A 21-year-old man has been charged in connection with the death of Tess Richey.
The 22-year-old woman was found dead four days after going missing in the Yonge and Wellesley streets area last November.
Kalen Schlatter was arrested on Sunday near his west-end home and appeared in court via video on Monday morning to face a charge of second-degree murder.
Toronto police homicide Det.-Sgt. Graham Gibson said it’s believe Schlatter and Richey met the night she went missing and the two of them spent some time together before she died.
“We believe that they were together, alone, in that area and they were together for some time and that Mr. Schlatter left that area and by the time he left Tess was, unfortunately, deceased,” he explained.
Photos of Schlatter were released by police in December. At the time police said he was considered a person of interest and may have been one of the last people to see Richey alive.
“As a result of those images being released, we did receive tremendous support from the community,” he said.
“I also want to take this time to thank members of the community, businesses and private individuals, who were able to assist us by supplying us with video surveillance in that area for the night Tess went missing.”
Gibson said at this time there is no motive for the crime but say it was probably a crime of opportunity.
“It’s probably fair to say at this stage … the opportunity presented itself,” he said.
Police said they became aware of Schlatter early on in the investigation but there was a fair amount of investigating to be done before charges could be laid.
“This is the kind of case where, obviously, you want to make an arrest because it’s very high profile and Tess was a young, innocent girl … it took a lot of work and everybody worked very hard … we were lucky to be able to come to this successful conclusion,” Gibson said.
On the evening before Richey was murdered, she and a friend went to Crews & Tangos — a bar on Church Street, south of Wellesley.
Police said around 1:45 a.m., Richey and her friend walked to the intersection of Church and Wellesley to a hot dog cart.
It’s believed that while they were there, an unknown male joined them and began talking.
Police said Richey, her friend and the man went north on Church to Dundonald Street, where they spent some time speaking with a couple. A while later, around 4 a.m., the group then went their separate ways, according to police.
Richey and the man walked into a building at Church and Dundonald. Police said this is the last time she shows up on security cameras or is seen by witnesses.
Police said the man left the stairwell of the building on his own and walked north on Church.
Richey’s mother, who had driven from North Bay to search for her daughter, discovered the body four days after her disappearance, in the stairwell of a building under construction.
Although foul play wasn’t originally believed to involved, it was later determined that the cause of death was neck compression.
In a twist of irony, a woman who appears to be Schlatter’s mother, Helga Schlatter, wrote on Facebook on Aug. 7, 2017, that her son was involved in “stopping a murder in progress.” This was months before Richey was killed.
Toronto police told CityNews they can’t disclose witness information in cases.