While Ottawa police continued their investigation last night into Saturday’s apparent murder-suicide, friends of Ryan Sawchuk in Calgary expressed astonishment the “regular guy” they knew could be a suspected killer.
Wes Jardine, Sawchuk’s occasional defence partner on both the Calgary Beefcakes and Vipers summer hockey squads, said the 28-year-old Calgarian was a skilled player, a joker, easygoing and a guy he never would have thought capable of violence against his fiancé, Alicia Bateman, 28.
“He was a regular guy, no demons, no issues that anyone was aware of anyway,” Jardine said yesterday.
Autopsies on the bodies of Bateman and Sawchuk were being conducted in Kingston yesterday to officially determine causes of death after both were discovered in an Orleans home following an emergency call. Metro confirmed reports Bateman had been strangled in the garage of her home at 302 Cote Royale Cres., while Sawchuk was found in the home, hanging from a noose.
Major Crime investigators are expected to complete their search of the two-storey brick home today.
In the couple’s hometown of Calgary, friends and family were stunned by the news. “We’re all still struggling to find out what went wrong,” Jardine said.
Sawchuk was “an outgoing” and “very nice young man,” who was “madly in love” with Bateman, according to his grandmother, Mary Sawchuk. He had golfed in a tournament in Calgary before booking a flight to Ottawa Saturday morning. By 5 p.m., the couple, who had reportedly broken up a week earlier, were dead.
With files from Neil MacKinnon/Metro Calgary