A TV show’s theme song used to freak me out when I was a kid.
There, I said it. I finally admit to it as a full-blown adult.
What TV show, you ask?
That would be ‘Unsolved Mysteries’, the long-running true crime series that explored cases of wanted criminals, terrifying murders, missing persons, and the strange and bizarre wonders of the world.
The show was hosted by the late Robert Stack, a man with one of the most distinctive voices in Hollywood history; the kind that could make a reading of the phone book sound foreboding, chilling, and yes, mysterious.
As a kid, I remember the show airing on Friday nights on CFQC, or “channel 8” on our rabbit-eared TV in the Ruttle household. Yes, I’m old enough to be from the generation that still used rabbit ears to get a TV signal – no cable TV in our house until about 1997, and satellite TV was another few years down the road.
My family and I sat around and watched the show every week, or perhaps it was a case of my brothers and I were not going to watch the show unless Mom and Dad were in the living room. Yeah, now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure we weren’t going to watch it unless Jack and Lynda were present. Hey, what can I say, when you’re that young you have a view of the world where your growing mind is wearing the proverbial rose-colored glasses, so to be exposed to a world where people are killing each other and getting away with it, or people have been kidnapped and missing for years, or there are creatures like Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster out there, it can be jarring and scary to a kid from a very small town.
But while the theme song was unnerving and the stories sometimes a little frightening, ‘Unsolved Mysteries’ became a staple of my childhood, and those Friday nights spent around a TV screen with my family are memories I’ll have forever. To this day, if I hear that theme song, the hairs on my arm come close to standing on end.
You can imagine my jubilance when I discovered that the entire series is available for viewing on a free streaming application, which I promptly downloaded a few weeks ago. I’m already a few seasons in, with many more to go. Thank you, Tubi TV!
Not only that, but streaming giant Netflix announced a while back that they’ve decided to move forward on a revival of ‘Unsolved Mysteries’, resurrecting the show and presenting new mysteries to entertain viewers and, hopefully, terrify them at the same time.
With that in mind, it got me thinking while I was out on a drive the other day about what kind of mysteries there are in our own backyard here in Saskatchewan. What about the strange, weird, bizarre and outright scary cases that have gone unsolved right here?
If the new Netflix version of the show is looking for material, I’d say this province has more than its fair share, including one that hits a little close to home in the regional area.
Sheree Fertuck was a 51-year old mother of three and grandmother of one who’d just had lunch with her family at their farmhouse east of Kenaston on December 7, 2015. She was seen leaving the farm in her semi truck, heading out to haul a load of gravel.
She hasn’t been seen since.
Sheree’s truck was found the next day, abandoned at the nearby gravel pit. Inside the truck were Sheree’s coat, keys, and cell phone.
Exhaustive and comprehensive searches were carried out, with dedicated volunteers combing the Kenaston and surrounding area seemingly inside and out. Candlelight vigils were held, a community came together to comfort Fertuck’s family, but ultimately there was one undying question that was on the forefront of everyone’s minds – just what the heck happened to this woman, who seemed to disappear into thin air in the vast and open Saskatchewan landscape?
To date, there have been no concrete leads on what happened to Sheree. A few months after her disappearance, the police said they were calling the case a homicide investigation, reaching the conclusion after lengthy searches and analysis of the evidence. As well, there had been no banking or cell phone activity in her name, nor has anyone tried to use her passport.
Police believed that Sheree’s estranged husband Gregory Fertuck had murdered her, but the man’s lawyer protested his innocence. To date, no formal charges or arrests have been made.
It’s been almost three and a half years since a blue-collar, truck-driving mother of three went missing, and I can only imagine the frustration and sheer heartbreak that is being suffered by Sheree’s family to this day.
It’s also the exact kind of mystery that a show like ‘Unsolved Mysteries’ could really put a giant spotlight on. In its heyday, the show and its dedicated viewers were responsible for bringing a massive number of criminals to justice and helping to bring some form of closure to bizarre, open-ended cases that have more questions than answers, such as the case of Sheree Fertuck.
Who knows? Maybe this case or a similar one will find its way to the producers, and as Robert Stack used to say, “Perhaps you can help solve a mystery.”
For this week, that’s been the Ruttle Report.