Woodstock nurse facing 8 first degree murder charges
By: Chris Besik
An Ontario registered nurse is being charged with first degree murder in connection with deaths at Woodstock and London nursing homes.
“Last evening, 49 year old Elizabeth Tracy Mae Wettlaufer was arrested and charged with 8 counts of first degree murder,” said Woodstock police Chief William Renton during a press conference on Tuesday.
“The accused has appeared in the Ontario Court of Justice in Woodstock this morning and is being remanded into custody.”
— CTV Toronto (@CTVToronto) October 25, 2016
The 49-year-old worked in two different long term care facilities one in London, Ont., and one in Woodstock. Police alleged that she administered an unknown drug to all of the deceased patients.
“The victims were administered a drug. We are not in a position at this time to comment further on the specifics of the drug,” said OPP Criminal Investigation Branch Det.-Supt. Dave Truax during the press conference.
“There are obviously a number of drugs that are stored and available in long-term care facilities. Subsequent to our investigation, part of the evidence for this particular matter, all I’m able to say at this time was that a drug was administered,” said Truax.
All of the alleged victims were identified as elderly citizens residing in Woodstock. The murders occurred between 2007-2014.
Seven alleged victims were residents of the Caressant Care facility and one victim at the Meadow Park nursing home in London, Ont.
Earlier Tuesday police held a media conference to discuss further details of the multi-jurisdiction investigation.
“To the families of all the victims we all extend our heartfelt condolences during this difficult time. It is our hope that you may find some comfort in knowing that charges have been laid and an individual is in front of the courts,” London Police Det.-Supt. William Merrylees told reporters.
— Mark Douglas (@Douglas680NEWS) October 25, 2016
Caressant Care Nursing and Retirement Homes Ltd. released a statement on Monday.
They said the criminal investigation focused on, “the actions of a former staff member, a registered nurse,” who left the care center about two and a half years ago. The facility says they are fully co-operating with police.
The Nursing home also wrote, “Our highest priority is to continue to provide for the physical, social and spiritual needs of our residents, and that remains our focus.”
The seven deaths in Woodstock come at a time when wounds in the same community are still healing from the Torri Stafford murder case.
“Its literally like 50-100 feet away from the elementary school where Tori Stafford was abducted,” said Adam Haga a reporter for 570News who was at the press conference.
Woodstock Police Chief William Renton also agrees that this is very difficult for a community to have to endure these incidents, however he believes the community will rally and work together and get through it together.
“We are a resilient town,” said Renton at the press conference which included Woodstock Police, London Police and the Ontario Provincial Police.
The death investigation stretches over several southwestern Ontario communities.
Caressant Care has a total of 15 Nursing homes and 10 retirement homes across Ontario.
Former nurse at Caressant Care home in Woodstock, Ont. subject of police multi-jurisdiction death investigation https://t.co/QUcWy2vSc4
— Global News Toronto (@globalnewsto) October 25, 2016