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Search for T.O. Woman Baffles Cops

  Police are stymied in their search for a Toronto woman missing for two weeks.

Metro Det. Reg Pitts says investigators have yet to turn up a clue in the disappearance of Grayce Elizabeth Baxter, 26, who was last seen leaving a friend's Mississauga home at 3 a.m. Tuesday, December 8.

Baxter's black 1989 BMW was found abandoned in the parking lot of Gerrard Square mall two days later.

There was no signs of any violence in the car, Pitts said. He said Baxter lived on Yonge St., about 4 km (2.5 miles) from the mall at Gerrard St. E, and Pape Ave.

Pitts said police have received phone calls from friends and acquaintances for Baxter but none from anyone who might have information leading to the woman.

Baxter is white, 6-foot, 160 punds, with a sturdy build, and long, dyed-blonde shoulder-length hair and blue eyes.

She was last seen wearing dark clothing, including a black body stocking.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Metro Police at 324-5204 or Crime Stoppers at 222-TIPS.

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Where is Grayce?

TORONTO STAR / Sunday December 27, 1992 - Michele Mandel

  The baffling case of missing call girl.

She sent her parents their plane tickets a long time ago. Her present to them, Christmas together.

But when they arrived here from Clearwater, B.C. last week their daughter was nowhere to be found. Grayce Elisabeth Baxter has vanished.

And with her disappearance, he carefully woven life of lies has unravelled, leaving her parents devastated and confused.

Their daughter is not the successful, corporate computer executive she had always told them she was.

No, the police have told them, she was a high-priced call girl. Now lost somewhere in that dark world.

She was once a he, born Grant Baxter 27 years ago. In 1985, her Vancouver doctor referred her to a clinic in the United States for a sex change operation. And a desperately unhappy Grant became a delighted Grayce.

"Her parents knew her sexual confict growing up and understood it and helped arrange for sex-change operation," says Metro Police Det. Reg Pitts.

"They were 100% behind it. Most parents walk away, but they didn't. Her mother gave me picture of her yesterday, it was a formal pose with her hair up, and she said, 'This is my daughter.' And she said it with a lot of pride."

Pitts visited her parents Christmas day, to deliver a Christmas card and reassure them that the eight investigators on the case were doing everything possible to find their daughter. "It brought a tear to Mr. Baxter's eye," the detective says. "They're very upset but they're holding up and still hoping for the best."

Call girl from the start.

Grayce Baxter came here from Vancouver about four years ago, telling her parents she was looking for a change of pace. And a computer job.

But from the start, police say, she was working as an expensive call girl.

Flip through the Yellow Pages, and there are an astounding 20 pages filled with escort service ads, with their innocent pictures of top hats and pearls and champagne. Credit cards accepted, Discretion assured.

NOW Magazine also has ads desperately seeking recruits to fill demand. "Earn $1500-$3500 a week," promises one agency. "Full dental, additional medical and life insurance coverage available," boasts another. "Ask us about our new luxurious villa in Spain."

It's safer than working the streets. And more lucrative. "It depends on the girl," says one agency owner, who gives only her name as Catherine. "If she's very attractive, she can earn about $350 an hour. The split with her agency might be 60-40 or, depending on her deal, she might take home 90%."

Baxter, strikingly tall and blonde and blue-eyed, was obviously tops in her field. She is six-feet, 160 pounds, with a penchant for black leather and fur coats and designer clothes from Holt Renfrew.

"She's a bit exotic," says concierge Pat MacPherson. "She looked pretty authentic, she had all the right curves. Only her husky voice was a give-away."

She is friendly and outgoing, he says, as well as a bit outrageous. MacPherson smiles at the memory of one particular get-up she wore Halloween. Whips, chains and a black leath body suit. "With the cheeks cut out," he recalls, "with her bare butt showing."

Baxter was always in and out of her condominium, often arriving home late. Police say she worked for two agencies: Her own, Big One Fantasies, and well as Amanda's, and was always just a pager away from her long list of 100 clients. Asked if any of them were prominent, police refused to comment.

