WATCH ABOVE: The man accused in the drunk-driving death of a toddler in 2013 is speaking out after he was abducted and beaten this week. Eric Szeto reports.
EDMONTON — Richard Suter says he believes revenge is the only motive that could explain the vicious abduction and beating he suffered.
Suter, 64, says his family has been targeted since he was charged with the alleged drunk-driving death of a two-year-old boy in 2013. His wife was assaulted in a parking lot in August 2013.
“It’s got to be some kind of vengeance or something, if it had something to do with the accident,” Suter said Saturday. “There’s no intimidation purpose. I’m the one that’s standing trial so who would intimidate me? I don’t know; that doesn’t make sense. … I have no reason to believe that I’ve done anything else.”
Suter said he was at home with his wife Thursday night when he heard the doorbell ring several times, followed by loud bangs on the door.
Dressed in only a bathrobe, socks and shoes, Suter opened the door to three men he thought were police officers.
“I said, ‘What is this about?’ and they said, ‘You know what it’s about,’ ” Suter told Global News. “I said, ‘No, I don’t know what it’s about,’ and that’s when they handcuffed me.”
Suter’s lawyer, Dino Bottos, said Friday the man’s wife called 911.
Suter said the men, whose faces were covered, took him outside to a small truck. He was placed inside between two of them while the third followed in another vehicle.
“They put a hoodie over my head like a sack or something. Within three or four minutes of leaving here, they took the sack off, making me close my eyes and then they put a blindfold over me.”
Suter believes he was in the truck for about 20 minutes when it hit a rough, unpaved road and came to a stop.
“I was told to get out of the car and kneel in the snowbank that was beside the car,” he recalled. “They freed one of my hands, which I guess was my left hand, and cut my left thumb off with — I think it was a pair of pruning shears.
“It was very painful. They tried to do it twice and I think the first time, I don’t know if it was a different implement, but it didn’t work, so it was just kind of grinding away. And then they had another implement which I assumed were shears because it cut fairly – I wouldn’t say easily; it hurt like hell – but it was done fairly quickly.”
Then the men beat him, Suter said.
“I really couldn’t believe what was going on. It was horrifying. What is this, the movies?”
Suter said he must have passed out because the next thing he remembers is waking up in a field.
A witness told Global News that Suter flagged down his car in the area of 170 Street and Ellerslie Road about 12:20 a.m. Friday.
“He immediately said, ‘I need help. I don’t know where I am and I’m missing my thumb,’ ” said the witness, who doesn’t want to be identified.
Suter is awaiting an October trial on charges of impaired driving causing death and three counts of impaired driving causing bodily harm.
In May 2013, two-year-old Geo Mounsef died after being pinned to a wall when Suter’s vehicle crashed through the patio at Ric’s Grill in Terwillegar, near 142 Street and 23 Avenue. Police allege Suter was stopped outside the restaurant when he shifted into drive instead of reverse.
The boy’s parents were also injured but his five-month-old brother was unharmed.
Suter sat in his home Saturday with cuts, scrapes and bruises to the left side of his face. His left eye appeared swollen and bloodshot. He said there wasn’t much conversation during his abduction, but the men continued to say “you know what it’s about. You know what it’s about.”
Suter said while the ordeal was horrifying, he tried to remain calm.
“I guess I was sort of calm because I know if I was agitated or making a fuss or whatever I would have gotten clobbered. So I just did what they said.”
The Edmonton Police Service has confirmed it is investigating an alleged abduction in southwest Edmonton late Friday night. Police said a man was taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
With files from Eric Szeto, Global News.