Toronto police have released security images of a man who investigators are trying to identify in connection with the death of missing 22-year-old Tess Richey, after her body was found in Toronto in late November.
Police said the woman was located by the victim’s mother and a friend on Wednesday, Nov. 29, in a stairwell outside an abandoned building near Church and Wellesley streets, four days after she disappeared.
Richey was in the company of an unknown male when her friend departed the area of Wellesley Street and Dundonald Street between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m, according to police.
The male is described as white, approximately 5’7” to 6’ tall, with a slim build and light-coloured short hair. Police have released security images of the unknown male.
Global News received confirmation from a family member of Richey that it was her mother that found her body.
Police said a post-mortem exam shows she died from “neck compression,” but wouldn’t elaborate more on the nature of the injuries.
Authorities had initially said Richey’s body had no visible signs of trauma and that they didn’t believe the death was suspicious.
Police spokesperson David Hopkinson told Global News they had initially thought it was an accident.
Toronto police spokesman Mark Pugash told Global News last Monday that the professional standards unit is looking into “the initial stages” of the investigation, specifically when it was a missing persons case.
“We have our own concerns and we’re acting on those concerns,” Pugash said. “I don’t want to discuss what those might be, but we do have concerns that we are looking at.”
He added there is no evidence to suggest that the case wasn’t taken seriously initially.
“I’ve spoken to Tess’ family. I’ve met her mother and her sister. Trust me, I get how upset she is and how she feels,” Det. Sgt. Graham Gibson said Friday.
“It was her friend who came down with her from North Bay, due to their concerns, that came down to assist the police in the search. I only became involved in this case on Dec. 1. But I do know officers were in the area, and were checking the area. I do know officers had spoken to people that had met Tess that night and were directed there by the family.”
“In this case, her death wasn’t determined to be a homicide until Dec. 1 when I spoke to the pathologist, so that’s when the homicide investigation commences,” Gibson said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-7400 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477).
—With files from David Shum