The living was obviously good. She drove a black, 1989 BMW with a cellular phone, rented a $1,200 a month condominium on the 32nd floor of the posh World Trade Centre, as well as maintaining another apartment somewhere else in the city.

Careful to set alarm.

Besides expensive toys and clothes, she also loved to lavish money on her parents, flying them to meet her in Toronto, taking her mother on a cruise. All the while telling them that she was a successful executive.

"She's living the big lie," says Pitts. "She's trying to live the high life by going down to the depths. It's a dirty, dirty world to make your money from."

But until recently, she had been lucky -- and careful. She'd been living at the World Trade Centre, with it's peach marble lobby and indoor swimming pool and individual suite alarm systems, always having her car valeted to the underground parking because she was too nervous to do it herself.

Unlike most tenants, she always activated her alarm when she wasn't in her bright, two-bedroom condo, with its spectacular southwest view of the lake and expensive antiques she had lovingly collected.

Her elegant apartment was to be the site of a Christmas party she was planning for Dec. 18. She had been rushing around getting her condo in order, taking her antique dining chairs in for refinishing.

But she never picked them up. And the party was never held.

. . .

"I noticed she was missing before anyone else did," her concierge recalls. "I hadn't seen her in a while and thought it was strange. Then her friends came by and were worried that they hadn't seen her."

They found Baxter's cat was inside her condo, obviously left unfed for days. "She wasn't the type to leave her cat by itself," MacPherson says.

The police discovered Baxter was last seen leaving a friend's home in Mississauga at 3. a.m. on Dec. 8 when she got a call from a customer on her pager.

She was wearing a low cut, black mini-dress and full-length, silver fox fur coat.

She hasn't been seen since. Two days later, her BMW was found abandoned in the parking lot of the Gerrard Square shopping mall.

Police fear the worst.

"This one has all the earmarkings of a real mystery," says Pitts. It's basically a 'Where is she' that could quickly turn into a whodunnit."

Missing Call Girl had Drug Problem - Pal says

TORONTO STAR / Tuesday December 29, 1992 - Jim Rankin

  A friend of missing Toronto prostitute Grayce Baxter says the 26-year-old woman had a drug problem which may have played a role in her disappearance three weeks ago.

"I don't know if anybody knows, but I know Graycie, and she's a drug addict," said Mary, who says she's known the high-priced prostitute for about six years.

Mary, who didn't want her real name used, is also a prostitute and lives within sight of Baxter's waterfront World Trade Centre condominium.

"I know she was into crack cocaine," said Mary, 27, in a telephone interview. "She called me one morning. It was a Sunday morning and I was in bed with my girlfriend. She wanted us to come over.

"She had said that she had taken pills the night before. She said she was hallucinating and she didn't wnat to be in her apartment alone."

Baxter, a transsexual who underwent a sex-change operation seven years ago, disappeared around Dec. 8. Her 1989 black BMW was found abandoned two days later in the parking lot of Gerrard Square shopping mall at Gerrard St. and Pape Ave.

She was last seen at a friend's place in Mississauga, say police. Around 3 a.m. that morning, one of the escort agencies she worked for paged her. She left and drove off in her luxury car.

No one has heard from her since.

"I know she had a bad time with drugs and she had gotten off them," said Mary. "You just wonder whether it had anything to do with drugs. Maybe she was going out to get more drugs."

Homicide's Detective Sergeant Tony Warr said yesterday police have'nt heard of any drug problem Baxter might have had. Police are still trying to piece together Baxter's movements leading up to her disappearance, Warr added.

The 6-foot-tall, 160-pound woman was making a good living from prostitution, said Mary, but always separated her work from her personal life.

"She was trying to live her life as complete as she could. It's only an occupation, what she does -- what we both do. She lived just like everyone else.

"You know, a lot of people feel that people who in the position we're in are not responsible people. That is not the case, especially not with Grayce."

Baxter, who has straight blonde hair and a sturdy build, had a clientele made up of submissive wealthy business men, said Mary.

"She's a dominatrix. She's into heavier stuff than I am. I'm just into regular work. She had called me several times to go with her (on calls). I refused because I'm not into that kind of heavy domination.

"She did specialty things. I mean, she was a transsexual; she could do things that a lot of other girls wouldn't do. People pay more for doing things like that."

