Police suspect foul play in disappearance of Kitchener woman

In All, News by Linda Givetash

This piece was also featured in: Waterloo Region Record
Published: Mar. 25, 2013 | [ WEB ] | [ PDF ]

KITCHENER — Police suspect foul play in the disappearance of a local woman who was last seen a week ago.

Catherine Todd, 48, was reported missing Thursday after last being heard from on March 18. Waterloo Regional Police announced Saturday they suspect foul play after conducting a forensic search of her apartment at 50 Lorraine Ave.

“It appears she suffered injuries as a result of her disappearance,” said police spokesperson Insp. Kevin Thaler.

It’s not clear how severe Todd’s suspected injuries may have been.

“At this time, we can’t rule out that she’s alive somewhere,” Thaler said.

Homicide detectives have taken the lead on the investigation. About 25 officers have been assigned to it.

Todd lives alone with her dog, an older Jack Russell terrier, in a second-floor apartment of the low-rise building that she moved into in December. Neighbours would often see Todd walking the dog around the neighbourhood.

The dog was found unattended without food or water in Todd’s apartment days after she was last seen or heard from, according to the building’s superintendent, Otto Kraut.

Kraut said Todd’s boyfriend told him that the woman was reported missing.

“He (the boyfriend) had not been in the apartment for three days, since Sunday evening,” Kraut said, recalling their conversation. “This was Wednesday evening he found the dog there and it was quite messy there because the dog hadn’t been out for days. He also told me that the door had been ajar. The door was not even closed.”

“The dog was her life … I don’t think she would have left that dog behind,” Kraut said.

Police said Todd’s disappearance was reported by an acquaintance, but did not confirm if she had a boyfriend.

Police also said a loveseat from her apartment was missing. The loveseat is described as cream-coloured with a tweed pattern and a rip along the right arm. It is believed that the furniture was covered with a sheet or blanket.

Kraut said it would be difficult to move a piece of furniture from the building, which does not have an elevator, and that two people would have been needed.

Police also received reports that a pickup truck was seen in the area on Tuesday or Wednesday morning around 9 a.m.

“The focus remains on trying to determine a timeline surrounding her disappearance and trying to locate or identify a pickup truck that was reported in the area,” Thaler said.

He added that information is being sought about any occupants of the vehicle.

There are no suspects in the case and police did not say if there is a concern for public safety.

“It’s too early to say if this was a random event or not,” Thaler said.

Residents of the neighbourhood were shocked to hear about the incident.

Andrew Murray, 20, who has friends who live near the Lorraine Avenue apartment, said it’s a quiet, peaceful area.

“They’ve got a school close to here,” he said.

A resident of a neighbouring low-rise apartment building similar to Todd’s said she moved to the area because it’s quiet and safe.

“I walk my dog around here all the time,” said Danielle Hilborn, 30. “I never worry around here.”

Police are appealing to the public for information on when and where Todd was last seen, who she was with and what she was wearing.

Todd is described as white, about five feet, one inch tall and 115 pounds. She has short brown hair and brown eyes. Anyone with information is asked to contact the homicide branch at 519-650-8500 ext. 8314 or Crime Stoppers a 1-800-222-8477.

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Linda Givetash

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Linda Givetash is a Canadian-South African freelance journalist based in Vancouver, B.C. Her work has appeared in print, digital and broadcast media outlets around the globe.