TORONTO, June 10, 2020 /CNW/ - The family of Tess Richey, a 22-year old Toronto woman who was brutally murdered by Kalen Schlatter, is taking legal action against the convicted killer, Toronto police and others.
Tess's body was found by her mother at the bottom of an outdoor stairwell in November of 2017, four days after she went missing after a night out in the Church and Wellesley area. Her mother travelled from North Bay to Toronto to join the search when police failed to find her.
Tess's family members continue to suffer greatly due to her death and the traumatic circumstances under which Tess was found. In the Statement of Claim filed in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, they are seeking $20 million in damages.
According to the Statement of Claim, the intentional acts of Tess's killer, and the negligence and/or reckless indifference shown by several others resulted in her injuries and death. They include the Toronto Police Services Board, Chief Mark Saunders, two officers involved in the search, Crews and Tangos, the bar that allegedly over-served Richey alcohol the night of her murder, as well as Storm Crow Manor Ltd., Church 18 Holdings Inc., and ABC Corporation, (the companies that either owned/operated or were responsible for renovations) that failed to provide adequate lighting or security in the stairwell area of the vacant building where her body was found.
"There were a number of contributing factors that created an opportunity for Tess's killer," said Michael Smitiuch of Smitiuch Injury Law PC, who along with Matthew Nieuwland, are the lawyers representing the Richey family. "Had there been better policing and public warnings about a predator in the area, Tess Richey may not have taken a walk with her killer that night."
According to the Statement of Claim, Tess was at Crews and Tangos Restaurant & Bar, at 508 Church Street, on Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017, where she met Kalen Schlatter, who later raped and murdered her. He left her body in the unlit outdoor stairwell of a building under renovation, at 582 Church Street.
Although Tess Richey's body was found by her mother on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017, only steps away from her last known location, it was not discovered by officers, including Allen McCullough and Michael Jones, who face disciplinary action under the Police Services Act. It's alleged that there was inadequate police protection in Toronto's Church and Wellesley area despite public concerns of a serial killer (s) in the area, including Bruce McArthur. It's also alleged that this lack of police presence emboldened predators, such as Kalen Schlatter to commit crimes without fear of being caught. The family claims that police were incompetent in their investigation of Tess's disappearance, by failing to respond in a timely manner and falsely reporting that she died of misadventure.
"It's devastating enough to lose a daughter, even more wrenching to be the one to find her body," added Smitiuch. "Tess's family deserves justice and accountability, so that other families aren't subjected to this kind of anguish."
SOURCE Smitiuch Injury Law PC