Missing Hooker 'into Bondage'

TORONTO STAR / Sunday, January 3, 1993 - Mark Stewart

  Missing transsexual prostitute Grayce Baxter was a dominatrix who sometimes took neighbors into her downtown apartment to watch clients being humiliated.

"It was common knowledge she was a prostitute," said a neighbour in the downtown townhouse complex.

Tenants know Baxter "was into bondage. She was a dominatrix. As far as I know that was her thing.

"Humiliation is big bucks," said the woman, who didn't want to be identified.

But Baxter's profession wasn't offensive to the predominantly gay building and downtown neighborhood., she said.

Baxter, 26, was last seen by a friend at a Mississauga home about 3.a.m. Dec. 8.

She left after receiving a call on her pager. Her car was found at the Gerrard Square Mall two days later.

Baxter, who underwent a sex change operation seven years ago, lived at an expensive Yonge St. condo but worked from a one-bedroom townhouse.

"There wasn't much more than a bed, a television and a couch," said another source, wh also requested anonymity. "But there were tie-downs on the bed."

Paid her rent

Baxter, who booked her services through Amanda's and Big One Fantasies escort agencies was not known as a troublesome tenant, he said.

She always paid her rent on time and never complained to management.

Homicide Det. Sgt. Tony Warr said he has a team of eight officers working on her mysterious disappearance.

They have begun working their way through more than 100 names on Baxter's client list.

One of those clients was put on display one night, tied up and dressed in a diaper, said the neighbor.

"She'd bring in the neighbors to see a guy dressed like a baby in a diaper and laugh at him," she said.

Warr said anyone who doesn't want to be contacted by police can call himn first at Metro's homocide squad at 324-6150.

Baxter is white, 6-feet tall, 160 pounds, with a sturdy build, and long, dyed-blonde shoulder-length hair and blue eyes.

She was last seen wearing dark clothing, including a black "Cat Lady" body stocking.

Jailer Held in Call-Girl Death

TORONTO STAR / Saturday, January 9, 1993 - John Schmied


Cops sure they'll find body

A jail guard who was a client of missing transsexual call girl Grayce Elizabeth Baxter has been charged with her murder.

Metro Police homicide detectives yesterday went to a Don Mills home where they arrested the 23-year-old man and charged him with first-degree murder, even though they have yet to find Baxter's body.

"We're confident we'll recover a body," Det. Sgt. Tony Warr said last night after interviewing the suspect.

Police believe Baxter, 26 was killed Dec. 8, the day she was last seen.

She becomes Metro's 65 homicide of 1992.

Warr said "good investigative work" by a team of nine detectives led them to the suspect, who they didn't know had been Baxter's client until near the time of his arrest.

Clients had been warned

Detectives publicly announced last week they had Baxter's list of more than 100 clients and would start contacting them for interviews.

Warr last night said detectives "were just about to start" contacting clients when they were led to the suspect arrested yesterday.

Baxter, who worked through two call-girl agencies, specialized as a dominatrix who tied up and humiliated clients, neighbors of her Harborfront-area condominium told the Sun last week.

One neighbor said Baxter invited people into her apartment to laugh at and humiliate clients who were often tied up.

Baxter was last seen leaving a friend's Mississauga home at 3 a.m. Dec. 8.

Her 1989 BMW was found abandoned in the parking lot of the Gerrard Square shopping centre two days later.

The inside of the care showed no signs of violence, and police were stymied by her sudden and complete disappearance.

"It was a mystery ... a very interesting investigation," Warr said.

Won't comment on body

He refused to comment on how police were led to the suspect or if police know where Baxter's body is.

He said no weapon has been recovered.

Charged with first-degree murder is Patrick Daniel Johnson, 23, of Wynford Heights Cr., North York, He'll appear in North York court early next week.

Neighbours Baffled over Arrest

TORONTO STAR / Sunday, January 11, 1993 - Sharon Lem

  Neighbors of a North York jail guard charged in the first-degree murder of missing transsexual prostitute Grayce Baxter says he's "a good boy."

Metro police arrested Patrick Daniel Johnson, 23, of Wynford Heights Cres., in his two bedroom apartment Friday.

