Focus of murder probe shifts to Williams' Ottawa home
Published Tuesday, February 9, 2010 6:10PM EST
While police continue to search for evidence in a murder case against an accused military official, focus is also shifting to Ottawa, where the suspect lived for the past 15 years.
Col. Russell Williams' home in Ottawa's trendy Westboro neighbourhood is being guarded by Ontario Provincial Police who hope to protect any potential evidence inside the upscale house where Williams lived with his wife.
Williams, the former commander of CFB Trenton, was arrested in Ottawa on Sunday in connection with the murders of two eastern Ontario women – including a fellow soldier.
He is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, as well as the sexual assault and forcible confinement of two other women living near Tweed.
Police look for links to unsolved crimes
Although the focus has been on collecting evidence, police are also looking for possible links to unsolved crimes in areas where Williams worked during his 23-year military career. Those areas are both inside and outside Canada.
At this point, Ottawa police say Williams is not considered a suspect in any unsolved cases in the capital.
On Tuesday, police continued to search Williams' lake-front property in Tweed, as well as his home in Ottawa.
Police have provided few details on how they identified Williams as a suspect, other than to say he was interviewed at a roadside spot check on Feb. 4.
Neighbours, who say they knew Williams as a friendly person, remain in disbelief that he is charged with such serious crimes.
"Nobody expects to hear a story like that; it's shocking," said Michael Gennis, who lives next door to the couple in Westboro.
Gennis spotted Williams' wife being escorted into her home by several police officers on Sunday while she gathered her personal belongings.
The couple previously lived in Orleans, a community in Ottawa's east end where neighbours are also stunned by the charges.
"As a neighbour, I can say they're the best," said Theresa Gagne, whose husband recently attended a ceremony to mark Williams' promotion at CFB Trenton.
"We still can't believe it's true. They're too nice a couple for this to happen," she said.
However, Ottawa's Sexual Assault Support Centre says the notion that sexual predators act or look a certain way is a view that's unfounded.
"We don't think of people like doctors and lawyers doing these things. We think of vagrant people wandering the streets, but no, they are people who have the means of hiding their crime," said Concillia Muonde.
She says this case debunks the myth that highly regarded professionals cannot be named suspects in serious crimes.
Williams joined the Air Force in 1987 and rose through the ranks of the military before becoming a base commander at CFB Trenton in July 2009.
With a report from CTV Ottawa's Joanne Schnurr