Criminal profiles can help generate useful tips for homicide investigators working tough cases like the unsolved murder of Ontario nurse Sonia Varaschin, says a retired RCMP member.

Former RCMP criminal profiler Glenn Woods told CTV's Canada AM that police create criminal profiles to give themselves a better picture of a killer and to describe that killer to the public.

"The profiles aren't just for the police. We can't solve these things without the help and assistance of the public," Woods said during an interview from Ottawa on Friday morning.

"So, if we provide as much information as we can about the offender, that's when tips come in for police to follow up and investigate."

Provincial police announced Thursday that they had consulted with criminal profilers in their still-active investigation into the slaying of Varaschin, a 42-year-old nurse who was killed in her Orangeville, Ont., home in late August.

Orangeville is a town of nearly 28,000 that is located about 80 kilometres northwest of Toronto. Varaschin lived in a townhouse near the local highway that leads into the town.

Her presumed killer was described Thursday by OPP Det.-Insp. Mark Pritchard as a man who was familiar with the area where her body was found, about 12 kilometres outside of Orangeville.

Investigators have also concluded that this unidentified assailant would likely have displayed unusual behaviour after killing Varaschin.

Pritchard told reporters that the killer may have been away from work or school and been irritable or angry during this time period. He may also have been using more drugs and alcohol than usual and may have stayed away from friends and family to avoid detection. This same person may also have moved residences after the crime.

"Someone familiar with the killer may recognize these traits and we are appealing to that individual -- or these people -- to come forward and call the police immediately," he said.

Police have previously revealed that Varaschin's killer wore a distinct type of boot that is only sold at Mark's Work Wearhouse.

Woods said specific pieces of information like this "can help jog the minds of people who may be an acquaintance of this individual and cause them to come forward."