Police charge 18-year-old man in fatal stabbing of case worker

Calgary police have laid charges in the fatal stabbing of a case worker Friday morning that took place at an assisted-living residence in the 1800 block of 27th Avenue S.W.

Deborah Onwu, 47, was killed at an assisted-living residence early Friday morning

Deborah Onwu, 47, was allegedly stabbed to death by her teen client in a dispute while working as a caseworker at an assisted living residence for Wood's Homes in Calgary. (Facebook)

Charges have been laid in the fatal stabbing of a case worker early Friday morning that took place at an assisted-living residence.

Eighteen-year-old Brandon Jacob Spencer Newman was charged with second-degree murder in connection with the incident, Calgary police said. He appears in court on Nov. 1.

Newman remains in custody at this time, police said.

Deborah Onwu, a 47-year-old professional case worker, was supporting Newman at his Wood's Homes assisted living residence, police said. Police allege a verbal and physical confrontation took place between Onwu and Newman, at which point Onwu was stabbed.

Speaking at a news conference Friday, Staff Sgt. Martin Schiavetta said emergency crews rushed to the scene.

"[Crews] provided first aid to the victim but she succumbed to her injuries," Schiavetta said.

Alberta Occupational Health and Safety are investigating because the incident took place at a workplace, he said.

Police could not initially locate Newman, but did eventually arrest him around 5 a.m. Friday in Calgary's downtown.

'Well-liked and well-respected'

A statement from Wood's Homes, which operates mental health facilities and programs for children and families throughout Alberta, says staff and clients were still trying to process the killing at one of its Calgary homes on Friday.

"Debbie was a well-liked and well-respected colleague. She was hard working and devoted to a career of helping. There are no words to describe the sadness and loss our work family is feeling today," said the statement.

"We are providing counselling support for all those affected and are working closely with the Calgary Police Service and Occupational Health & Safety to learn how this occurred."

In a 2017 report from the Calgary Society for Persons with Disabilities, Onwu was described as "an extremely valuable asset" to the organization.

"She can always be counted on to help out in a pinch," the report reads.

"Debbie has great relationships with everyone she interacts with and is known for being a pleasure to work with. When it comes to embodying CSPD's values and what it means to be an outstanding staff member, Debbie is undoubtedly a role model."

With files from The Canadian Press