Det.-Sgt. Tony Warr said Johnson was remanded by a Justice of the Peace to Metro East Detention Centre until Tuesday, when he will appear in North York court.

Johnson, a guard at the Don Jail, is charged with first-degree murder of Baxter, 26, of Yonge St., although her body hasn't been found. Warr is confident they will recover the body.

Police believe Baxter was killed Dec. 8, the day she was last seen, leaving a friend's Mississauga home at 3 a.m.

'Can't believe it'

"I just can't believe it," said the superintendent at the apartment complex where Johnson lives. "He's such a very nice, quiet and handsome boy, friendly, polite and well-mannered."

The superintendent said Johnson's $700 was always paid each month.

"We've had no trouble from him since he moved in last summer," he said.

"He was a pretty nice fellow and he seemed like a good boy," said a next-door-neighbor who didn't want her name used.

"This apartment complex is usually quiet and there's never been any trouble around here until this," she said.

Forensic investigators scoured Johnson's apartment for evidence yesterday.

Baxter, an avid antique collector, was a call girl and specialized as a dominatrix who tied up and humiliated clients, neighbors of her townhouse told the Sun.

Her car was found abandoned at the Gerrard Square shopping mall Dec. 10.

Murder Accused Writes to Sun
Front Page

Writer claims to have seen Grayce baxter the night she was slain

Jail guard Dan Johnson, 23, appears at left in the ministry of correctional services ID card enclosed with a letter signed by Johnson and received at the Sun yesterday. Johnson appears in court today charged in the murder of transsexual hooker Grayce Baxter.

Accused writes

Charged with murder of transsexual

A jail guard accused of murdering a transsexual hooker penned a letter to the Sun before his arrest.

Patrick Daniel Johnson, 23 is now confined to a protective custody unit at Metro East Detention Centre in Scarboro.

He appears in court today charged in the first-degree murder of Grayce Baxter, 26, who vanished Dec. 8.

Grayce Baxter 2

PATRICK DANIEL JOHNSON ... In court today facing first-degree murder charge.

Grayce Baxter 1

GRAYCE BAXTER ... Transexual hooker vanished Dec. 8. Body hasn't been found.

Metro Police arrested Johnson Friday, after a man told detectives his friend had information about the killing and a letter sent to the Sun.

The handwritten, six page letter arrived in the newsroom yesterday, signed "Dan Johnson".

It begins: "Dear Friends, I am forwarding this letter to the Toronto Sun in hopes that they will publish this... and not have you only listen, read and talk hear say (sic) and gossip."

A friend, who requested anonymity, said Johnson told him the letter prior to his arrest.

Contained in the envelope was a Ministry of Corrections identification card bearing Johnson's photo and signed "Dan Johnson".

The 23-year-old North York man was employed as a "casual" guard -- on contract basis -- who filled vacancies when full-time staff were on vacation or summoned to other duties.

In the letter, he claims to have seen "Graycie" the night she was allegedly murdered, and that she was drunk. "I want to let the guys at the Don know I never knew she was once a he ... so quit the jokes," he writes.

And the author claimed to have just spent three days "having nothing but sex with my Quebec girlfriend ... doing it 14 times ...then stop cold fish."

In a moment of introspection and references to God, he claims to be "good hearted" beneath his exterior as a "big, tough weightlifter the womanizer, the loudmouth and joker."

An entire page lists numerous friends and co-workers, about who he recalled fond memories. They included: "Tim: Like the brother I never had ... Guy: Thanks for making me laugh ... and Randy, Jeff, Willie, Black, McCarthy, Doug MacDonald and all the boys."

Toronto Don jail officials refused comment yesterday on Johnson's employment record.

But one colleague said, "It's a very sad, sad situation ... it's a pretty difficult time for all of us."

Det. Sgt. Tony Warr, of the homicide squad, said the letter will undergo forensic testing with evidence seized from Johnson's apartment on Wynford Heights Cres.

Warr wouldn't say whether police know where Baxter's body was dumped.

Client of Transsexual Charged with Murder
  A man described by police as a former client of a transsexual prostitute missing for the last month has been charged with first-degree murder in her death -- but the body has not yet been found.

