A nurse in southwestern Ontario faces eight counts of first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of eight elderly patients who were in her care over the past decade. Elizabeth Mae Wettlaufer also faces six new charges: four counts of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated assault.
Here is what we know about the suspect and the investigation so far.
Who is Elizabeth Tracey Mae Wettlaufer?
Wettlaufer, who goes by “Beth,” was a registered nurse with a long history in the health-care field. She was charged following a “multi-jurisdictional” homicide investigation.
According to public records from the College of Nurses of Ontario, Wettlaufer, 49, is “not entitled to practice” in the province anymore.
Wettlaufer spent three years in the Conestoga College nursing program in Kitchener, Ont., more than two decades ago. She registered with College of Nurses of Ontario in 1995 and resigning on Sept. 30 of this year. It is not known if she was forced to resign.
A LinkedIn profile for someone with the name Elizabeth Wettlaufer says the individual worked as a charge nurse at the Caressant Care nursing home from June 2007 to March 2014. The profile also showed a bachelor's degree in counselling from the London Baptist Bible College.
Wettlaufer is divorced and said to have moved into her parent’s home within the last few weeks after returning from drug rehab. In a 2015 Facebook post she wrote “One year ago today I woke up not dead. 365 days clean and sober.”
A neighbour has said she once mentioned being fired from a job for stealing medication and being intoxicated. Those claims have not been confirmed.
In an interview with The Canadian Press, another neighbour, Charlene Puffer, described Wettlaufer as a decent person.
“I knew something was up with all the police coming around here the past few weeks and they came one in all their Hazmat suits,” Puffer said. “It’s terrifying to know someone who supposedly killed that many people lived right near me.”
Puffer said Wettlaufer had told her she liked working as a nurse. To know her even “a bit,” Puffer said, “you would never think she could do something like this.”
Sources said that the investigation into the alleged homicides was triggered by a tip police received from a psychiatric hospital in Toronto. CTV News has learned that officials from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in downtown Toronto alerted police after Wettlaufer provided information to hospital staff.
CTV Kitchener’s Abigail Bimman spoke with Wettlaufer’s parents, Doug and Hazel Parker, on Wednesday. While Hazel Parker declined to comment, Doug Parker said that his daughter is a very kind, smart and compassionate person who is happy to help others. He became emotional when he said that the ordeal has been very trying on his family and especially on his wife.
He added that his family has strong faith and will look to God for guidance to help them through the situation.
Who are the eight alleged murder victims?
The eight victims range in age from 75 to 96. You can see a full list of the victims, with brief biographical details, here.
Seven of them lived at the Caressant Care Nursing and Retirement Home in Woodstock, Ont., a facility with 155 bed long-term care beds and an adjacent 130 bed retirement community.
The eighth person was a patient at the Meadow Park Long Term Care facility in London, Ont., which has 118 long-term beds.
The Ontario Provincial Police say the five women and three men were administered a drug, but did not specify what it was.
Who are the six new alleged victims?
The attempted murder charges are related to Sandra Towler, 77, and Beverly Bertram, 68, as well as two people who have since died: 57-year-old Wayne Hedges and Michael Priddle, 63.
The two subjects of the alleged assault charges have both since died, also: Clotilde Adriano, 87, and 90-year-old Albina deMedeiros.
With files from The Canadian Press
*Note: This story has been updated to reflect the new charges against Elizabeth Mae Wettlaufer and the new victims in this case.