Teen’s homicide at Ontario motel rattles neighbours: ‘I locked my door last night’

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Teen’s death at Trenton motel rattles neighbours
Those living at a Trenton motel where a teenager was found dead nearly a month ago say they're still unsettled by the homicide. Global's Paul Soucy has the latest on the homicide and the first-degree murder charges laid in the case – Feb 1, 2024

Those living at a Trenton, Ont., motel where a teenager was found dead nearly a month ago say they’re still unsettled by the homicide.

Kiean Stoddard, 17, of Quinte West was found dead in a suite at the Park Motel after police were called for a wellness check Jan. 7.

On Wednesday, OPP said four people have been arrested and charged with first-degree murder: Morgan Belyea, 22, Steven Courneyea, 26, both of Belleville, Ont., Harold Russell, 43 and Aaron Ryan, 27, both of Quinte West.

The arrest of a fifth suspect who had been wanted on a warrant for first-degree murder, Khadijah Courneyea, 29, of Quinte West, was announced Thursday.

Tenants of the Dundas Street East motel where Stoddard’s body was found are mostly permanent residents.

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Many of the Park Motel’s residents are long-term tenants. Paul Soucy/Global News

Rick Smith lives in the suite next to where Stoddard had been staying and says he noticed something unusual in the days before the young man’s body was found — a pizza delivery driver knocking on Stoddard’s door but no one answered.

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“He said he heard some noise in the apartment, but we couldn’t get him to answer the door. Then the next thing, a few days later the cops came by to do the welfare check,” Smith told reporters outside his door Thursday.

“I told my wife it was rather quiet over there for the last four days after the delivery guy was here, and I said I bet you there’s something wrong.

“And then we come to find out there was a dead body over there.”

Smith said the motel, located in a commercial area of Trenton, is usually a quiet place with those living there mostly keeping to themselves.

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Eric Bowman, who has lived at the motel for the last four years, says that quiet was shattered after Stoddard was found dead and police spent the next week investigating at the scene.

Five people have been charged in the homicide. Paul Soucy/Global News

“They had the specialist teams come over here and they parked the two vehicles here with a police SUV — then they were checking the motel and then the creeks,” Bowman said Thursday.

“It kind of shocked everybody, more or less. A 17-year-old, like come on. Hasn’t even had a chance to live.”

An online obituary for Stoddard says the teen had a daughter.

“The opportunity to continue to grow together and make memories are forever lost to Kiean’s adored sister Kieriah, and his treasured baby daughter Reighlynn,” the obit reads.

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Police have released few details about the homicide and haven’t said how Stoddard was killed or if a weapon was used. They also haven’t said what investigators believe motivated the killing.

OPP say their investigation continues, with help from the Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario and the Ontario Forensic Pathology Service.

In the meantime, Smith says living next door to a crime scene has been nerve-wracking.

“I locked my door last night — I made sure it was locked,” he said. “It makes me really nervous.”

— with files from Paul Soucy

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