Grayce Baxter, 26, who lived in a condominium in the World Trade Centre at the foot of Yonge St., disappeared the morning of Dec. 8 after visiting a friend in Mississauga.

Baxter, believed to have had about 100 regular clients, answered a call on her pager about 3 a.m. and was never seen again, police said.

Detectives launched a search after her black BMW was found abandoned two days later.

"We have sufficient evidence to lay a charge," said Detective Sergeant David Clark of Metro police, who refused to elaborate on the proof investigators had gathered.

Detectives Jim McDermott and Tony Warr of the homicide squad are heading the investigation and have been interviewing her clients.

They are still seeking clues that will lead them to the location of the victim's body.

Grayce Baxter was born a male, Grant, and had a sex change operation seven years ago before starting a career as a call girl.

Metro police yesterday arrested a 23-year-old Toronto man at his home.

Patrick Daniel Johnson, of Wynford Heights Cres. in North York is charged with first-degree murder. He is to appear in court today.

Accused Murderer in Court
  Dan "Gentle Ben" Johnson told his friends and family he would move back to his British Columbia hometown this week.

Instead, the hulking jail guard appeared in court yesterday, charged in the first-degree murder of transsexual callgirl Grayce Baxter.

Wearing a prison-issue orange jumpsuit and light blue T-shirt, he spoke only once, saying he understood the charge against him.

Defence lawyer Bill Parker is preparing a bail application for Johnson, who was remanded in custody until Jan. 19.

Metro Police detectives arrested Johnson, 23, at his North York apartment last Friday.

The arrest came one night before a "going-away" bash for Johnson and a pal he asked to move west with him.

"I talked to Dan last Wednesday," long-time friend Derrick Gray, 23, told the Sun from B.C. yesterday.

"He said he was under investigation by the prison," for treatment of an inmate, he added. "I was shocked when I heard about (the arrest)."

Johnson wrote a letter to the Sun just before his arrest, staing he'd seen Baxter the night she died.

The letter arrived at the newspaper Monday and was turned over to the police.

"He had two letters -- one that he sent you and one mailed to his parents," said Gray.

Ivan and Pat Johnson, and daughter Christine, 19, hadn't received the letter yesterday.

"The RCMP suggested that we not read i, because it's too graphic," said Pat. "But Dan said we should."

Johnson -- an avid weightlifter -- used his 6-foot-3 frame to advantage as a high school football, rugby and hockey player. Friends nicknamed him "Gentle Ben".

On learning of his planned return, Gray made Johnson a groomsman for his wedding set for April 10.

Det.-Sgt. Tony Warr said he and eight investigators have worked "steadily" since Baxter was reported missing last month, but haven't found her body.

Police reportedly searched a Pickering dump yesterday, but found no clues.

Tip Sparks Body Hunt
  Metro homicide investigators probing the murder of a downtown call girl will search for her body in a secluded spot outside the city.

Det. Jim MeDermott would not confirm the location, but said a team of officers will examine the spot today.

He said investigators received information which led them to the location.

A 23-year-old jail guard, a client of call girl Grayce Elizabeth Baxter, was arrested last Friday and charged with first-degree murder in her death.

Baxter, 26, was last seen Dec. 8.

Her 1989 BMW was found two days later in the Gerrard Square shopping mall parking lot.

Patrick Daniel Johnson, of Wynford Heights Cres., is charged with first-degree murder.

Missing Hooker - Search may turn to Dump
  Murder investigators may search Pickering's dump for the body of transsexual hooker Grayce Baxter.

The 26-year-old dominatrix specialist vanished Dec. 8 after being paged to service a customer.

Part-time jail guard Dan Johnson, 23, is charged with her first-degree murder.

Det.-Sgt. Tony Warr said detectives surveyed Brock West Landfill site, at Brock Rd. and Concession 3, on Tuesday.

"They have pretty good records of what's been dumped and where," he said. "Each day they dump in a different section."

Investigators are still questioning friends and colleagues of Johnson, arrested last Saturday.

Theresa Williams, 23, who dated Johnson for about seven months, said she learned of the arrest when police arrived at her home.

