the gang in 2003 and wrote “Out in Bad Standings,” a book on his time inside the gang.
The owner of the farmhouse where police descended also was affiliated with the Bandidos, Winterhalder said.
The eight victims knew each other and were all from the Toronto area, said police, who characterized the deaths as homicides but declined to release further details.
“We’re in the middle of an active investigation right now,” said Ontario police Const. Dennis Harwood.
The rural area where the bodies were found has had problems with motorcycle gangs in the past, but is generally considered low-crime compared to parts of Canada such as Quebec, where biker violence is more common.
Police found the bodies after a call from the property owner, who is not considered a suspect.
An aerial view late Saturday showed the vehicles parked within 200 yards of each other, with the bodies still inside.
A minivan was discovered in a field about 20 yards off a dirt road. About 100 yards away a tow truck was found parked on the shoulder with a small silver-colored car hooked to the back. The fourth car, its hatch open, was parked in a clearing about 100 yards along the dirt road.
Both the bodies and the vehicles were removed overnight.
Mary and Russell Steele, who own the property around which the cars were parked, told Global News that the vehicles were not there when they took the road home the night before.
They said they called police Saturday morning after looking inside one of the vehicles and not being able to see anything because of a blanket covering the back window.
“We didn’t see anybody in them, so we just phoned the cops with the license plate numbers,” Russell Steele said.
“The police opened the back and I could see forms,” his wife said. “I couldn’t tell, but immediately in my mind I thought, ‘These are bodies.”’
The area has been home to several motorcycle clubs, including the Loners, the Bandidos and the Hell’s Angels. It has witnessed several violent incidents, including the discoveries of two bodies dumped in county fields in separate incidents in 1994 and 1998.
Both were beaten to death. Neither crime has been solved.