September 16, 2011 10:24 am

Alta Mounties arrest suspected killer in makeshift campsite ‘off beaten track’


WINNIPEG – Mounties say a man sought in the slaying of Manitoba woman had no intention of turning himself in before he was arrested at a makeshift campsite in Alberta.

Russell McDiarmid was arrested around dinnertime Thursday night just outside of Canmore, Alta. A Canada-wide warrant had been issued for the 51-year-old in the death of Nancy Swenty of Fisher Branch, Man.

Cpl. Miles Hiebert said an officer on patrol in a relatively remote area spotted the stolen truck McDiarmid was believed to be driving. The emergency response team was called and closed in on McDiarmid.

Officers found him several kilometres from the truck, with a tent and supplies, Hiebert said.

“He was surreptitiously camping and off the beaten track,” Hiebert said. “There is nothing to indicate that he had any intention of turning himself in.”

Although police had warned McDiarmid could be armed and dangerous, Hiebert said no weapons were found.

McDiarmid was arrested without incident and has since been brought back to Winnipeg, Hiebert said. Despite the fact that McDiarmid was last spotted at a Saskatoon hospital, Hiebert said he appeared to be in good health.

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The RCMP had come under fire for releasing McDiarmid after interviewing him shortly after Swenty’s disappearance. But Hiebert said police had to work within the law.

“Investigations like this are fluid and dynamic. There is not always ground to make an arrest,” he said. “But in the drop of a hat, information can come forth and immediately you can have grounds to make an arrest. As soon as we had those grounds, we immediately obtained a warrant for his arrest and continued the search.”

Hiebert wouldn’t say what evidence led to the second-degree murder charges, nor would he say how 33-year-old Swenty died.

“My understanding is that there was no relationship between the two other than they were acquainted,” Hiebert said.

Swenty’s body was found near Poplarfield, Man., at the end of August – a month after she was reported missing.

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