"I had seen him on Dec. 11 and everything seemed normal," she said yesterday. "We'd broken up but still saw each other."

She said she also visited Johnson for 20 minutes on Boxing Day but "he seemed angry.

"Then he called the night before his arrest, and left a message saying he was going to B.C. in a couple of days, that I should ... call him," she added.

Johnson told friends and family last week that he was returning to his hometown of Abbotsford, B.C.

Prior to his arrest, he wrote a letter to the Sun, in which he described himself as a "big, tough weightlifter ... womanizer ... loudmouth and joker."

He also claimed to have seen a drunk "Gracie" the day she disappeared.

Dump Searched for Murder Victim
  Metro police yesterday began excavating the Pickering garbage dump, searching for Grayce Elizabeth Baxter's body.

A bulldozer and a claw excavator tore the top off a football field-sized section of the Brock West Landfill site.

Homicide Det.-Sgt. Tony Warr said Baxter's body is believed entombed in up to eight tonnes of garbage.

Police believe Baxter, 26, a transsexual callgirl, was put in a North York dumpster shortly after being murdered Dec. 8 -- the day she disappeared -- and the dumpster's contents emptied at the landfill within three days.

Police identification officers and Metro Works employees, using the dumping schedules from the last month, identified the target area yesterday and began digging.

Warr said investigators rented the heavy machinery for a month at $15,000, but added police will continue digging until they find the body.

Patrick Daniel Johnson, 23, of Wynford Heights Cres., North York, was arrested by homicide officers Jan 8.

The Don Jail guard is scheduled to appear in North York court again this morning on a charge of first-degree murder.

Baxter was last seen leaving a friend's Mississauga home at 3 a.m. Jan. 8 after receiving a call on her pager.

Dump Searched for Murder Victim
Grayce Baxter
MESSY HUNT: Police dig 4 1/2 metres (15 feet) into a Pickering dump yesterday in a search for the body of prostitute Grayce Baxter.

Using bulldozers and garden hoes, homicide detectives yesterday began the gruesome task of combing through a Pickering garbage dump for the body of a transsexual prostitute they believe is buried there.

It could take investigators a month to uncover the body of Grayce Baxter, 26, missing since she went to meet a client Dec. 8, said Detective Sergeant Tony Warr.

Patrick Daniel Johnson, 23, of Wynford Heights Cres., has been charged with first-degree murder.

Police said Johnson, who worked part-time as a prison guard at the Toronto (Don) Jail, was a client of Baxter's.

"We have reason to believe Grayce Baxter's body was put in the garbage last month, and through our investigations we've come to the conclusion that the garbage itself has been dumped here," Warr told reporters at a news conference held atop the massive Brock West Landfill Site in Pickering.

The area of the dump being searched -- about 107 metres (350 feet) by 46 metres (150 feet) -- is about the size of a football field. Investigators plan to dig down about 41/2 metres (15 feet), he said.

Baxter, who lived in a posh condominium in the World Trade Centre on Queen's Quay, was believed to have had about 100 regular clients. She disappeared the morning of Dec. 8 after answering a 3 a.m. page from one of the two escort agencies she worked for.

Her black 1989 BMW was found abandoned two days later in parking lot of the Gerrard Square Mall.

Warr said the dump search was the result of new information but he refused to say whether it had come from Johnson, who is in custody. He is scheduled to appear in court today for a bail hearing.

Police sources have told The Star that Baxter's body was chopped up before being put in the dumpster, but Warr refused to comment.

"We're pretty sure of our information. We believe the body is here," Warr said. "That's all I'm prepared to say."

Warr said police believe Baxter's body was put in a dumpster behind a North York apartment, and taken by truck to a Bermundsey Rd. transfer depot where it was compacted. It was then carted off to the Metro-owned dump at Brock Rd. and Concession 3.

Engineers surveyed and marked out the section of the dump they believe was being used on the dates the police have given them.

The area contains approximately 8,000 tonnes of household and industrial garbage, the equivalent of 1,200 tractor-trailer loads, said site engineer, Lou Ciardullo.

