News Local

Triple murder suspect arrested after massive manhunt

By Ryan Paulsen, The Daily Observer

MADAWASKA VALLEY - Three Wilno-area women are dead and one man is in police custody after a killing spree here Tuesday morning.

Communities across the Ottawa Valley were placed on lock down as police hunted for an armed suspect in connection with the string of murders that took place in Western Renfrew County.

Members of the Killaloe detachment responded to a call on Sczcypior Road in Wilno around 9 a.m. where they found the body of Anastasia Kuzyk, a local real estate agent, triggering the manhunt. Over the course of several hours, two more female victims were discovered. Information at the Wilno scene led police to a second location, a home on Foymont Road, about 26 kilometres southeast, where the body of a second woman was found shot dead. Then, at about 11:10 a.m., Bancroft OPP officers responded to a residence on Kamaniskeg Lake Road, about 80 kilometres from Wilno, where they found the third female victim.

The police issued public warnings, asking residents in the areas to stay indoors and lock their doors.

Sgt. Kristine Rae, of the OPP's East Region, said schools in the area, the courthouses in Pembroke and Ottawa, and also some offices in Ottawa, were put on lock down while the manhunt took place.

Local OPP officers, along with their comrades from the Emergency Response Team (ERT) and Tactics and Response Unit (TRU) closed roads and followed leads that took them from Barry's Bay to Petawawa, hitting nearly every stop in between at one point or another, but ultimately the suspect was tracked down to a rural area southeast of the county. The K-9 unit and a helicopter were also involved in the search.

At approximately 2:30 p.m. the suspect, who sources say is 57-year-old Basil Borutski, was arrested without incident near Kinburn, Ont., between Arnprior and Ottawa. According to reports, the suspect had recently been released from prison, and during the course of the investigation, police had been trying to contact people associated with both the victim and the suspect. All lock downs were immediately lifted once the suspect was in custody.

Official channels were unusually quiet throughout the day, and activity around the Killaloe Detachment office was generally quiet apart from the occasional deployment of another ERT team or the arrival of witnesses brought in for questioning.

Shortly after news came of Borutski's arrest, a few members of Kuzyk's family emerged from the building, understandably distraught and apologetically declining to make any detailed statements.

"We're sorry," said one female relative, through welling tears. "We lost a daughter today. A beautiful, precious daughter."

Kuzyk's brother-in-law, Jason Stow in Winnipeg, said he had been told by the police not to talk about the case but said, "She was a wonderful person."

In the normally jovial atmosphere of the Wilno Tavern, directly across Highway 60 from the home where the first victim was discovered and where Kuzyk worked for almost 10 years until leaving the establishment roughly five years ago to pursue real estate sales, events of the day dominated conversation in every corner.

Speculation abounded as to the nature and motive of the attacks, and there was the expected amount of head-shaking that so bloody a morning could have happened right in their own sleepy backyard. In general, the mood was less shaken than may have been expected by some unfamiliar with the area or its residents.

One man who would be not at all surprised by the resiliency of the locals is Carl Bromwich, councillor with the Township of Madawaska Valley.

"We were not in a panic situation here. People do not panic in rural Ontario. We were concerned for our children, of course, but we just did what needed to be done. Everybody kept their heads, stayed calm, and did what they had to do."

Bromwich also was passionate about his belief that the events of today, though they will long be remembered, will not change the nature of the community or its people.

"Wilno prides itself on being a peaceful little town," he says. "We can't help it if someone from outside Wilno comes in to disturb our peace. We take it very personally that we have a safe little town here, and that hasn't changed today.

"This isn't a game-changer, it's not a life changing situation. They're not going to change our lives here. We're proud of our little town. It's never had a situation like this before, and hopefully it won't happen again."

As calm and unflappable as locals were, there was an undeniable sense of relief when word came that the lock downs were being lifted.

"Thank goodness it's over," Bromwich said.

With files from the Ottawa Citizen

ryan.paulsen@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @PRyanPaulsen