Police release images of man seen with Tess Richey shortly before she was killed
The 22-year-old woman was captured by security cameras walking with an unidentified man on Church Street
Toronto police have released security camera images of a man they'd like to speak to regarding the homicide of 22-year-old Tess Richey last month in the Church-Wellesley Village.
Investigators said last week that the man they hope to identify was seen with Richey during her final hours in the early morning of Nov. 25.
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According to police, Richey met up with the man, as well as several others, near a hot dog cart after a night out with a friend. The pair were captured by security cameras walking northbound together on Church Street around 4 a.m. that day.
While her death was initially believed to be accidental, the coroner's office ruled it was in fact caused by "neck compression." Richey's body was found by her mother near a stairwell outside a home under renovation at 582 Church St.
Police previously described the man in question as having light skin, between five feet, seven inches and six feet tall with a slim build and dark hair, wearing a dark jacket and lighter pants.
Faced with questions from reporters on Friday, Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders admitted that Richey's case and several other ongoing unsolved disappearances of resident from the same neighbourhood presented "opportunities for [police] to learn" about how to better respond to missing persons calls.
Richey's family had called police to report her missing, but her body was not discovered until her mother drove to the city from North Bay, Ont., and tracked down her daughter's remains herself.
"I do think there are things we could have done better," Saunders said, adding that he has ordered an internal investigation into the specific circumstances of Richey's case, how it was handled by police, and whether that information could be used to improve the force's handling of disappearances.
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Concerns over police conduct have been mounting in recent weeks. Friends and family of 27-year-old Alloura Wells, a transgender woman whose significantly decayed remains were discovered in a Rosedale ravine last summer but not identified until last month, have said that police did not address her disappearance with enough urgency.
They allege that the force treated her case with low priority because she was homeless and thought to be a sex worker.
Anyone with potentially valuable information regarding Richey's disappearance is asked to call homicide investigators or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers.