Docuseries ‘Darkness in Daylight’ to explore Christine Jessop murder case
By Victoria Ahearn | The Canadian Press
Tue., Oct. 19, 2021
TORONTO - The creator of an upcoming docuseries on the 1984 murder of an Ontario girl says the project will allow her family to finally tell their whole truth.
Toronto actor and producer Folklaur Chevrier says she has exclusive rights to the story of nine-year-old Christine Jessop and is developing “Darkness in Daylight” with permission from the family, including mother Janet Jessop and brother Kenneth Jessop.
Christine disappeared Oct. 3, 1984 while heading to a park to meet a friend after school in the southern Ontario village of Queensville. Her body was found on New Year’s Eve that year, in an Ontario farm field about 55 kilometres away.
In 1995, DNA evidence exonerated Guy Paul Morin, who had been convicted of first-degree murder in a retrial three years earlier.
In October 2020, the case took another major turn: Toronto police said DNA evidence indicated the late Calvin Hoover had sexually assaulted Jessop and was the likely killer. Hoover, who died by suicide in 2015, had lived near Christine’s family.
Chevrier says she wants to make the true-crime limited series because she feels Christine needs a voice.
“We’ve all heard the Guy Paul Morin story, respectfully so, but we’ve never heard from Janet and Kenneth Jessop — we’ve never heard an unvetted version, we’ve never heard their truth and we’ve never heard why their life has been a living hell,” Chevrier said in a phone interview.
Chevrier said her journey with the case started more than a decade ago when an anniversary made headlines. “There were a few other occurrences” that Chevrier took as a sign to research the story, and she says she became “engrossed and almost obsessive about it.”
The founder of the production company Folklaur Films said she initially planned a big-screen project and contacted Jessop family lawyer Tim Danson, met with Janet and Kenneth in person in Keswick, Ont., and spoke with Christine’s father, Bob Jessop, by phone. Chevrier also met Morin and his mother, Ida.
With all the material gathered, Chevrier realized it would be better to turn it into a TV series in three or four parts.
Then the project “completely went in a different direction” with last year’s news about Hoover.
“We had to change the whole trajectory of the story and of the series, because now the case is solved,” she said. “But that doesn’t mean that we have an ending. There actually isn’t, because ... for the Jessops, essentially, it’s not about closure for them.
“They’re always going to have half of their hearts missing. They will always be a mother of a murdered daughter and a brother of a murdered sister. For them, it’s about moving on, and for the very first time telling their truth.”
Chevrier said she doesn’t have a broadcaster but is “in the process of finding who will be the right fit to shepherd this project and to air it.”
She plans to go into production next year and feature the Jessops as key subjects. While the family has given interviews before, “they always had to be very careful what they said, and quite frankly, they were fearful to speak the truth,” she said.
Chevrier also plans to interview Hoover’s now-ex-wife, Heather, for the series.
She said the Jessops are “faced with guilt and more questions than they had for the past 36 years,” wondering: “How can the perpetrator be someone that was close to them, someone that aided in the search, someone that helped them?”
“They’re filled with anger and they’re also filled with hurt and disbelief,” she said.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 19, 2021.
PRODUCER AND ACTIVIST FOLKLAUR CHEVRIER COLLABORATES WITH JESSOP FAMILY IN DEVELOPMENT ON DOCUMENTARY
October 20, 2020 – Not long after the 36th year anniversary of Christine Jessop’s brutal death, and an endless search for justice, a killer was finally named. Toronto Police Chief James Ramer identified Calvin Hoover as Jessop’s murderer, using Forensic Genetic Genealogy announced on October 15. The case of nine-year-old Christine Jessop who mysteriously vanished after school in her hometown has become known as the preeminent murder investigation for judicial change in Canada. The tragedy not only horrified the nation but resulted in an extraordinary wrongful conviction and devastation for the family, in the wake of Christine’s untimely death.
For years, the Jessop’s kept silent as rumours circulated about the identity of Christine’s real killer, and harmful fabricated stories were told about their family. Now, they are ready to exclusively share their compelling, intimate perspective, having lived through the harrowing ordeal.
Producer and Activist Folklaur Chevrier has received the Jessop family’s consent to tell their story, having acquired the exclusive Life Rights through her production company, Folklaur Films. A decade ago, inspired by the surge of press marking the 25th anniversary of Christine’s murder, Chevrier, introduced herself to the Jessop family and became a confidante.
“Folklaur is a very driven, compassionate person who deeply cares about our family and this case, victims and children’s rights everywhere,” said Kenneth Jessop.
What drew Chevrier to the case was the pain and trauma of the family circumstances, plethora of questions and astonishingly few facts. In true ‘citizen detective’ nature, now synonymous with the True Crime genre, Chevrier has spent much of the past decade doing her own investigative work with the aim of helping advance the feature film. With countless hours of interviews already conducted with the Jessop family and detectives working the case, Chevrier believes the full story needs to come to light.
“Over a decade ago, I approached Janet and Kenneth (Christine’s mother and brother),” Chevrier says. “I am honored they entrusted me with their story and bravely agreed to the idea of a film. I will boldly and fearlessly document what has been their horrific experience spanning over 36 years and now, with the stunning identity of the killer revealed. I hope the conclusion from this cold case will provide hope to families, because it is never too late for justice.”
