Kalen Schlatter charged with 2nd-degree murder in Tess Richey homicide

A man has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of Tess Richey, 22, who went missing from the Church and Wellesley area in November.

Kalen Schlatter, 21, was arrested near his residence in west end Toronto at about 11 p.m. on Sunday night, Det-Sgt. Graham Gibson said at a news conference on Monday.   

Richey went missing on Nov. 25, 2017, after a night out with a high school friend at Crews and Tangos, a nightclub on Church Street in the Gay Village.

Her body was found a few days later at the bottom of an outdoor stairwell at 582 Church St. by her mother and a family friend on Nov. 29, 2017. She was found just doors away from when she was last seen.

​Her cause of death was determined to be neck compression, or strangulation, and the death was ruled a homicide.

Schlatter is a resident of Toronto who works as a contractor, Gibson said. 

Suspect captured on security video

Schlatter and Richey met the night she went missing, said Gibson, who also said police "became aware" of Schlatter early in the police investigation.  

Police found security images of Richey and her friend Ryley Simard walking with a man they believe is Schlatter following the women's exit from the club on Nov. 25 at about 1:30 a.m. 

The images show a young man wearing khaki pants and a dark coat. At the time of their release, police described the man as a person of interest in the case. 

By 3:45 a.m., after the three stopped to talk to two strangers, one of whom described Richey as seeming "really upset," Simard took the College streetcar home.

Other security video shows Richey and the man in an alley near the stairwell. The man was filmed leaving the alley on his own."This is where we last see Tess," Gibson had said.  

Chance for family to grieve

Richey's sister Varina was on social media Monday morning announcing the arrest. 

"This is not a celebration for us but it is a victory of sorts and we would now like to finally focus our energy and attention on honouring and remembering the best and zaniest little sister any of us Richey girls ever could have asked for," she wrote. 

Richey's mother, Christine Hermeston, had come to Toronto from North Bay after Richey's disappearance and discovered her body in the stairwell on the afternoon of Nov. 29. 

She told CBC Toronto last month that she would not go back to North Bay until she found out what happened to her daughter. 

Hermeston posted also posted on Facebook on Monday, writing that "we got him." 

"Such a sad destruction of so many [lives,]" she wrote. "I'm so sad this story ever had to exist but we've far to go." 

Richey's family has been critical of how police handled the investigation in its early days, and in December, Toronto police launched a probe into how officers dealt with her disappearance.

"We obviously have a long road ahead of us," wrote Varina Richey in her post. 

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Kalen Schlatter charged with 2nd-degree murder in Tess Richey homicide