2 Toronto police officers charged with misconduct in Tess Richey homicide case

Two Toronto police officers have been charged with misconduct after a police investigation alleges that the pair failed to search thoroughly for homicide victim Tess Richey.

Woman's body was found by her mother 40 metres from an address to which the officers had been called

Tess Richey, 22, went missing on Nov. 25, 2017, after a night out with a high school friend. (Rachel Richey)

Two Toronto police officers have been charged with misconduct after a police investigation alleged that the pair failed to search thoroughly for homicide victim Tess Richey. 

Const. Alan McCullough and Const. Michael Jones, both with 51 Division, are charged with two counts of misconduct for neglect of duty under Ontario's Police Services Act, according to a notice of hearing.

Richey, 22, was reported missing last November in the area of Yonge and Wellesley streets.

She was found dead by her mother, Christine Hermeston, 40 metres from the place where the two officers had been called three days earlier, the notice says.

Kalen Schlatter, 21, has been charged with first-degree murder in Richey's death.

Officers 'failed' to inform supervisor of all details

"We're thankful and appreciative of the diligent work the homicide detectives have done to help bring justice to my daughter, Tess," Hermeston wrote in a statement on Tuesday. 

"I have to praise the chief for keeping his word and upholding police standards. Please respect our privacy as we continue to mourn for our loss," she wrote. 

Richey's body was found by her mother, who drove from North Bay, Ont., to look for her daughter. (Tess Richey/Facebook)

Richey was last seen about 3 a.m. ET on Nov. 25, 2017, after a night out with a high school friend at Crews and Tangos, a nightclub on Church Street. She was reported missing by a family member later that day.

Both officers had received a radio call at 3:45 p.m. the next day, to check an address in relation to the Richey missing persons case. 

When the officers went to the scene, they found out that the spot was the "last known location" where Richey had been seen. 

"You did not search the adjoining property or immediate area thoroughly," the notice reads.

"You did not conduct a canvass of neighbours. You failed to notify a supervisory officer of all of the particulars."

Reacting to the news Tuesday, Toronto Police Association president Mike McCormack told CBC News he was surprised that the two officers were before the tribunal, saying each has been with the force for more than 15 years and each is "very professional" and "responsible."

"We don't think it's warranted that these officers are before the tribunal. They did their jobs by the policies and procedures and we think that's what needs to be changed." McCormack said he supports a review of how the force handles missing persons cases, but that the officers shouldn't be penalized for following existing protocol. 

Body found at bottom of stairwell

Hermeston and a family friend found Richey's body lying at the bottom of an outdoor stairwell, outside a building undergoing renovation, at 582 Church St. on Nov. 29, 2017.

The spot, near Dundonald Street, is northeast from where the police were called.

She was doors away from where she had last been seen. 
Kalen Schlatter has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Richey. (Facebook)

Hermeston drove about four hours to get to Toronto from North Bay, Ont., to search for her daughter.

Richey's cause of death was determined to be neck compression, or strangulation, and the death was ruled a homicide.

Man charged with 1st-degree murder

Schlatter was initially charged with second-degree murder, but the charge was upgraded after police said "new evidence" presented itself.

Police believe Schlatter and Richey did not know each other before the night of her death.

On Dec. 19, 2017, police released video images of a man who was allegedly seen with Richey during her final hours. 

On Feb. 4, Schlatter was arrested near his home in the west end and charged in the death.

Police were criticized for their failure to find Richey in the days after her disappearance. 

Her death, along with several other disappearances connected to the Gay Village, led community members to say police were not protecting them.

With files from Muriel Draaisma