Elizabeth Wettlaufer

wettlaufer

Crimes: Serial Killer, Attempted Murder.

Elizabeth Wettlaufer, a former Ontario nurse, looks dumpy and dull. As exciting as dishwater. If you had to imagine a secret life for this 50-year-old, you might guess she’s a cat hoarder, or an identity thief. You’d be dead wrong.

Elizabeth Wettlaufer did have a secret life. Between 2007 and 2016 she murdered 8 old people, and tried to murder or sicken 6 more.

Insulin was the weapon of choice. The victims were residents of 3 long-term care facilities and a private home in Ontario, Canada.

The serial murderer began her secret life at the Caressant Care long-term care home in Woodstock Ontario. In 2007, Elizabeth Wettlaufer injected insulin into 87-year-old Clotilde Adriano. The victim died over a year later, but not as a direct result of the overdose. She was a mother of 2 and a grandmother of 5, and I’m sure she was much loved by her family and friends.

Also in 2007, Elizabeth Wettlaufer injected insulin into Albina Demedeiros, who was a sister to Clotilde Adriano. She too didn’t die as a result of the injection, instead living until February 25, 2010, her 91st birthday.

Elizabeth Wettlaufer was just warming up. On August 11, 2007, she chose to murder James Silcox, 84, who was a veteran of WWII. The man left behind his widow and 6 children, bless his heart.

Elizabeth Wettlaufer next targeted 84-year-old Maurice Granat. He was the father of 2, and had worked as a mechanic and autobody man in Tillsonburg, Ontario. He died from the insulin injection he was given on December 22, 2007. He was described by a friend as one of the “best people I knew”.

The monstrous killer nurse continued her murderous efforts in 2008. She injected 63-year-old Michael Priddle with insulin, but did not succeed in killing him. He died at home at the age of 64, leaving behind his widow and 2 children.

Also in 2008, Elizabeth Wettlaufer chose to try to murder Wayne Hedges. He was only 57 years old. He survived the murder attempt but died on January 24, 2009. He was survived by both his parents and 2 siblings.

I’m not sure what happened, but Elizabeth Wettlaufer took a hiatus from murder until October 13, 2011. On that day she succeeded in killing 87-year-old Gladys Millard, a widowed mother of 2 who had worked as a seamstress.

The killer apparently was in a hurry to make up for lost time. On October 25, 2011, Elizabeth Wettlaufer murdered Helen Matheson, 95, a widow with 2 sons who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.

On November 6, 2011, 96-year-old Mary Zurawinski was given insulin and died. The poor woman was robbed of her chance to reach 100, something she was determined to do.

After this short murder spree, Elizabeth Wettlaufer waited until July 13, 2013, to attack again. Her next victim was 90-year-old Helen Young. Born in Scotland, Helen Young moved to Canada after falling in love with a Canadian. She was widowed in 1988, and enjoyed the love of her dogs. She had no children, but was loved by her relatives.

In March 2014, Elizabeth Wettlaufer next murdered a 79-year-old widow, Maureen Pickering. She was in Caressant Care because she was afflicted with Alheimer’s.

In August 2014, married father of 2, Arpad Horvath, was murdered. He was the owner of Central Tool and Die in London, Ontario, and had been living at a Meadow Park facility there. His son, Arpad Horvath Jr., had considered his father to be his hero and best friend.

Sandra Towler, 77, of the Telfer Place retirement home in Paris, Ontario, was killed by Elizabeth Wettlaufer in September 2015.

Almost a year later, in August 2016, the killer struck again. She injected Beverly Bertram, 68, who lived in a private residence in Ingersol, Ontario. Bevery Bertram mercifully survived, but was left fearful of further attacks. “I’m afraid of my own shadow,” she has said.

And that sums up a career of killing that spanned 9 years. Horrifyingly, none of the murders and attempted murders were identified as such for all those years. Nobody but Elizabeth Wettlaufer understood what had happened to the victims. I suppose that killing people who are elderly is the smartest course for serial killers. Everyone seemed to assume they died naturally of old age.

The shocking thing is that Elizabeth Wettlaufer repeatedly tried to alert people to her crimes. Apparently she was a reluctant serial killer, and at times wanted to be stopped.

Elizabeth Wettlaufer told a pastor about her murdering people, and he didn’t believe her. He prayed for her, told her not to kill again and sent her on her way. He didn’t report her confession to the authorities.

The killer told a lawyer who advised her not to tell anyone ever what she said.

The murderer told a Narcotics Anonymous sponsor who dismissed her as a pathological liar.

Elizabeth Wettlaufer even told a boyfriend, but he figured she was having a “psychiatric episode” and paid no attention.

If those individuals had taken the confessions seriously and reported them to police, lives would have been saved.

In September 2016, Elizabeth Wettlaufer, 49, checked herself into Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. She had a substance abuse problem that she wanted to deal with, and she’d also been told she’d be working with diabetic children. Terrified that she would wind up killing children, she confessed her crimes to the staff.

