Sudbury store owner recalls Renee Sweeney's death

A Sudbury store owner says he is still broken hearted over Renee Sweeney's death as he recalls the young woman who worked next door at the video store.

Abdul Dabliz called 9-1-1 on the day of Renee Sweeney's stabbing in 1998

Abdul Dabliz says he hopes that justice is served after police arrest and charge 39 year-old Robert Steven Wright in connection to the death of Renee Sweeney. (Justine Cohendet/ Radio-Canada)

The Sudbury community is reacting in shock to the arrest of Robert Steven Wright, the man accused of killing Renee Sweeney.

Abdul Dabliz owns the Paris Natural Foods store on Paris street. In 1998, the adult video store stood beside the natural food store.

Dabliz says when he heard someone had been arrested, he just hoped that justice would be served for Sweeney.

"When I heard last night that somebody had found [Wright] I said I hope that justice takes his place."

Wright was arrested and charged with first degree murder on Tuesday in North Bay in connection to the death of Renee Sweeney. Wright appeared in bail court Wednesday morning, but his hearing was postponed to next week, where he will appear via video conference. 

On the day of the murder in 1998, Dabliz was the first person to call 9-1-1.

"I was behind the counter. Somebody opened the door in a hurry and said 'please, please call 9-1-1.'"

"So right away I called 9-1-1 at that time. I told them something serious was happening here next door."

He says he can still recall the shock that came over him and remembers the shock of the man who called for help.

"The person who came in next door, he must have been a person that walked in that was a customer," says Dabliz. "When he walked into [the video store], he saw somebody on the floor, bleeding."

Dabliz says he knew Sweeney well. Sweeney frequented Paris Natural Foods and shopped, says Dabliz.

"Extremely, extremely pleasant girl," he says. "Everything normal, always cheerful, always happy."  

He says when he found out she died he cried through the night.

"One of the most saddest things that ever happened to me in my life was that incident," he recalls.

"How did something happen to her in particular? She was the nicest girl."

He says to this day, he is still affected by Sweeney's death and believes the conversation around the tragedy will continue.

"Still, my heart is broken," says Dabliz.

"After 5 years, people still talk about it. Even still till now, people still talk about it. Still, a major loss for us, still a sad chapter in our history."

with files from Radio-Canada's Justine Cohendet