CAMH staff alerted police about former nurse charged with Woodstock killings
Elizabeth Tracy Mae Wettlaufer, 49, charged in deaths between August 2007 and August 2014
This article was written by Andrea Janus, CBC News, on Oct 26, 2016
Staff at Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) alerted police about information provided by the former nurse charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of eight nursing-home patients in southwestern Ontario, a source has confirmed to CBC News.
On Tuesday, police in Woodstock, Ont., announced that Elizabeth Tracy Mae Wettlaufer, 49, has been charged in connection with the deaths that occurred between August 2007 and August 2014. The patients were between 75 and 96 years old.
Police would not say exactly how they died, except that seven of them received a fatal dose of a drug.
A source with knowledge of the investigation told CBC News on Wednesday that CAMH phoned Toronto police in September about information Wettlaufer provided about the deaths of patients.
Because the allegations did not involve any Toronto residents, the force alerted other police agencies.
A spokesperson for CAMH declined to comment early Wednesday afternoon.
Wettlaufer worked for Caressant Care Nursing and Retirement Homes, which operates six facilities in southwestern Ontario. Seven residents died at the company’s nursing home in Woodstock, Ont., a small community of about 37,000 residents 140 kilometres southwest of Toronto.
Wettlaufer also worked at the Meadow Park home in London, Ont., which is where the eighth resident died.
Caressant Care said Tuesday that Wettlaufer left the company two and a half years ago and that the company is “co-operating fully with police.”
Meadow Park said Wettlaufer left its employment two years ago and also confirmed that it is co-operating with the police probe.
Police identified the victims from the Woodstock home as:
- James Silcox, 84, who died Aug. 17, 2007.
- Maurice Granat, 84, who died Dec. 23, 2007.
- Gladys Millard, 87, who died Oct. 14, 2011.
- Helen Matheson, 95, who died Oct. 27, 2011.
- Mary Zurawinski, 96, who died Nov. 7, 2011.
- Helen Young, 90, who died July 14, 2013.
- Maureen Pickering, 79, who died March 28, 2014.
The victim from Meadow Park was identified as:
- Arpad Horvath, 75, who died Aug. 31, 2014.
According to her professional profile at the College of Nurses of Ontario website, Wettlaufer first registered as a nurse on June 8, 1995. She resigned on Sept. 30, 2016, one day after the OPP said their investigation began.
Wettlaufer is under investigation by the College and no longer entitled to practise, the governing body for nurses, practical nurses and nurse practitioners confirmed Tuesday.
Reporting a death
It is unclear who from CAMH first contacted police.
However, under the provincial Coroners Act, there are a number of scenarios in which every citizen must notify a coroner or police of the facts they know surrounding a death. These scenarios include when a death has occurred as a result of violence, misadventure, negligence, misconduct or malpractice, according to the legislation.
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