Daughter of alleged victim attends Elizabeth Wettlaufer's court appearance, seeking 'justice'
Family says they asked for autopsy in 2007 and wonder if nurse could have been charged then
Andrea Silcox wonders if lives could have been saved if authorities had granted her family their single request in 2007 — an autopsy.
Instead, on Wednesday, nine years after her father died in a Woodstock, Ont., long-term care facility, she lined up in court to set eyes on the nurse accused of killing him and seven others.
"I'm just here to honour my father and make sure justice, as best it can, comes to my father," Silcox said.
- Who is the former Woodstock, Ont., nurse charged in nursing-home deaths?
Just before 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Elizabeth Wettlaufer appeared on a video monitor perched atop a television cabinet inside the century-old Woodstock courtroom.
Wettlaufer was hunched forward, wearing a baggy, dark green prisoner sweat top as a guard watched nearby. She asked, "That's it?" when her brief video appearance ended and her case was adjourned to Nov. 18. She's currently being held in custody at the Vanier Centre for Women.
Silcox is the youngest daughter of James Silcox — the first of Wettlaufer's alleged murder victims. She watched the nurse's court appearance intently on the video monitor.
"The OPP told us to stay away, but I don't listen to anyone," she told CBC News as she clutched the Bible her father carried with him while fighting in the Second World War.
Outside court, she told reporters her father was a patient at Woodstock's Carressant Care facility for just eight days in 2007 when he died. She and her sister asked for an autopsy.
"The coroner said he lived in long-term care, he was 85 years old, why bother?" Silcox now wonders if an autopsy may have revealed something suspicious. "There very well could have been a bit of evidence there," she said.
Drugs used to kill, police say
When police charged Wettlaufer, they alleged that a drug was used to kill seven of the victims, but they wouldn't say which one.
In a peace bond issued on Oct. 6, Wettlaufer was specifically prohibited from possessing insulin.
Silcox confirmed that her father used insulin to control his diabetes.
She now wants to know if insulin somehow contributed to her father's death.
Arpad Horvath echoed similar sentiments as he spoke with the CBC News near his home in Dorchester, Ont. He wonders if authorities simply assumed the deaths of his father and the others were natural because the patients were elderly.
"I visited him every single day," he said as his voice trailed off. "My father might still be alive," he added.
It appears in the two years leading up to her arrest, Wettlaufer jumped from employer to employer. CBC News has learned she left her staff job at Caressant Care after several run-ins with management.
She then worked for Lifeguard Homecare Inc. She left that agency and most recently worked for the St. Elizabeth Health Care agency.
The agencies declined to comment.
CBC News has learned police have recently visited other long-term care facilities Wettlaufer worked for in southwestern Ontario.
The College of Nurses of Ontario declined to say whether Wettlaufer's licence had ever been suspended due to work performance or her addiction. A college spokesperson declined a request for an on-camera interview and said questions have to be submitted in advance by email.
CBC News is now awaiting a response.
The eight alleged murders occurred between 2007 and 2014. Police became involved after Wettlaufer allegedly provided information about the deaths to staff at Toronto's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in September.
John Lancaster can be reached at 416-205-7538 or firstname.lastname@example.org