Police have exhumed the bodies of two of the alleged victims in the case of an Ontario nurse charged with killing eight nursing home residents.
Elizabeth Tracey Mae Wettlaufer, 49, was charged with eight counts of first-degree murder on Oct. 25 after the OPP said a drug was administered to patients at two nursing homes in Woodstock and London, Ont. between 2007 and 2014.
Ontario Provincial Police and London police exhumed the body of Arpad Horvath, Tuesday morning, from London’s St. Peter’s Cemetery in the Barker Street and Huron Street area. Horvath died at the age of 75 on Aug. 31, 2014.
The remains of Helen Matheson, who died at the age of 95 in Woodstock, Ont. on Oct. 27, 2011, were also exhumed Tuesday by investigators from the Innerkip Cemetery in Innerkip, Ont.
“It’s very hard. My mom today couldn’t show up at the exhumation. I did and of course my brother did and the rest of the police investigators and everybody else but it’s just like going through another funeral,” Susan Horvath, the daughter of Arpad Horvath, told AM980’s The Craig Needles Show Tuesday.
“I started crying again and it’s just like going through the funeral all over again. Constantly. Non-stop. It never ends. It’s just taking its toll on me.”
Wettlaufer is accused in seven deaths at the Caressant Care Long Term Care Home in Woodstock from 2007 to 2014 and an eighth death, Arpad Horvath’s, at Meadow Park in London in 2014.
Susan Horvath said she had “no hesitation” when police requested her father’s body be exhumed.
“I was sad in one way but very happy in the next because if we’re helping this investigation than that’s the best thing that we can do,” she said.
“Maybe my father’s holding the answer to a lot because a lot of these people did not get buried, they got cremated. So I’m hoping we can help the investigation.”
Police laid six new charges against Wettlaufer on Jan. 13, including four charges of attempted murder linked to new victims at the Caressant Care Home in Woodstock, Ont. The other two charges – for aggravated assault – involve patients from Telfer Place in Brant County and a private residence in Oxford County.
“We’re not in a position to speak about any other victims at this time and it would be inappropriate to speculate on any future aspects of the investigation,” Const. Sandasha Bough said. “I can tell you that these two bodies will be examined by forensic experts to assist with the investigation.”
OPP Sgt. David Rektor said the investigation is ongoing but police can’t speculate on the possibility of more exhumations in the future. He added the bodies were being exhumed in relation to the investigation “in its entirety” but declined to comment further.
“It was quite the process but I was talking with my mom through the whole thing on the phone just to give her a play by play because she couldn’t make it out there because that would have just been traumatizing,” Susan Horvath said, adding that she hoped the family of Helen Matheson was doing their best to cope.
“I’m hoping that they also try to collect themselves, we’ve got a long road ahead here. It’s a broken road.”
Wettlaufer was licensed as a nurse with the Ontario College of Nurses on Aug. 11, 1995, according to documents on the organization’s website, and resigned on Sept. 30, 2016 — the day after police launched their investigation.
According to a peace bond dated Oct. 6 obtained from court, Wettlaufer was placed under several conditions before entering into police custody that prevented her from possessing or consuming alcohol and possessing insulin or drugs other than over-the-counter medications or those prescribed by a physician.
Wettlaufer was also barred from providing caregiver services as well as attending long-term care facilities and hospitals.
The names of the alleged victims, their ages, and the dates of their deaths are as follows:
- James Silcox, 84, Caressant Care – Woodstock, Aug. 17, 2007
- Maurice Granat, 84, Caressant Care – Woodstock, Dec. 23, 2007
- Gladys Millard 87, Caressant Care – Woodstock, Oct. 14, 2011
- Helen Matheson, 95, Caressant Care – Woodstock, Oct. 27, 2011
- Mary Zurawinski, 96, Caressant Care – Woodstock, Nov. 7, 2011
- Helen Young,90, Caressant Care – Woodstock, July 14, 2013
- Maureen Pickering,79, Caressant Care – Woodstock, March 28, 2014
- Arpad Horvath, 75, Meadow Park – London, Aug. 31, 2014
The names of the additional victims identified Jan. 13, their ages, and the dates of the alleged offences committed are as follows:
- Coltilde Adriano, 87, Caressant Care – Aggravated Assault – Woodstock, June-Dec., 2007 (deceased)
- Albina Demedeiros, 90, Caressant Care – Aggravated Assault – Woodstock, June-Dec., 2007 (deceased)
- Wayne Hedges, 57, Caressant Care – Attempted Murder – Woodstock, Sept.-Dec., 2008 (deceased)
- Michael Priddle, 63, Caressant Care – Attempted Murder – Woodstock, Jan., 2008-Dec., 2009 (deceased)
- Sandra Towler, 77, Telfer Place – Attempted Murder – Brant County, Sept., 2015
- Beverly Bertram, 68, Private Residence – Attempted Murder – Oxford County, Aug., 2016
With files from David Shum