Finally her confessions were heard and believed. She was interviewed by police on October 4, 2016, and held back nothing.

“I knew the difference between right and wrong, but I thought this was something God, or whoever, wanted me to do it,” she told the investigators. When she talked about the murder of her sixth victim, she said, “I was starting at that point to doubt that it was God.”

Elizabeth Wettlaufer said she was uncertain whether it was God or Satan instructing her to kill.

She described that she felt a “red surge” and a compulsion to laugh after she’d injected some of her victims.

So how did she select her victims? Some she chose because she thought they were mean or difficult to deal with. The others were selected at random, for no reason at all.

Elizabeth Wettlaufer was arrested 20 days after her interview with police. She was charged with 8 counts of 1st-degree murder, 4 counts of attempted murder, and 2 counts of aggravated assault.

The discovery that their loved ones had been murdered shocked and appalled the families and friends of the victims. They were justifiably filled with feelings of rage and betrayal. They had trusted the nurse, and some had even hugged and thanked her for taking good care of their loved one.

Elizabeth Wettlaufer pled guilty to all 14 charges. On June 26, 2017, she was sentenced by Superior Court Justice Bruce Thomas to life in prison without the eligibility of parole for 25 years.

Justice Thomas consoled the grieving, angry family members. “You simply cannot blame yourselves,” he said. “She was far from the angel of mercy, more the shadow of death who passed over [the victims].”

Elizabeth Wettlaufer, 50, apologized in court. “I am truly sorry for the people I injured and murdered. Sorry is much too small a word.”

I for one would not be surprised if there were lawsuits aplenty against the care homes that had employed the serial killer. There are calls for a government inquiry, but I don’t know if that will come about.

I extend my sincere condolences to the family and friends of James Silcox, Maurice Granat, Gladys Millard, Helen Matheson, Mary Zurawinski, Helen Young, Maureen Pickering, and Arpad Horvath. I hope that the sentence handed to the murderer will be a source of consolation.

As to one of Canada’s worst serial killers, Elizabeth Wettlaufer, I do appreciate that she turned herself in, but cannot forget that she’d taken so many years and so many lives before she did so. And I cannot understand how anyone, thinking that maybe the devil was instructing her to kill, would choose to murder innocent people. Why couldn’t she just kill herself instead?

As one who just might wind up in a care home eventually, I truly hope and pray that there aren’t more killer nurses out there. It’s terrifying that all her crimes had gone completely undetected, and if she hadn’t spoken up, Elizabeth Wettlaufer would still be free.

(Photo courtesy of THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley)

CTV News article – chronology
CTV News article – confessions
CTV News article – sentencing
CTV News – lessons learned

5 Responses to Elizabeth Wettlaufer

  1. Tom Daly says:

    Honestly, people who do that to elderly people should be denied their rights as humans. They shouldn’t be in the same SOLAR SYSTEM as us.

  2. Moodymagic says:

    She is one sick person. She needs to be locked up for the rest of her life. It’s disgusting that she only turned herself in after she found out she would be working with children. Like the multiple seniors she killed were not important. One murder whatever age is too many.

  3. Bengalpuss. says:

    I agree what she did was heinous, I don’t think that the facilities that employed her were at fault here, how were they supposed to know that they had a nut ball in their midst? The people who she confessed to and didn’t do anything have something to answer to, but not the care homes. If employers thought “oh could this employee be a mass murderer, or serial killer” then no one would be getting employed. My heart goes out to the families for their loss, but the individuals who were told by “big mama” that she’d murdered and did nothing then they need to be the ones to answer to not doing anything.

  4. Deb says:

    As heinous as her crimes were, I still have to be thankful that she did finally turn herself in. RIP all the poor souls who were taken too soon, and the ones that survived. I did not know but insulin injected into a non-diabetic person (if it doesn’t kill them) can destroy the pancreas, and basically give the person diabetes. It happened to my mom. I don’t know if her husband was trying to kill her or if he was just that stupid, but she wasn’t feeling good one day and he convinced her that she needed some of his insulin (he was diabetic). She’d never had a problem with her sugar until this happened. Then all of a sudden she is diabetic. She suffered with it until she died.

    • Bengalpuss. says:

      Deb, I’m a diabetic and people who don’t have diabetes and are injected with insulin don’t become diabetic, but it can make that person extremely poorly or kill them depending on the dose. Its a favourite for killers that are nurses because our bodies produce insulin to regulate our blood sugar and breaks down pretty quickly so is difficult to detect, my pancreas is fucked hence why I suffer with diabetes, however if a death is suspicious then the insulin can be detected, but when you’ve got these nut jobs bumping off patients who are elderly and really ill with insulin, they get away with it because nobody is looking for it, that’s why these angels of death choose the most vulnerable of victims to get away with what they’re doing.

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