Anastasia Kuzyk remembered fondly
Ryan Paulsen / Daily Observer
The face of murdered real estate agent Anastasia Kuzyk still greets motorists on Highway 60 heading away from Wilno, ON, where she was found dead on Tuesday morning. The discovery triggered a massive manhunt and investigation which revealed two further female victims and ended in the arrest of 57-year-old Basil Borutski in Kinburn, ON, West of Ottawa.
Anastasia Kuzyk, the woman found dead in Wilno, Ont. on Tuesday morning, will be fondly remembered and sorely missed by all who knew her, say two of her former coworkers at the Wilno Tavern, popular local music and social hotspot located just a few hundred yards from where she was discovered.
“She was a great person,” says Ambrose Mullin, who worked with Kuzyk throughout her 10-year tenure at the tavern. “We're getting customers calling us and saying 'is it true?'. She hasn't worked here for five years, and people still remember her.”
“She was one of our best in here,” says Audry Bromwich in the back office of the tavern just a few hours after the shocking news came to light. “She taught us all. Even me, being here for how many years.”
Bromwich remembers when Kuzyk first took the job at the tavern, as a fresh-faced twentysomething. The young server immediately made a name for herself as a hard worker, and someone dedicated to customer service.
Sitting in the back room of the tavern on Tuesday evening, Mullin and Bromwich reminisced about their former colleague, who had since moved into the world of real estate, working in the local Century 21 agency.
Kuzyk's dedication to her clients was evident to Bromwich from her very first booking, a remote hunt camp in the Madawaska area, with showings stretching into the unforgiving and logistically challenging Madawaska Valley winter.
“She shovelled the whole road,” laughs Bromwich. “All the way to the camp so people could get in to see it. Sure enough, she got it sold.”
The fact that Kuzyk was such a wonderful person that ended up entangled in an abusive relationship some years ago with someone like the much older Basil Borutski, later arrested in connection with the murder of Kuzyk and two other female victims, was a source of confusion for those who knew her.
“Everybody was really shocked that Anastasia hooked up with Basil in the first place,” says Bromwich. “I always wondered what took her there.”
Borutski himself was no stranger to the staff at the tavern, but memories of his visits were not nearly so fond.
“He was barred from here,” states Bromwich. “He wasn't allowed in He was an angry man, basically.”
Tuesday night is a famous and important night at the tavern, being the setting of their weekly Blues Night open stage event. This particular Blues Night will be a bittersweet one, agree both Bromwich and Mullin, and Kuzyk will be on everyone's mind, and in their hearts.