Canadian nurse Elizabeth Tracey Mae Wettlaufer was charged with first-degree murder Tuesday for allegedly killing eight elderly nursing home patients with a fatal drug dosage.
Ontario Provincial Police said that she is accused of killing five women and three men at two private facilities of Woodstock and London, Ontario, over a period of seven years between 2007 to 2014.
Wettlaufer, 49, appeared in Ontario Court of Justice in the city of Woodstock where she was taken into custody.
The investigation began in September when an undisclosed source informed the police of suspicious activities. The investigation is being treated as a multiple homicide, where eight victims have been identified, the chief declined commenting about the motive of the killings.
The seven alleged victims of Caressant Care Nursing and Retirement Home in Woodstock were identified as James Silcox, 84, Maurice Granat, 84, Gladys Millard, 87, Helen Matheson, 95, Mary Zurawinski, 96, Helen Young, 90 and Maureen Pickering, 79.
While the eighth and last alleged victim Arpad Horvath, 75, resided at Meadow Park Long Term Care in London, Ontario. He died on August 31, 2014.
Wettlaufer’s LinkedIn profile states that she was the charge nurse at the Caressant Care Nursing Home from June 2007 to March 2014.
The families of the victims are naturally traumatized by the news.
“It’s devastating,” said Arpad Horvath’s son.
“To lose somebody like that. It’s sad. You figure he died, and that was it. The next thing you know, you find out somebody murdered your father,” he added.
Caressant Care Woodstock Long Term Care Home spokesman Lee Griffi said, "Our highest priority is to continue to provide for the physical, social and spiritual needs of our residents and that remains our focus,"
"We deeply regret the additional grief and stress this is imposing on the families involved. We are determined to avoid compromising the police investigation in any way and are therefore unable to provide any additional comment at this time," Griffi added.
The motive behind Wettlaufer’s alleged killing spree is yet to be discovered, but this horrendous practice is unfortunately not unheard of.
In 2015, a Filipino nurse Victorino Chua was found guilty of murdering sick patients; he also poisoned several others by secretly injecting their saline bags and ampoules with insulin.