Toronto man sought in Frigo murder

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Those who know Boris Panovski say he’s an impeccably dressed, charismatic, hairdresser and avid outdoorsman who enjoys life’s simple pleasures.

And they were stunned to find out the 70-year-old Scarborough man is alleged to be involved in the death of Vaughan construction executive Donato “Don” Frigo and the wounding of his wife in Huron County last weekend.

“I am totally shocked,” one woman, who asked not to be named, said Friday of learning her “friend” is wanted by Ontario Provincial Police on a Canada-wide warrant.

“He is the nicest guy,” she said, adding Panovski went to church every Sunday, enjoyed fishing, camping and picking berries at a farm in Markham.

Frigo, also 70, an executive at Hady Construction Associates in Toronto, was shot to death and a woman believed to be his wife, Eva Willer, was wounded at the Hullett Wildlife Conservation Area in Clinton as the Amateur Shooting Dog Championship — an event the couple organized — wrapped up last Saturday.

For five days the OPP remained tight-lipped about the case.

But at a news conference in Vaughan Friday, police named Panovski as their prime suspect in the deadly double shooting.

OPP Det.-Supt. Dave Truax said Frigo and the suspect were “known to each other,” but he refused to elaborate.

Truax did confirm the victims were on horseback, “involved in dog training exercises,” when they encountered the gunman.

“Without getting into great detail of those events, an altercation occurred between the individual who has been identified (as Panovski) … and the victim and the female who was in his company,” Truax said, still unwilling to confirm the wounded woman is Frigo’s wife.

Witnesses have reported hearing several shotgun blasts and then seeing Willer ride out of the woods with Frigo’s riderless horse close behind.

Truax said investigators zeroed in on their suspect and executed a search warrant on Wednesday at his Scarborough residence.

But by then Panovski was gone.

A resident of the building, near Morningside Ave. and Ellesmere Rd., claims to have spotted the wanted man leaving home Sunday afternoon.

“He seemed a tiny bit agitated, but that’s just Boris,” said the tenant, who didn’t want to be named.

Truax was unable to say whether Panovski is still in the city, has left town or has fled the country.

But the murder suspect is considered “armed and dangerous,” he warned.

Sources say Panovski has a son, who is believed to have been at the conservation area Saturday and was interviewed by police.

Panovski’s Facebook is filled with images of him picking berries and holding up his catch after fishing trips. There is also a photo of him shaking hands with Premier Kathleen Wynne in a Toronto church, posted mere hours before the murder.

A spokesman for the premier said the pic was snapped while Wynne was attending the St. Clements Macedonian Community Fest on Aug. 10.

“Premier Wynne does not know this individual,” the spokesman said, adding it was one of hundreds of events she has attended​​.

There are also pictures of Panovski holding up a red tapestry reading “National Ch 2005” with his name and face emblazoned on it between two dogs, Red and George.

The National Open Shooting Dog Championship website lists Panovski as a handler who won its event in 2005 with dogs owned by Gabe Magnotta, the late founder of Niagara Region’s Magnotta Winery.

The purse for the competition is $20,000, according to the website.

Court documents show Panovski’s divorced his wife in 2008. The couple, who wed in their native Macedonia, were married for nearly 41 years.

And Panovski filed for bankruptcy in 2009, according to court records.

A friend says Panovski is a hairdresser who owned his own salon, but he shut the shop’s doors a few years ago because “it was losing money.”

The friend, who has known Panovski nearly a decade, said he was “a real ladies man” until he met his current girlfriend, who moved into his apartment two-and-a-half years ago.

The friend said Panovski owns an SUV and a 1998 blue, four-door Toyota sedan, a car the OPP are still trying to track down.

The OPP urges anyone with information on the whereabouts of the vehicle or the suspect to call their dedicated hotline at 1-844-278-4794 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).


— With files by Antonella Artuso and Sam Pazzano

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