Saskatoon

Convicted murderer in 1985 Rosthern killing dies in N.B. prison

A Saskatchewan man convicted of first-degree murder in the death of Frances Wendland has died in a New Brunswick prison.

Donald Marlow died of 'apparently natural causes' in Dorchester Penitentiary this week

The home where Frances Wendland was strangled to death. (CBC)

A Saskatchewan man convicted of murdering Frances Wendland in 1985 has died in a New Brunswick prison.

In 1990, a jury convicted Donald Marlow of first-degree murder for being an accessory to the killing and he received a life sentence.

Five years earlier in December 1985, RCMP said Wendland was killed by two masked men in her Rosthern home.

Wendland's daughters, aged seven and eight at the time of the killing, were home and were locked in the bathroom by the men, along with a friend who was in the home for a sleepover. When the girls escaped, they found Wendland's body.

Court records show the victim was tied up with packing tape and her neck, chin and mouth were tightly bound. Pathologists determined she died from neck compression, or strangulation.

A statement from the Correctional Service of Canada read that Marlow had been suffering from an illness and died of apparently natural causes on Tuesday.

Officials will review the circumstances of his death, and will contact the police and coroner if required.

Another arrest made but murder charge stayed

During Marlow's trial, police testified that Wendland's estranged husband, Larry Wendland, used Marlow to hire two men to kill her.

Larry Wendland, who married the couple's babysitter a year after the killing, committed suicide in 1989.

In 2011, RCMP re-opened the investigation. Dennis Hahn was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in July 2015, but those charges were later stayed by prosecutors.

Rosthern is about 60 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon.