November 03, 2010

An Anonymous lead on the story behind the Haines Junction Muffin.

I received an anonymous comment on yesterday's entry about "Canada's Most Ironic Roadside Attraction", the Haines Junction Village Monument (a.k.a. "The Muffin" or the "Mammal Muffin").

Anonymous asked if I "know the Muffin Man? Not the one from Drury Lane, but this one?"

Anonymous then posted a link to an RCMP "Wanted for First Degree Murder" posting for Ronald Jeffrey Bax.

I started to wonder, what was the connection between Ronald Jeffrey Bax and the Haines Junction Muffin?

I started with the Internet, but found no connection between Bax and the Muffin. I looked online for anything I could find about the Muffin's origins, but had no luck.

Deeper investigation was required. I needed to hit the streets and find out what the people had to say. This is what I learned...

The Muffin was commissioned over 25 years ago as part of a community beautification initiative. Featured on postcards and in tens of thousands of Alaska Highway photographic mementoes, the Muffin image says, "Woohoo! We made it as far as Haines Junction!" In a sense, the Muffin has put Haines Junction on the map.  (Some diligent readers have noted that the mountaineer on the Muffin differs from the Muffin mountaineer on the postcards.  The Muffin received some repairs and restoration in recent years.  The postcards depict the older version of the Muffin.)

The base of the Muffin was created by a crew of carpenters, but Chuck Buchanan (Yukon artist, sculptor, and taxidermist ) and Ronald Bax worked together to make the top of the muffin.

"Ronald Bax was known as a sculptor, taxidermist (the animals on top of the muffin are made with the same foam used in taxidermy), outdoorsman and an expert with guns. Now he's known as a suspected killer. After a long history of marital discord and allegations of spousal abuse, Ronald's wife, Lynn, sought refuge in a shelter for battered women on March 1, 1992. Her only visitor that night was her best friend, Krystal Senyk. Theirs was a close friendship that sources say Bax deeply resented. When Krystal returned to her home at around 11 p.m. someone was lying in wait for her. A single shot from close range left Krystal dead in the doorway of her own home. Ronald Bax vanished immediately and is the only known suspect in the murder."1

Some say that Bax went into the mountains and killed himself where nobody could find him. Others have said that he's living in the US, possibly around his family in Michigan. Others have rumoured that he's living and hiding in the base of the Muffin. Wherever he is, even a spot on Unsolved Mysteries  couldn't find him.

Thanks to Anonymous for the lead.   It would appear that there's a lot more to the Muffin than meets the eye!

1Source: RCMP

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