Darien Police Try New Tactics To Solve 35-Year-Old Cold Case Murder

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Greg Sjolander, then 36, was found murdered in Darien on Dec. 4, 1978. Photo Credit: Darien Police
Sjolander had these tattoos on his body, including one that read "Terry my love." Darien Police are still trying to determine the identity of "Terry." Photo Credit: Darien Police
One of a group of men overheard discussing a murder that same morning at a Darien restaurant left behind these sketches. Photo Credit: Darien Police
One of a group of men overheard discussing a murder that same morning at a Darien restaurant left behind these sketches. Photo Credit: Darien Police

DARIEN, Conn. – Darien police are reopening a 35-year-old murder investigation, hoping DNA evidence and public memory can help solve the case.

Greg Sjolander, a 36-year-old Canadian citizen, was found dead on the morning of Dec. 4, 1978 behind an abandoned house at 143 Ledge Road, the current location of BMW of Darien. He had two close-range gunshot wounds in his head.

Sjolander may have also been using the alias Paul Swanson at the time of his death. Investigators have since determined that he has been working as a hairdresser in Montreal as late as April 1978 but admit that “little is known about Sjolander’s activities in the United States.” He was last seen that November leaving an apartment on Ursula Place in Stamford.

“At least three independent reports place Sjolander in the Stamford area,” Darien Police said in a press release. “He may also have spent some time in New York City.”

The FBI crime lab reviewed evidence from the case in 1979, “long before the advent of DNA testing,” Darien Police said. Evidence is now being re-sent to the FBI lab and the Connecticut State Forensics Lab for a new round of testing with more modern methods.

On the morning of Sjolander’s death, a waitress at the Howard Johnson’s then located across the street from the crime scene later told police that three men had been discussing a murder over breakfast. She turned over a series of drawings, reportedly made by one of the men, which police have released in an effort to identify the suspects.

The three were described as: a white man, neat, and dressed as a workman; another white man, tall with a thin build, also dressed as a workman and wearing glasses; and a dark-skinned black man, wearing a leather hat, in his 20s or 30s.

Investigators have also publicized photos of distinctive tattoos on Sjolander. One reads “Terry My Love,” which may have referred to an American woman living in Montreal in the 1970s. Police have not been able to definitively identify Terry but believe she may have been a black or biracial woman with ties to New York City.

Sjolander’s murder may be related to another case in June 1978 from Dutchess County, N.Y. That victim was Ronald Poole, a Darien native who was known to frequent the same Ursula Place block that Sjolander was seen visiting. Sometimes known as “Stump,” Poole was a known member of the Charter Oaks Motorcycle Club, which may have been related to his death, investigators said.

Anyone with any information on either Greg Sjolander or Ronald Poole should contact Detective Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson at 203-662-5330 or jjohnson@darienct.gov.

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