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We count on healthcare professionals to always have our well-being and best interests in mind. But sometimes what they actually have on their minds … is murder.
That frightening life-and-death reality becomes clear when “Living with a Serial Killer” returns to Oxygen on Saturday, July 9 at 9/8c for a new season of shocking cases —including the unsettling story of Elizabeth Wettlaufer, a Canadian nurse in Ontario who murdered eight seniors in her care between 2007 and 2014.
How did she do it? Why did she do it? How was she caught? Before the series returns, we get you up to speed on the homicidal healthcare worker whose crimes led to an inquiry into “systematic failures in long-term care,” reported the Associated Press in 2019.
Born in 1967 in Woodstock, Ontario, Elizabeth Tracey Mae Parker earned a degree in religious studies before becoming a registered nurse in 1995. Her life was marked by struggles with various mental health and personal issues, including depression, drug addiction, and sexual identity. In 1997, she married Daniel Wettlaufer, a long-haul truck driver. They had no children and divorced 11 years later.
In June 2007, Wettlaufer began working night shifts in nursing homes in the Ontario Communities of Woodstock, Paris, and London, CBC News reported. Wettlaufer was responsible for dispensing medications to the elderly patients, which gave her access to potentially dangerous drugs.
Wettlaufer injected her victims with fatal doses of insulin. Because her victims were elderly, ranging in age from 75 to 96, their loved ones believed that they died from natural causes.
Victims include James Silcox, 84; Maurice Granat, 84; Gladys Millard, 87; Helen Matheson, 95; Mary Zurawinski, 96; Helen Young, 90; and Maureen Pickering, 79, and Arpad Horvath, 75.
Elderly patients, including some suffering from dementia, made “easy prey,” reported CBC. Wettlaufer told police in a taped confession that she believed “God wanted to use me,” according to CBC. Before killing she felt “a red surge” and afterwards “a laughing feeling” came over her.
In 2016, while at a Toronto rehab facility, Wettlaufer confessed to her murders. Around the same time she revealed to her childhood friend, Glen Hart, that “somebody had died because of something that I did at work,” reported CBC News.
“I assumed it to be accidental and responded accordingly,” Hart said in the CBC report. “And then she disclosed that it wasn’t accidental and that it wasn’t just one."
Hart urged Wettlaufer to call police, unaware that rehab staff had already done that. Wettlaufer was arrested on October 24, 2016.
A judge later described the serial killer as “a shadow of death” that passed over her vulnerable victims.
To learn more about Wettlaufer and how her loved ones reacted, watch “Living with a Serial Killer,” Season 2 when it returns Saturday, July 9 at 9/8c on Oxygen.
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