LaFortune torture case suspect identified
Warning: This story contains a graphic image
Police in Regina and Calgary have obtained countrywide warrants for a man suspected of assaulting Dustin LaFortune, who was dumped at a Regina hospital in April in an emaciated, burned and beaten condition.
Dustin Ward Paxton, 30, is wanted on two charges of aggravated assault, along with a single count of forcible confinement, a spokeswoman for the Regina Police Service said in a statement announcing the warrants on Monday.
Paxton has no fixed address, police said.
Police said they believe LaFortune, 26, was seriously assaulted and confined in Calgary between Dec. 1, 2008, and March 2, then assaulted again in Regina between March 15 and April 16, the day he was dropped off at Regina General Hospital by an unknown man.
LaFortune, who is originally from Winnipeg, is recovering but remains in hospital. When he was dropped off there, he was suffering from disturbing injuries, including burns and cuts. His condition was so grave he was unable to give investigators a statement.
His family said he had been missing a few months and was also severely emaciated.
LaFortune was officially reported missing in Calgary on April 12, police said.
"This investigation took four months, for a number of reasons, one being that it stretched from British Columbia to Winnipeg, including four provinces and four different police agencies," said Det. Doug Crippen of the Calgary Police Service.
"The second challenge that occurred was that our victim could not provide a statement to Calgary Police Service immediately due to his injuries," Crippen said.
The victim's mother, Renee LaFortune, said Monday that she's grateful to police for their efforts.
"I have no doubts Paxton will be in custody very shortly," she said in an email to CBC News. She said the family wasn't ready to do a full interview about the latest developments in the investigation.
The last public word police had made on the case was May 19, when they confirmed officers had gone to a Regina apartment block not far from the hospital where LaFortune was dropped off.
Tenants at the block recognized LaFortune from a photograph, and one said he had heard screaming, shouting and other disturbing noises from a suite in the block.
LaFortune's mother said he would soon be transferred to a rehabilitation centre in Victoria.
Paxton is described as Caucasian, five feet nine inches tall and 160 pounds. He has a medium build, brown hair and green eyes, but police said he may have altered his appearance.
Anyone with information is asked to call Regina police at 1-306-777-6500, Calgary police at 1-403-266-1234 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
Police cautioned that Paxton should not be approached, and they will not tolerate any act of vigilantism toward him.
- An earlier version of this story said Dustin LaFortune was allegedly assaulted and confined in Calgary between Dec. 1, 2009, and March 2, 2010. In fact, police believe this happened between Dec. 1, 2008, and March 2010.Aug 24, 2010 8:25 AM CT