Ciardullo said a log book is kept at the site enabling officials to look up what area was in use on a certain date. The log was started to assist in measuring how the garbage settles over a period of time, he said.

Eight police officers and two equipment operators will sift through the garbage in a grid, 6 metres (20 feet) wide and 1.2 metres (4 feet) deep at a time.

"We'll be going over the area scoop by scoop," Warr said.

Once they've covered the entire area, the detail will return to the beginning of the grid and peel off another layer.

The officers doing the search are the ones doing the murder investigation and not assigned to the garbage detail because the are in anybody's doghouse, Warr added.

Baxter was born a male, named Grant, but had a sex change operation seven years ago before starting a career as a call girl.

She used another downtown apartment to conduct her business. The 6-foot-2 blonde, who specialized in dominating her clients, charged between $350 and $400 an hour, police said.

In Memorium

  I can't say that I knew "Candace" well. I met her the year I started "working." We were booked together on a call, screaming down the road in her Beamer, her lining up the next three calls on her cellphone as we pulled up in front of the hotel. It was my first double and she showed me how to work it. After that I ran into her everywhere and we partied often.

Everyone knew Grayce. Street girls remember her from the days when she would work Jarvis with her phone. Many of us worked with her through various agencies and she was a regular in NOW.

"Dom" was her favourite. She preferred to do it exclusively. She loved both men and women. She was well-known and loved in the gay community.

I think for many of us who work she was a bit of an icon; she had the car and the condo, she made big bucks, partied hard and had lots and lots of friends. She was beautiful and she was proud.

Newspaper headlines would like to turn the reality of our lives into breakfast jerk-off sessions, sensational instead of sensitive to the many friends, family and community who were anxious at her disappearance and despaired as the weeks crawled by.

Even for those who work but don't know her she represents fear. When it comes up in conversation you get a knot in your stomach. To be a pro you gotta have confidence -- you can handle it; you can handle yourself; you know it. You're on top. But the truth is that prostitutes have never had the right to work free of prejudice, of hatred, of violence -- and of fear. We're expected to take it with the job.

Well, we're not going to take it with the job. We will not stand by and let you murder our colleagues, our lovers and our friends. It does not come with the territory. And my we never stop fighting until we can all work in safety -- free of violence, of hatred, of prejudice and most of all, of fear.

Rest in peace.

Memories are all that Remain
  They marked the anniversary of her murder with a small memorial in the newspaper.

Your presence we miss, Your memory we treasure/ Loving you always, Forgetting you never...

Words on a newsprint page beneath the photo of a smiling she who was once a he. Just words, signed by a mom and dad and friends, for there is no grave to visit. No cemetery plot for their tears to fall.

A year after her murder, Metro Police have yet to find the body of Grayce Baxter. It's unlikely they ever will.

Patrick Daniel Johnson, a part-time jail guard, is charged with first-degree murder. His trial, set to begin a few days ago, has been postponed until March.

For her parents in Vancouver, this has been a year of torment. It is not only dealing with her death that has been so hard, it is coming to terms with the web of deceit their daughter had woven so carefully. Learning that she wasn't the successful computer executive she had always told them, but was in fact a high-priced call girl. A dominatrix.

"They had no idea," says family friend Maurice Gareau. "We had to tell them when they came here last year after she disappeared. They were taken away by it, but they were more concerned she was missing."

Gareau was the one who reported her disppearance. She vanished last Dec. 8 after being paged by a client. Police believe she was murdered and then thrown in a North York dumpster, but a two-month search of the Pickering garbage dump failed to unearth her body.

And so ended her pursuit of riches in the netherworld of bartered sex.

She had been born Grant Baxter 26 years before, but with the full support of her family became Grace after a sex-change operation in 1985.

About five years ago, she came here from Vancouver, telling her parents that she was going to pursue a career in computers. But from the start, the striking 6-foot-tall blonde was working as an expensive escort.

"Her main goal was to make money." says Gareau, a bartender who befriended Grayce when she first came to Toronto. "She was pretty well tops in her field. She had a beautiful condo filled with expensive antiques. She like taking her mother on trips. They went to Hawaii, England. She just wanted everything. She liked having nice things and her nice things were always expensive.

