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Worker at Calgary assisted-living home stabbed to death, client arrested

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Calgary police say an 18-year-old local man has been charged with second degree murder after his caseworker at an assisted-living residence was stabbed to death.

Officers were called to the home in southwest Calgary about 2:45 a.m.

Emergency crews provided first aid but 47-year-old Deborah Onwu died of her injuries.

Staff Sgt. Martin Schiavetta says Brandon Newman was arrested two hours later in the downtown.

Newman was charged soon after and remains in custody with his next court appearance set for Nov. 1.

Schiavetta says it's believed that a verbal and physical confrontation happened between the suspect and Onwu, and she was stabbed.

A statement from Wood's Homes, which operates mental health facilities and programs for children and families throughout Alberta, says staff and clients were still trying to process the killing at one of its Calgary homes on Friday.

"Debbie was a well-liked and well-respected colleague. She was hard working and devoted to a career of helping. There are no words to describe the sadness and loss our work family is feeling today," said the statement.

"We are providing counselling support for all those affected and are working closely with the Calgary Police Service and Occupational Health & Safety to learn how this occurred."

In 2017, former Alberta premier Rachel Notley said the province had improved safety standards at care homes in light of the killing of a mental health worker in Camrose, Alta.

Valerie Wolski was strangled by a client at a facility in Camrose in 2011. Terrance Saddleback had a history of violent behaviour and Wolski was left alone to care for the six-foot-five, 300-pound man who towered over her.

A fatality inquiry report suggested government policy failures were a factor in the killing.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 25, 2019.

The Canadian Press




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