Elizabeth Wettlaufer: The bodies of two alleged victims of nurse accused of serial murder were removed from graves Tuesday in London and Innerkip.
Elizabeth Wettlaufer, who pleaded guilty to killing eight Woodstock and London care-home patients, is 2017’s top news story, Free Press readers say.
The bodies of two Southwestern Ontarians believed to be victims of alleged nursing home homicides were exhumed Tuesday in London and Innerkip.
The exhumations came amid the investigation into Elizabeth Wettlaufer, a former long-term care nurse accused of first-degree murder in the deaths of eight Southwestern Ontarians and of attempted murder of four others.
The 49-year-old also faces two charges of aggravated assault involving elderly siblings at a Woodstock care home.
Police shut off St. Peter’s Cemetery in east London from about 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. for the exhumation of Arpad Horvath, a 75-year-old resident of Meadow Park nursing home who died in August 2014.
The body of Helen Matheson, a 95-year-old resident of Caressant Care in Woodstock when she died in October 2011, was exhumed at an Innerkip cemetery.
“The families were supportive of the reasons for the exhumation,” London police Const. Sandasha Bough said.
“The exhumations are necessary to allow the Ontario forensic pathology service to perform an autopsy and collect evidence.”
There’s no word yet if the bodies of other alleged victims are to be exhumed, Bough said.
Horvath’s daughter said she was at the London graveyard when police exhumed her father’s body.
“I sat in my car through the whole thing and freaked out, crying,” said Susan Horvath. “It’s very painful. It’s like going to the funeral all over again. And we’re exhausted.”
The stress of the police investigation into Horvath’s death has taken a toll, his daughter said.
“I just hope that with all the trouble that the families who are getting their loved ones exhumed — what we’re going through psychologically and every which way — I hope that there’s light at the end of this tunnel and we do find the reason for their deaths,” she said.
Last fall, Wettlaufer was charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of eight long-term care home residents — seven residents of the Caressant Care nursing home in Woodstock, and one resident of the Meadow Park nursing home in London — between 2007 and 2014.
On Jan. 13, Wettlaufer was charged with four courts of attempted murder and two of aggravated assault involving patients at Caressant Care in Woodstock, Telfer Place in Paris and a private residence in Oxford County.
Wettlaufer is due back in a Woodstock court Feb. 15 on the 14 charges against her.
— With file by Canadian Press