INNISFAIL, Alta. — Mounties have laid a first-degree murder charge against the man they believe mailed a bomb that killed a 23-year-old paraplegic single mother here last November.
Friday, after a raid on a home in the small town some 120 km north of Calgary, RCMP charged Brian Malley, 55, for the murder of Vicky Shachtay, who was killed in an explosion after opening a package dropped on the doorstep of her Innisfail home last November.
Both Shachtay’s family and the rest of the community were devastated by the young woman’s murder.
Dave Wiebe, a pastor with the Innisfail Alliance Church, speaking on behalf of Shachtay’s step-father Rick Bercier, said Bercier told him "it was like a big dark cloud was lifted off of his shoulders" when police told the family Friday.
"He forgave whoever had done it a long time ago … he has said to me he is sad for this person, and his family," Wiebe said.
"Certainly, he does want to know why — he is still seeking that answer."
Wiebe said Shachtay’s daughter, seven-year-old Destiny, also "would like to know why somebody killed her mommy."
Shachtay, who had been confined to a wheelchair since a 2004 car crash that took the use of her legs, was home with Destiny and her live-in care worker when the bomb exploded and killed her.
Though shaken up, neither Destiny nor the care worker were injured in the blast.
Police were tight-lipped Friday as to why they were flooding a quiet street in the town, with officers from multiple Mountie units in a steady stream of vehicles.
Neighbours figured the massive police presence in the small town had to be somehow connected to the bombing six months ago.
"We said right away that’s got to be the place … police were there for two solid days," Doug McVety said.
"They must have had 20 guys running around here … it was big stuff (but) the police told us there was no danger to us."
McVety and other neighbours said they didn’t personally know Malley.
Wiebe said he also didn’t know the accused personally, who was not a member of the pastor’s congregation.
But when asked if he at least knew of Malley and of his connection to Shachtay, Wiebe declined to comment.
The RCMP are keeping Malley behind bars and he awaits a first court appearance set for Monday morning in Red Deer, Alta.
In addition to murder, he’s also charged with causing an explosion of an explosive substance likely to cause death, serious bodily harm or serious property damage and sending or delivering to a person an explosive device.
There’s yet to be any comment on the connection between Shachtay and her alleged murderer by police, who were not available for comment Sunday.
In a news release, RCMP Insp. Garrett Woolsey called investigations like this one challenging.
"Largely because of the complexity and the co-ordinated effort, which is so critical," he said.
On Twitter: @SUNDamienWood