"But she always said her money would be trouble for her. But had a smart head on her shoulders. She could take care of herself."

Or so her friends thought.

"It's like Russian roulette out there," Gareau says. "I have a friend who just a week ago had a date who tied her up with surgical tubing and had a gun to her head. It's scary."

Now, in Grayce's memory, her friends are banding together to help protect other prostitutes against "bad dates" who lurk in the city. A newsletter called Upfront will publicize a hotline number hookers can call to find out if they're out with a client others have reported as violent or abusive.

The first issue will be dedicated to Grayce.

"If this can even save one person," Gareau says, "at least some good has come from bad."

And last longer than mere words in a newspaper memorial.

Guard gets Life Term for Killing Prostitute
Transsexual's dismembered body buried in Pickering dump

A guilty plea has sent a young man to jail for at least 10 years and closed the file on Grayce Baxter, a transsexual prostitute whose dismembered body remains forever entombed in a Pickering landfill site.

Just as his trial was set to begin on Monday, Patrick Daniel Johnson, 24 of Wynford Heights Cres. pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for at least 10 years.

Mr. Justice David Watt of the Ontario Court, general division, also prohibited Johnson, a part-time guard at the Toronto (Don) Jail, from possessing firearms, ammunition or explosives for the rest of his life.

The victim, 26 at the time of her death in the early-morning hours of Dec. 8, 1992, began life as Grant Baxter but underwent a sex-change operation in 1985.

Grayce Baxter

Grayce Baxter: Call girl was killed by a client after sexual liason.

She came from Clearwater, B.C., where her parents still live.

Not much is known of Baxter's early life and her mother, contacted at her home, refused to talk about her daughter or the man convicted of killing her.

"There's really no comment, I really don't like the stories the media printed. There were a lot of lies," said the woman, who hung up the phone without giving her first name.

In the years following her sex-change operation, Baxter became a high-priced call girl. She used her sturdy 6-foot 1-inch frame to her best advantage as a dominatrix, sources have previously told The Star.

She lived in an elegant two-bedroom waterfront apartment condominium filled with antiques. Court heard she lived the high life, wearing furs and driving a black 1989 BMW.

Baxter was last seen in Mississauga in the early hours of Dec. 8, and her abandoned car was found two days later in the parking lot of Gerrard Square at Pape Ave. and Gerrard St. E.

Rumors that Baxter had a regular list of 100 well-to-do clients created a stir as the investigation progressed.

"There was a lot of speculation. I don't really know if any famous people were in it (client list) or not. I don't really care," said Detective Sergeant Tony Warr, who investigated Baxter's death as a former member of the homicide squad.

Police got a break in the case through a cellular telephone record linking Baxter directly to Johnson, Warr said.

The night before her death, Baxter attended a stag party at a Mississauga hotel and then visited friends nearby, deputy crown attorney Frank Armstrong told the court.

As she was driving east on Highway 401, Baxter spoke to Johnson on her cellular phone around 3 a.m. and arranged to go to his Wynford Heights Crescent apartment.

She arrived there around 3:30 a.m. and agreed to a 45-minute sexual encounter for $200, Armstrong said.

Johnson was having difficulty coming to orgasm and became angry when Baxter said his time was up, court heard.

A struggle ensued and Johnson choked Baxter to death.

He then dismembered the body into several parts with a hacksaw, and wrapped them up with some personal effects in a number of garbage bags.

He disposed of them in a dumpster at the rear of building.

Eleven days later, Johnson pawned a diamond ring and Rolex watch for $1,650, it was learned.

Armed with the telephone record of the call, police approached Johnson on Jan. 7, 1993 Armstrong said in an agreed statement of facts.

Johnson agreed to undergo a polygraph examination the next day but when police arrived at his apartment, they found him with a number of self-inflicted, non-life-threatening injuries to his wrists, ankle and neck.

"You might as well take me in right now. You know I did it. It's been a living hell for a month. I didn't mean to do it. It was just an accident. It just went too far," Johnson said in a statement to police.

By tracing garbage disposal records, police determined Baxter's body was taken to Brock Road landfill site in Pickering. But eight weeks of searching failed to turn up any remains.


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