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Former colleague says she walked in on Wettlaufer telling resident ‘it was okay to let go’

Elizabeth Wettlaufer is escorted by police from the courthouse in Woodstock, Ont, Monday, June 26, 2017. Dave Chidley / The Canadian Press

A former colleague of Elizabeth Wettlaufer testified she walked in on the convicted serial killer promoting death to a resident at Caressant Care in Woodstock.

Robyn Laycock was the first to take the stand during Monday’s hearing for the inquiry into long-term care homes that is looking to determine how Wettlaufer’s crimes went undetected.

A registered practical nurse, Laycock worked with Wettlaufer at Caressant Care in Woodstock from 2010 to 2013. She said that Wettlaufer would often try to “joke around” with everyone and befriend those around her.

“I didn’t think it was very professional,” said Laycock. “She was the charge nurse; she was essentially the boss on shift.”

During their time working together, Laycock would refer to Wettlaufer as “the angel of death.” She said this nickname came from a conversation she overheard Wettlaufer having with a resident in palliative care.

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“I walked in on her standing at resident’s bedside… telling them that ‘it was okay to let go’.”

Laycock added that Wettlaufer would tell residents that “their families would understand” and that “their body was tired, their journey is done.”

READ MORE: Elizabeth Wettlaufer faced discipline at care home, inquiry hears

Laycock described another instance where Wettlaufer administered a dosage of hydromorphone to a resident, despite Laycock informing her that the resident did not need the medication.

In her affidavit, Laycock mentioned she had looked through the death registry for residents at Caressant Care and noticed an unusual spike in deaths for a particular month. Laycock said she wondered if there was an increase in residents dying on Wettlaufer’s shifts due to the previous experiences she had with her.

However, Laycock added that she had no proof that the increased deaths were connected to Wettlaufer. As a result, Laycock stopped pursuing her suspcisions.

READ MORE: ‘I don’t really recall Ms. Wettlaufer,’ testified former Meadow Park administrator

Another former colleague of Wettlaufer said it was “so hard to believe that she was capable of doing that,” when she learned of the convicted serial killer’s crimes.

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Dianne Beauregard is a registered nurse who worked with Wettlaufer at Telfer Place in Paris, Ont. in 2015.

Wettlaufer was sent to Telfer Place through a temp agency for nurses that helped fill staff shortages at the retirement home.

Beauregard testified that Wettlaufer would have only received an eight-hour orientation before assuming the full responsibilities of a registered nurse, which would involve having access to all medication at Telfer Place.

During that year, Beauregard found diabetic resident, Sandra Towler, as she was crashing from low blood sugar. Wettlaufer worked the shift prior.

“I thought it could’ve been an infection,” said Beauregard, adding that in hindsight it should have raised concerns that Towler had become hypoglycemic despite not being prescribed insulin at the time.

Wettlaufer has since been convicted of attempting to murder Towler with insulin injections around the same time that Beauregard was describing.

READ MORE: Administration took 6 days to discover drugs went missing on Wettlaufer’s last day of work, inquiry hears

The public inquiry into long-term care homes stretched into its fourth week on Monday.

On June 26 of last year, Wettlaufer was sentenced to life in prison with no eligibility for parole for 25 years for eight counts of first-degree murder, four counts of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated assault.

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