The suspect arrested after a five-hour manhunt that spanned more than 100 kilometres west of Ottawa yesterday appeared briefly in court Wednesday to face three charges of first-degree murder involving women he knew.
Basil Borutski, 57, is accused of killing Carol Culleton, 66, Anastasia Kuzyk, 36, and Nathalie Warmerdam, 48. Their bodies were found at separate locations by Ontario Provincial Police Tuesday morning within a roughly 25-kilometre radius of Wilno, Ont.
During his court appearance in Pembroke, Ont., Borutski was forbidden from communicating with more than 10 people. He was returned to custody and will next appear in court by video on Oct. 5.
Kuzyk and Warmerdam had previously been in relationships with Borutski, friends have told CBC News.
His brother, William Borutski, told CBC News Wednesday that all three women were former partners of Basil Borutski, and that his "heart and soul" goes out to them.
However, it is not clear what the relationship was between Culleton and Borutski.
He said he hadn't spoken with his brother in several years and that their family is "devastated."
In a brief interview with The Canadian Press, William Borutski said the family is "in disbelief," and that "right now the only ones we're thinking about is the victims. The children, the families, the friends."
- Anastasia Kuzyk remembered fondly at Wilno Tavern where she worked
- Nathalie Warmerdam described as woman with 'courage, integrity'
- Basil Borutski ID'd as suspect after 3 women found dead near Wilno, Ont.
Basil Borutski was arrested by Ottawa police in a wooded area off Kinburn Side Road and Becks Road, in the rural west end of the city, at about 2:30 p.m. ET Tuesday, more than five hours after police found the first victim.
Investigators used a cellphone to triangulate the suspect's location, police sources told CBC News.
Borutski has a lengthy criminal history, including charges involving two of the three women, court records show.
In July 2012, Borutski was convicted of uttering threats to kill an animal that belonged to Warmerdam.
A year and a half later, in January 2014, Borutski was charged for assault, choking, theft of a motor vehicle, and possession of a weapon despite a weapons ban against him in relation to an incident involving Kuzyk, who had at one time dated him.
Borutski was convicted on those counts, was sentenced to 19 months in jail, submitted to a DNA collection order, paid hundreds of dollars in victim surcharges and was released on probation with a lifetime weapons ban.
While residents told CBC News Borutski was released about three weeks ago, Ontario's Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services said Thursday that Borutski was released on Dec. 27, 2014.
About a dozen women held a vigil outside the courthouse in Pembroke Wednesday afternoon ahead of Borutski's appearance.
"I'm between rage and tears. I've been a crisis worker for nearly 30 years. I'm tired of it," Bev Ritza told CBC News.
JoAnne Brooks, director of the Women's Sexual Assault Centre of Renfrew County, said the centre has a phone line open around the clock at 1-800-663-3060.
Corinne Higgins, who owns the Wilno Tavern where Kuzyk used to work, knew the suspect and his large, extended family.
She told CBC News the community is in shock and disbelief.
"[People are] mostly just saying, I can't believe this happened here; I can't believe that three women are dead," Higgins said. "We're a very peaceful, small community. That's the sort of thing you see on the news. It doesn't happen across the street.
"It was profound, just profound sadness," she added. "Many people were questioning how this happened, why this happened, but mostly people were just wanting to comfort each other and to wish comfort for the families who have been involved."
Autopsies took place Wednesday
The body of Kuzyk, who became a Century 21 realtor after leaving the tavern, was the first to be found by police when OPP officers responded to an incident on Szczipior Road in Wilno just before 9 a.m. ET.
While police were investigating Kuzyk's death, they received information that led them to a second location on Highway 512, also known as Foymount Road, which runs through the communities of Foymount, Cormac and Lake Clear. They found the body of Warmerdam.
Then, at 11:10 a.m., police found Culleton's body on Kamaniskeg Lake Road, which runs along Kamaniskeg Lake south of Barry's Bay, about 200 kilometres west of where she lived in the south Ottawa community of North Gower.
Cathy Pitts, a local realtor, told CBC News she arrived at Culleton's cottage Tuesday morning to help her sell it, but instead discovered the woman's body.
Pitts said she was "more angry than anything" at the news of the three women's deaths.
"I'd just like that this man would be put behind bars and kept behind bars. He obviously was a threat to society, and he actually did what he said he was going to do," Pitts said.
Autopsies were expected to be conducted on all three women in Ottawa Wednesday.