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

Crews provided first aid but 47-year-old Deborah Onwu died of her injuries

Calgary police say an 18-year-old man is in custody 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 a suspect was arrested two hours later in the downtown.

He says it’s believed that a verbal and physical confrontation happened between the man and the worker, and she was stabbed.

The suspect will not be named until he is formally charged.

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.”

READ MORE: ‘Wanted to kill people:’ Crown says man stabbed Edmonton officer, drove into strangers

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. (The Canadian Press)

The Canadian Press

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