Murder confirmed in Fulton Boulevard incident
Leith Dunick - Tb News Source | Web Posted: 1/22/2007 8:18:42 PM
The stench was overwhelming.
It was also the first sign that something was terribly wrong inside a third-floor apartment at 625 Fulton Blvd., near Lakehead University.
Rhonda Bottos lives two units down a dingy, well-worn hallway from an apartment unit where the body of an as-yet unidentified woman was found just before 5 p.m. last Saturday.
"It was bad down here," she whispered, her voice shaking slightly at the memory. "In the morning I thought it was my garbage. So I took that out, thinking that was what the problem was, but the smell was in here thick. It smelled like sewage at first.
"I don’t throw up, and I came so close it wasn’t funny. When you see people throwing up on TV when they see that, that’s exactly what it makes your body feel like doing."
The woman’s body was discovered by a relative, who called 911 requesting police assistance. The incident was not made public until Monday morning.
Bottos said she was saddened to hear that police had determined it to be murder, and sadder still that she hadn’t taken the time to get to know the victim, who moved into the worn-down building about a month ago.
"Maybe if I’d known who she was, it might have made a difference in some way. I think it brings to light just how much someone can go unnoticed and completely unknown, and how sad it is that she was there for so long before someone realized something had happened," Bottos said.
Bottos wasn’t alone. Lakehead University students Kyle Oliver and Amanda Wise and their baby live next door , and the couple said they didn’t hear anything to alert them to what occurred a few short metres away.
"We don’t know what happened," Oliver said, cradling his sleeping baby in his arms.
For Wise, it’s an isolated incident, one that doesn’t have her worried about the neighbourhood or planning to move. Bottos tells a murkier tale, and spoke of strange men knocking on her door at four in the morning, vomit-covered carpets and tenants who think nothing of urinating outside the building at all hours of the day.
She can’t wait to find a new place to live, saying she’s afraid to raise her child in the midst of all the crime surrounding her.
"I’m always worried. I’m always scared," she said. "I mean, you look at somebody the wrong way sometimes and they get mad. It’s just basically about survival here. That’s pretty much all it is. The area, the cops are here all the time. It’s really bad."
Police have yet to release the cause of death. Spokesperson Chris Adams said an autopsy will be completed in the next couple of days, but had few other details to give, other than the fact police are continuing to investigate potential leads. Police have no suspect in the case either.
"At this point there is no one in custody," said Adams of the city’s first murder in 2007. "This is a very preliminary stage for the investigation, so there is a lot of legwork that has to be done."
A total of two murders occurred in Thunder Bay in 2006.