No Trace of Grace - Change... a dangerous gift.

A Dramatic Mystery inspired by a True Story
Grayce Elizabeth Baxter
Kelvin Landolt first met 'Candice' while working at Club Colby's, a Toronto gay club in 1989. He had been one of many acquaintances she had fostered in the gay community. Candice was the name they all knew her as; Grayce Baxter was hidden. She was well connected with the trannies and gay boys who all hung out in the Church St community. Candice partied regularly at Colby's, between and after clients. She would meet up with friends from the club at after hour clubs, between tricks, continuing to party, often nightly.

Candice, by day, was mild mannered Grayce Elizabeth Baxter, who'd come to Toronto, from Vancouver to work in the booming tech industry; was her cover at Grayce. She lived at an elegant address, as an affluent woman. Grayce had few friends. Kelvin was not really one of those friends. He'd never been to her house. He had not been invited to call her 'Grayce'. However, Kelvin and Candice had partied together often and there was a certain bond between them; simple respect and admiration.

On one occasion, while out to dinner in Toronto on a boring Monday night, they decided to drive to party in Buffalo. Other times, Montreal was often a perfect location, close to Toronto and Candice could work from there. Once, she got so drunk that she was thrown out of the night club. In the street Candice and Kelvin argued and he left her there as the side of the road. Months later, on a return trip from Alaska, Kelvin discovered at check-in that his ticket had been cancelled. Turned out to be only a minor inconvenience for him, but upon returning to Toronto, he discovered that Candice had cancelled his flights in retribution of leaving her on the street - just one of her practical jokes.

Reports of Candice's disappearance left huge question marks sometimes answered in Kelvin's dreams. At the time, he felt sure Candice was up to one of her many practical jokes.  Leaving her group of friends awaiting a surprised appearance at the next party, only to regale a tale of her latest exploits. But that never came. When the horrific reports finally hit the papers in early 1993, he felt guilty for having not taken her missing person case more seriously, so he spent hours exploring desolate areas of the city, looking for her body. Where was/is her body?

When Grayce's parents came to town it was discovered that they knew nothing of her real life in Toronto. The Baxters believe their daughter worked professionally in business and had been very proud of the way she'd taken command of her new life since her reassignment surgery in the late 80's. Kelvin’s personal story, with family, led him to highly related to the distraught Baxters and did all he could to help them find understanding and peace.

Life continued in Toronto for Kelvin, but thoughts of Candice / Grayce remain. Other sex workers, befriended at Club Colby's, had also been murdered, over the years, not to mention the huge losses of friends to HIV/AIDS, but somehow, Candice's disappearance always had a ring of practical joke attached; she'd been a notorious prankster. What if Grayce had arranged her own death?

  • What if facade of the 'fabulous' life she portrayed to all her friends, hid depression and a sense of dying inside?
  • What if she'd done very well, as she'd bragged, and finally could afford to escape?
  • What if she sent her parents tickets on the guise of coming to celebrate Christmas togehter, knowing she be 'missing' and they'd then be here to deal with her 'death'?
  • What if she felt that death would have been an easy closure for her parents?
  • What if she just left and now lives as a mother in some foreign country? Grocery shopping, working part time at a local printing shop, hurrying home to a husband and adopted daughter.

In the aftermath, news reports left huge holes in the story:

  • Why did Dan Johnson confess?
  • Was he forced by the police who needed a confession to close the case and stop the hundreds of thousands being spent daily to search for Grayc's body?
  • How was Dan convicted without evidence that he'd committed the crime?
  • What sort of defense lawyer would have allowed his client to be charge with no actual evidence?
  • If Dan had strangled her, on the ‘fly’, how could the average man be prepared to hacksaw a body in his apartment without leaving evidence?
  • Why and how had her car been left in a part of town, which Grayce would never have visited - Gerrard Square?
  • Where is the cash she protected with apartment security and a safe?
  • In the years that followed, it has come to light that Dan Johnson, returned to Clearwater, B.C. (home town of the Baxter family - where Grayce/Grant grew up), where he now lives. Did Grayce, then Grant, know Dan from high school in Clearwater?

Too many questions for a writer.

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