To friends and associates, Elizabeth Tracey Mae Wettlaufer, 49 (above), appeared to be a compassionate caregiver who worked with the sick and the destitute and, in her private life, warmly loved animals. Behind the scenes, though, it appears the Canadian nurse hid a number of dark and deadly secrets.
On Tuesday, authorities in London, Ontario, charged Wettlaufer with eight separate counts of murder, involving deaths of her patients that occurred between 2007 to 2014. The victims range in age from 75 to 96.
Police said they acted on a tip sent to them in September. During their investigation, detectives discovered that Wettlaufer was posting material on the website All Poetry under the name Betty Wetson, writing pieces that seem to be from the point of view of a serial killer.
One chilling entry reads:
Heart beats then sprays
as this next victim pays
her deft dagger’s bill
On a Facebook account believed to belong to Wettlaufer, she also posted about struggling with substance abuse.
Earlier this month, Wettlaufer was a part of a “peace bond” in which a court ordered that she had to live with both of her parents, and that she could not posses or use any type of medication, including insulin, unless it was for her own use. She was also ordered to stay away from alcohol.
Wettlaufer’s associates are shocked by the arrest. Nancy Gilbert, a friend, told the National Post she had dinner with the nurse recently and said, “She was a happy-go-lucky lady. It’s really hard to believe, really, really hard to believe.”
Those in Wettlaufer’s circle point out her passionate love and dedication to animals. It raised questions, then, when she recently gave away a dog she cherished, although some friends now think it makes sense, as the nurse may have known her arrest was imminent.
The victims of Wettlaufer have been identified as Apad Horvath, 75; James Silcox, 84; Maurice Granat, 84; Gladys Millard, 87; Helen Matheson, 95; Mary Zurawinski, 96; Helen Young, 90; and Maureen Pickering, 79. According to police, at least seven may have allegedly been killed with a fatal drug dose, although the actual substance has not been revealed.
Wettlaufer is expected to appear in court again at the beginning of November. A motive has not been revealed. If convicted, Wettlaufer will rank among Canada’s most prolific serial murderers.
Main photo: Elizabeth Wettlaufer’s Facebook page