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Ghosts of Christmas Past

Remembering victims of serial killer nurse Elizabeth Wettlaufer


Lloyd Billingsley image

By —— Bio and Archives December 2, 2017

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Remembering victims of serial killer nurse Elizabeth Wettlaufer
Ten years ago, in December of 2007, Maurice “Moe” Granat was living in the Caressant Care nursing home in Woodstock, Ontario. Granat was 85, a father of two, grandfather of five and great grandfather of eleven. Friends and family were planning to take Moe home for Christmas, but he never made it.

On December 22, 2007, registered nurse Elizabeth Wettlaufer gave Maurice Granat an injection she explained as a “vitamin shot,” but was actually an overdose of insulin, which Canadian Frederick Banting had created to save lives. Moe died the next day but he was not the nurse’s first victim.

Elizabeth Tracy Mae Wettlaufer hailed from Woodstock and came to work at Caressant Care in 2007. There Wettlaufer overdosed Clotilde Adriano and Albina Demedeiros but both survived. The nurse decided to keep on trying.

Elizabeth Wettlaufer pleaded guilty to the eight murders, four attempted murders, and two cases of aggravated assault

Caressant Care resident James Silcox was one of Canada’s World War II veterans and served in Italy, France and Belgium. Silcox was 84 years old, a father of six, grandfather of 13 and great-grandfather of eight.

On August 10, 2007, nurse Wettlaufer injected James Silcox with an overdose of insulin. In his death agony, the veteran called out “I love you!” to his wife Agnes. Wettlaufer had succeeded in her quest to kill someone and after killing James Silcox, the nurse went home and played computer games.

Moe Granat was the next victim, followed by Gladys Millard, Helen Matheson, Mary Zurawinski, Helen Young, Mary Pickering, and Arpad Horvath. He came to Canada from Communist Hungary in 1956 and made good in the tool and die business. Nurse Wettlaufer overdosed him with insulin and Arpad Horvath, 76 and grandfather of three, died on August 31, 2014.

Elizabeth Wettlaufer had now succeeded in killing eight people, and the nurse attempted to kill Michael Priddle, Wayne Hedges, Sandy Towler, and Beverly Bertram. She stole the insulin, her murder weapon of choice, and her killing spree went completely undiscovered.

In September of 2016 Wettlaufer confessed to doctors at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto. In her confession to police in Woodstock, she acknowledged planning the murders, avoiding detection, and that she knew the difference between right and wrong while committing the crimes. Even so, the confessed multiple murderer was released on a peace bond and not arrested until October 24, 2016.

Remembering victims of serial killer nurse Elizabeth Wettlaufer

Judge Bruce Thomas sentenced her to life in prison, but with possibility of parole after 25 years

Elizabeth Wettlaufer pleaded guilty to the eight murders, four attempted murders, and two cases of aggravated assault. As the victims’ loved ones said in court, this nurse had exploited an atmosphere of trust and along with the deaths had caused untold suffering.

Wettlaufer claimed she was sorry but as Gladys Millard’s granddaughter Shannon Emmerton observed, “she was stone cold.” This was not someone who should have got help earlier. This was a depraved serial killer. 

On June 26, 2016, judge Bruce Thomas sentenced her to life in prison, but with possibility of parole after 25 years. This was the best outcome the serial killer could have expected.

Wettlaufer is likely to get out after 25 years. That works out to little more than three years for each of the eight murders, including Maurice Granat ten years ago in 2007.

“We were planning to bring Moe home for Christmas,” Moe’s friend Laura Jackson told the court. Instead they got the bluest Christmas anyone could expect. It would be hard to blame Jackson, or any relative of the murder victims, for believing that Wettlaufer’s sentence amounted to no justice at all.

Lloyd Billingsley -- Bio and Archives |

Lloyd Billingsley is the author of Lethal Injections: Elizabeth Tracy Mae Wettlaufer, Canada’s Serial Killer Nurse, and Our Time After a While: Reflections of a Borderline Baby Boomer, a memoir about growing up in Windsor, Ontario.

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