As an advocate for The Canadian Centre for Child Protection, Chevrier believes it is her responsibility to tell the horrid truth that surrounds child abduction, and to unearth the riveting untold story that has made Janet & Kenneth Jessop's life a living hell. In 2019, there were 40,425 reports of missing children in Canada. Every 40 seconds in the United States, a child goes missing or is abducted.
About Folklaur Films: Folklaur Films, founded by Folklaur Chevrier in 2018, is a Toronto-based production company that focuses on creating impactful content with a particular emphasis in films that reflect the diversity of the human spirit. There remains a vested interest in the nexus where cinema and socially conscious stories contend. Chevrier is an actor, producer, acclaimed public speaker, and advocate for Children, through her work St. Felix Centre and The Canadian Centre for Child Protection Inc.
For Immediate Release
September 30, 2019
ACTRESS/PRODUCER/CHILD-ACTIVIST FOLKLAUR CHEVRIER ACQUIRES LIFE RIGHTS FROM FAMILY OF “COLD CASE” MURDER VICTIM CHRISTINE JESSOP
Nine-year-old Christine Jessop vanished after school in her hometown of Queensville on Oct. 3, 1984. Her mangled body was discovered on New Year’s Eve 56 km from home.
Canada’s grisliest child murder – a tragedy that not only horrified the nation, but created a landmark in history of wrongful convictions (DNA evidence exonerated neighbour Guy Paul Morin, who was initially convicted her for murder) - remains an unsolved case, with a broken family who has lived and endured that mystery.
Each and every year on October 3 - this week marking 35 years - the media has descended on the Jessop family in the hopes they would share their story and experiences.
They have kept silent as rumours and reports circulated about the identity of Christine’s real killer, not to mention false statements and stories about their family.
Now, Folklaur Chevrier has received the Jessop family’s consent by acquiring the exclusive Life Rights to tell their story and shed new light on the vacuum of information that has surrounded Christine’s death for 35 years. Chevrier’s company, Folklaur Films, is currently in talks with directors, writers and prospective co-producers to bring the feature documentary on the Jessop’s full story, to the screen.
A decade ago, inspired by the surge of press marking the 25th anniversary of Christine’s murder, Chevrier, an actress involved with the Canadian Centre for Child Protection Inc., introduced herself to the Jessop family and became a confidante.
“I initially approached Janet and Kenneth (Christine’s mother and brother) 10 years ago,” Chevrier says. “Gradually, they opened up to the idea of a film and I’ve been willing to wait until they were comfortable and earned their trust.
“I will document what they feel has been their experience, and will share their truth with authenticity. Accuracy and fairness are the two guiding principles as I truly care about the integrity of this project. This heartbreaking story is in part for the audience to see what the Jessop’s have gone through, and to see how they have astonishingly survived.
“As an advocate for The Canadian Centre for Child Protection,” Chevrier adds, “I believe it is my responsibility to tell the horrid truth that surrounds child abduction, to unearth the riveting untold story that has made Janet & Kenneth Jessop's life a living hell.
“In 2018, there were 42,233 reports of missing children in Canada. Every 40 seconds in the United States, a child goes missing or is abducted. That is staggering.”
What fascinated Chevrier about the Christine Jessop story was the plethora of unanswered questions and astonishingly few facts. She has spent much of the past decade doing her own investigative work in preparation for the feature film.
“I think we as a culture are not apathetic about human stories,” she says. “We do care. We care a great deal. We do want to get involved and fight for justice. The mystery and loose-ends of a case like this haunt us as human beings.”
Folklaur Chevrier acquires life rights to Christine Jessop cold case
The child protection activist and actor has received consent from the Jessop family to tell their story through a feature-length documentay.
Child protection activist and actor Folklaur Chevrier has acquired the life rights to the Jessop family’s story to shed light on the murder of Christine Jessop, a nine-year-old schoolgirl from Queensville, ON who died nearly 35 years ago.
Chevrier – whose credits include roles on Ghostly Encounters and Beauty Learning – has been granted consent to depict Christine’s mother Janet, her brother Kenneth and Jessop in a feature documentary on their lives and the circumstances surrounding the Canadian cold case.
Chevrier’s production banner Folklaur Films is currently in talks with directors, writers and co-producers to bring the project to screen.
The documentary is the first production to come through the company.
On Oct. 3, 1984, Christine Jessop disappeared after school and her body was discovered three months later, on New Year’s Eve,
56 kilometres from her home. Her neighbour Guy Paul Morin was wrongfully convicted of her murder and, after serving 18 months in jail, was exonerated using advancements in DNA testing.
According to a press release, Chevrier, who is involved with the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, approached the family 10 years ago, after the surge in press around the 25th anniversary of Jessop’s case. Gradually, they opened up to the idea of a film.
“I will document what they feel has been their experience and will share their truth with authenticity,” she said in a statement. “Accuracy and fairness are the two guiding principles as I truly care about the integrity of this project. This heartbreaking story is in part for the audience to see what the Jessop’s have gone through and to see how they have astonishingly survived.”
Image courtesy of Folklaur Chevrier. L to R: Kenneth and Janet Jessop with Folklaur Chevrier.