Fifty years later, Saskatoon police seek info in unsolved triple homicide

Liam Richards/Saskatoon StarPhoenix. Dorothy Cathcart, Frank Harder and William Graham were found shot in a 20th Street home on May 30, 1974. The 50-year-old case remains unsolved.

Bre McAdam, Saskatoon StarPhoenix

When the decomposing bodies of Dorothy Cathcart, Frank Harder and William Graham were found in a Meadowgreen neighbourhood home approximately 20 days after they’d been shot, police initially thought it was a murder-suicide, based on evidence found at the scene.

The StarPhoenix reported that Cathcart, 47, Harder, 58, and Graham, 41, lived at 2709 20th Street West, where they were found shot in the head in two separate bedrooms on May 30, 1974.

A revolver and casing were found on top of Cathcart’s body, the reports state. The gruesome discovery was made by a detective working on a tip from an unidentified caller who said they couldn’t get into the house.

The news articles, published days after the bodies were found, said police had not entirely ruled out the possibility that it was a triple murder.

“Investigation later confirmed all three of the deceased to be the victims of homicide,” Saskatoon police said in a news release on Thursday.

They’re asking for people to come forward with information about the cold case on its 50th anniversary.

Investigators at the time discovered the back door had been forced open and the thermostat turned to the highest setting, the Thursday release said.

“The first police officers on the scene were forced to don oxygen masks before entering the house because of the stench of the decomposed bodies,” the StarPhoenix reported on June 1, 1974.

It wasn’t the first time a crime had taken place at the home, involving Cathcart, Harder and a man named James Dlugos.

The StarPhoenix reported that about five months before the triple homicide, Dlugos, then 35, was accused of stabbing Harder while they both lived at the home on Dec. 28, 1973.

Months after Cathcart and Harder were found dead, a Saskatoon jury acquitted Dlugos of attempted murder, but found him guilty of the lesser offence of “assault with intent to wound.”

The jury heard that Dlugos, Harder and Cathcart were drinking at the home when Dlugos and Harder got into an argument.

Harder and Cathcart’s police statements were read out in court during the trial. Harder said he ran into the basement after Dlugos threatened him with a chair, and felt someone stab him in the dark.

Cathcart said she heard the two men talking in the basement and then the sound of glass breaking. The defence suggested to the jury that Cathcart had stabbed Harder and was using Dlugos as a scapegoat.

Anyone with information about the historical homicides of Cathcart, Harder and Graham is asked to call police directly at 306-975-8300 or submit an anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.