Accused in nursing home deaths texted friend that she had confessed to murder

LONDON, Ont. — Two weeks ago, while under a peace bond that banned her from possessing insulin and visiting nursing homes, Elizabeth Wettlaufer sent an ominous text to a longtime .

Wettlaufer’s text said she was in a mental-health facility and had confessed to murder.

The acquaintance — a who spoke on the condition she not be named — didn’t believe Wettlaufer, a former nurse.

She knew Wettlaufer, 49, had suffered addiction and mental illness … but murder? The woman said she couldn’t believe the text from her , who doted on her parents and her dog.

When news broke this week that police charged Wettlaufer with eight counts of murder in the deaths of nursing home residents, the woman was in shock.

“My thought and reaction was ‘OMG, why didn’t I say ?’” the woman wrote in a message to a reporter. “The whole thing has me so sick.”

By Wednesday, as questions swirled around the circumstances of the investigation — with families of the dead asking what led police to the conclusion their relatives had been killed years ago — reports surfaced that police had been tipped off by staff from a in Toronto.

“Hmmm, maybe she was telling the truth about where she was, when she was texting,” her acquaintance said.

Officials from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) alerted Toronto police that Wettlaufer had shared information with hospital staff that caused them “concern,” a police source familiar with the investigation said Wednesday.

The source said Toronto officers then interviewed Wettlaufer.

Because the alleged crimes had occurred outside their jurisdiction, police passed the information to the Ontario Provincial Police and forces in Woodstock and London, said the source, who was not authorized to discuss the case publicly.

The investigation into the alleged murders was Sept. 29. Wettlaufer was arrested Monday and appeared in an Woodstock courthouse Tuesday where she was remanded into custody.

My thought and reaction was ‘OMG, why didn’t I say something?’. The whole thing has me so sick

The nursing home residents have been identified as James Silcox, 84, Maurice Granat, 84, Gladys Millard, 87, Helen Matheson, 95, Mary Zurawinski, 96, Helen Young, 90, Maureen Pickering, 79, and Arpad Horvath, 75.

Police say they are confident there are no more alleged victims in the case.

While OPP investigators have encouraged anyone concerned about a loved one in care to contact police, evidence suggests there will be no more homicide charges.

“We are confident that there are no more,” OPP Sgt. Dave Rektor said Wednesday.

“We take every call seriously, but … not everyone is going to be a victim,” he said of the deaths that occurred at Woodstock’s Carressant Care nursing home from 2007 to 2014.

Wettlaufer is of seven residents of that home and one of London’s Meadow Park, in 2014. The London , Horvath, had dementia, as did some of the others.

A peace bond Wettlaufer entered into on Oct. 6 required her to “continue any treatment for mental health” with any physician to whom she was referred by her family doctor or “representatives of CAMH.”

Wettlaufer was not allowed to possess or consume alcohol and was banned from having insulin or other medication. She had to obey a curfew and reside in either her apartment or with her parents in Woodstock between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m., except to attend alcoholics anonymous meetings, according to terms laid out in the peace bond.

She was not allowed to work or volunteer as a caregiver, and was not allowed to go into any nursing home or hospital unless seeking medical attention for herself.

Wettlaufer’s friend, Nancy Gilbert, told The Canadian Press that Wettlaufer had told her she recently completed her second stint in rehab in Toronto and seemed to be in good spirits.

A Facebook page for a Bethe Wettlaufer, whose photo, education and employment records match that of Elizabeth Wettlaufer, makes reference to what appears to be a struggle with substance abuse.

“My own voice called to me in the darkness. Others hands lifted me when I chose the light. One year ago today I woke up not dead. 365 days clean and sober,” says a post from September 2015.

Lawyers for Wettlaufer could not immediately be reached for comment.

CAMH declined to comment because of patient confidentiality.

Wettlaufer is scheduled to appear in court by video on Nov. 2. None of the charges have been proven in court.

London Free Press, with files from The Canadian Press

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