Ottawa homicide victim helped husband through PTSD

The widower of an Ottawa-area woman found dead last weekend said he has fought "incredible pain" and "anger" since his wife first disappeared.

Family announces funeral arrangements as police intensify homicide investigation

Howard Richmond, widower of slain Ottawa-area woman Melissa Richmond, breaks his silence. 3:00

The widower of slain Ottawa-area woman Melissa Richmond said he has gone through a mixture of incredible pain and anger as police intensify their investigation into his wife's death.

Richmond, 28, was reported missing on July 24 after leaving her home in North Dundas, south of Ottawa, and going for a drive.

Her vehicle was found two days later in the parking lot of the South Keys Shopping Centre, and her body was found two days after that near a storm drain close by, which goes underneath Bank Street.

A police source has told CBC News that there were signs of trauma on the body, including stab wounds.

Suspect search continues

Ottawa police have intensified their search for a suspect, stopping cars and asking drivers near the South Keys Shopping Centre and in Winchester if they have seen anything suspicious.

About a dozen officers asked drivers questions and jotted down licence plate numbers Wednesday night, close to where Richmond's body was found.

Police stopped cars and asked drivers near the South Keys Shopping Centre Wednesday night if they have seen anything suspicious. (Judy Trinh/CBC)

Her death, which is being investigated as Ottawa's seventh homicide of 2013, has left her husband Howard Richmond, 50, completely distraught.

"I was very confused, very frightened. It was completely unlike her to just disappear," he said Thursday over the phone.

Howard Richmond is a Canadian soldier who has completed six tours of duty for the Canadian Forces — three in Afghanistan, two in Bosnia and one in Cyprus.

Victim helped husband through PTSD treatment

While speaking with the CBC's Judy Trinh, Richmond said his wife has been there for him as he is receiving treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Howard Richmond posted this photo on his Facebook page with his late wife, Melissa. The couple, who were 22 years apart, participated in a Medieval re-enactment group together. (Facebook)

"I don't know if CBC knows but I'm going through treatment for PTSD." he said, overcome by tears.

"She was a rock going through it all."

Richmond said his wife enjoyed going for drives, as he also does, and said she was heading out at about 11:30 p.m. on July 24. But when she did not return it was unnerving for her husband.

"I started panicking. I tried to rationalize it," he said.

Since that day, Howard Richmond admitted going through a series of emotions while trying to cope with the death of his wife. He described it as a "mixture of incredible pain" and then "anger."

Funeral on Saturday

But he knows police are doing what they can to find a suspect.

"I know the police are trying so hard … I'm just so thankful for everything they're doing. I know they're doing everything they can," he said. 

Richmond's funeral will be held on Saturday at St. George's Chapel in Petawawa.

A makeshift memorial to Richmond is growing in front of the South Keys Shopping Centre. 

Howard Richmond is asking for donations to be made to the Dundas County Food Bank in Winchester, where the couple volunteered, in lieu of flowers. The food bank said donations have risen sharply in the past few days.