Police testimony reveals mysterious clues in Brockville manslaughter case

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Police officers recalled finding wet footprints near where the victim drowned, as well as a hat and belt left behind – Nov 12, 2019

New testimony from police officers who were first on the scene of Damian Sobieraj’s alleged murder brought up more questions about what exactly happened that evening at Hardy Park last September.

READ MORE: Witness testimony describes Brockville man’s death in teen manslaughter trial

Last week, the Brockville court heard from a handful of youths who say they were with the now-15-year-old girl charged with manslaughter in Sobieraj’s death on the night of Sep. 13, 2018.

Each of the teen witnesses, who cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, recalled Sobieraj approaching the group after some of them began striking a tree with broken branches.

The youths told the court the altercation between the 33-year-old and the teens continued onto the boardwalk near the water in Hardy Park, when the-then 14-year-old accused allegedly pushed Sobieraj into the water and left him to drown.

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His body was found the next day by a police dive team.

On Tuesday, three police officers took the stand to explain the initial moments of the investigation.

Const. Mike Boszormeny testified that he and other officers responded to the park at around 10:30 p.m. after receiving a call from Sobieraj about the fight.

“When we got there, the group began scattering west of the park. So my partner and I split up and I went towards the water,” Boszormeny said.

Const. Jordan Latham, who also testified on Tuesday, told the court he recalled speaking to the accused and a few other youths the night of the alleged murder near the Metro grocery store.

“When we spoke to them, the accused and her brother were breathing heavy, and [were] sweaty,” Latham told the court.
Click to play video 'Brockville police arrest teen in relation to Sobieraj murder' Brockville police arrest teen in relation to Sobieraj murder
Brockville police arrest teen in relation to Sobieraj murder – Oct 31, 2018

When Latham asked if anyone had gone in the water, he said the accused answered neither of them had.

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Boszormeny told the court that he went to the boardwalk and found a dog, which he described as a pug, on its leash alone.

“I took the leash and tied it to a near by park bench on the boardwalk,” Boszormeny told the court.

He then said he went east in the park to talk to two youths who said they didn’t know anything about the fight before returning to the dog and bringing him to his cruiser.

“When I returned to the boardwalk I noticed damp footprints coming from the west ladder.”

“They looked older, like some came out of the water recently,” Boszormeny said.

Latham and another officer present on Tuesday, Const. Adam McNish, said they took photos of the footprints, but could not say exactly what time the photos were taken.

When pressed, the officers say they might have taken photos between 11:30 p.m. on Sep. 13 and 2:30 a.m. on Sep. 14.

READ MORE: ‘We didn’t know what was going on’: Brockville manslaughter trial witness

Boszormeny said he also found an Ottawa Senators hat near the boardwalk, but the hat was picked up by a fox, which ran away with it.

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McNish said he found a belt left by a nearby rock that seemed to be wet, as if someone had been sitting on it after going into the water.

At around 3:30 a.m. the next morning, McNish says he and other officers went to the home of the accused youth and arrested her.

Nevertheless, the youth was only officially charged several weeks later, in late October 2018, after weeks of investigation.

More witness testimonies will be heard Wednesday morning.