The family of Tess Richey is taking legal action over her murder.
Those named in the Statement of Claim are Kalen Schlatter, the convicted killer, Toronto Police Service (TPS), and Crews and Tangos, the bar Richey attended. Storm Crow Manor Ltd., Church 18 Holdings Inc., and ABC Corporation, the companies that either owned/operated or were responsible for renovations on the property where Richey’s body was found were also named in the suit. In total, the family is seeking $20 million in damages.
Along with TPS being named, Chief Mark Saunders has been named in the claim. Officials say Saunders listed Richey’s death as “death by misadventure” shortly after her body had been found. Two other officers were also named in the claim.
“There were a number of contributing factors that created an opportunity for Tess’s killer,” said Michael Smitiuch, who along with Matthew Nieuwland, is the lawyers representing the Richey family. “Had there been better policing and public warnings about a predator in the area, Tess Richey may not have taken a walk with her killer that night.”
According to the Statement of Claim, Tess was at Crews and Tangos Restaurant and Bar, at 508 Church Street, on Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017, where she met Schlatter, who later raped and murdered her. He left her body in the unlit outdoor stairwell of a building under renovation, at 582 Church Street.
The statement says Tess’s body was found four days later by her mother after police had failed to find her. Her mother had travelled to Toronto from North Bay to make the grisly discovery. Two officers are currently facing disciplinary action under the Police Services Act for a lack of effort in finding Richey.
“It’s devastating enough to lose a daughter, even more wrenching to be the one to find her body,” added Smitiuch. “Tess’s family deserves justice and accountability so that other families aren’t subjected to this kind of anguish.”
The statement also alleges there was inadequate police protection in Toronto’s Church and Wellesley area despite public concerns of a serial killer(s) in the area, including Bruce McArthur. It’s also alleged that this lack of police presence emboldened predators, such as Schlatter to commit crimes without fear of being caught. The family claims that police were incompetent in their investigation of Tess’s disappearance, by failing to respond in a timely manner and falsely reporting that she died of misadventure.