Nathalie Warmerdam remembered as 'strong, energetic woman'
Wilno, Ont., is the kind of place where everybody knows everybody. And when news broke yesterday that three women who lived in the area were found dead -- it sent the community in eastern Ontario into a state of shock.
The names of the three victims are Nathalie Warmerdam, Anastasia Kuzyk and Carol Culleton. They were all known to the man accused of their murders.
Today, 57-year-old Basil Borutski appeared in court. He is charged with three counts of first-degree murder. Community members held a vigil outside the courthouse to pay tribute to the victims.
"It comes in waves and there are moments that I forget that she's gone because my mind still hasn't wrapped itself around the idea that she's gone," Genevieve Way tells As It Happens host Carol Off.
Way was a friend and colleague of Nathalie Warmerdam. They volunteered together at an organization called Citizens for Respectful Policing and developed a close working relationship.
"If you were to meet Nathalie today, you would see a strong, energetic woman, really bright, really sharp as a tack, really positive."
Way last heard from Warmerdam in a voicemail message on the weekend. Way recalls that Warmerdam sounded great and was looking forward to a board meeting. Warmerdam never mentioned anything about Borutski's recent release from prison, raising the question about whether Warmerdam knew he was out.
"She would have mentioned that worry, that he's out and either concern for herself and her family or concern for the other women," Way reasons.
She adds that Warmerdam was open about her past relationship with Borutski and did "all the right things" to ensure her own safety.
Way also knew one of the other victims, Anastasia Kuzyk, and confirms that both women had both been in past relationships with the accused, Basil Borutski. Way also says that her friend Warmerdam warned Kuzyk about Borutski, when Kuzyk started dating him.
"Natalie was aware of the relationship between Anastasia and Basil, and she did warn her, and she did try to support her," Way recalls.
Way wants a better monitoring system in place to alert anyone who might be at risk when a prisoner is released. She thinks there are many questions that will need to be answered, but at the moment she is only processing the loss.
"Today, for me, is all about honouring Nathalie as a really precious person that we lost, and Anastasia and Carol as well. This community lost three good women."