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Barrie police investigating after two men found dead; man in custody

Cheryl Browne

By Cheryl Browne, Barrie Examiner

UPDATE: Robert Twiss, 45, of Barrie, appeared in bail court Wednesday. He is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, one count of indignity to a body and flight from police.

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A gruesome discovery on a quiet street in Barrie's west end has led to murder charges for one of its residents.

Neighbours awoke to find yellow police tape wrapped around the front lawn of 69 Eden Dr., a townhouse where, up until the weekend, three men lived.

“You never think something like this is going to happen on your street,” said Emily Newitt, 26, as her two young children slept in the back of her minivan across the street from the home.

Newitt watched as the Barrie police department's forensic unit cube van slowly backed up into the single driveway.

Forensic officers in blue protective gear with white boots were seen carrying cardboard boxes from the house to the back of the truck.

Police won't release the names or ages of the deceased until they have found and notified next-of-kin.

But what they have said is a 45-year-old Barrie man, who is known to police, was arrested early Tuesday morning in relation to the double-homicide they believe happened on the weekend.

“At this time, they're still determining the time of death,” Barrie police Const. Nicole Rodgers said of the forensic team's investigation.

“They are thinking it was some time in the last four or five days. So it's a little bit longer of a timeline than what was initially thought due to the evidence at the scene,” Rodgers added.

The two men's bodies might have remained undiscovered if the suspect hadn't been chased by Ontario Provincial Police officers early Tuesday morning.

Rodgers said provincial police officers had come upon a pickup truck stopped with its flashers on at 2 a.m., on Highway 26 in Springwater Township, north of Barrie.

The driver spoke briefly with the officer before abruptly driving away.

OPP pursued the truck as it drove east along Highway 26 and then south on Highway 27 to Walmart on Bayfield Street before abandoning the chase.

But the OPP officer had managed to read the licence plate and passed the information on to Barrie city police.

Barrie officers arrived at the suspect's residence at 2:25 a.m. and entered the townhouse where they found two bodies inside.

Betty, who didn't want her last name used, said she saw a police cruiser pass her home at 4:30 a.m.

“I saw a cruiser flying up the street,” Betty said.

Self-acknowledged as the neighbourhood watch, she said she walked up to visit a friend near the scene to watch the police action.

She believes a senior and his son rented the home.

“He was nice. He'd sit in his garage reading the paper, having a coffee or something. He was a quiet man. He used a walker,” she said.

Betty said she doesn't know who the 45-year-old man could be and neither did Rennie Riggs, a man who'd left his Oro-Medonte Township home early to drive to work in Barrie's south end.

Riggs said he was driving south on Ridge Road and was surprised to come upon a man standing in the middle of the road with his jacket open and not wearing a shirt.

“He was standing there, on the road with this arms up in the air,” Riggs said, miming the pose of a man with his arms flung in the air.

“I called 911. I mean, he was standing in the middle of the road at 5 a.m. There was something wrong with that,” Riggs said.

Barrie OPP officers responded to the call and arrested the man without incident near Shanty Bay Road at approximately 5:15 a.m.

Rodgers said a pickup truck had been abandoned along Bayfield Street and the suspect was believed to have walked to Shanty Bay.

Rodgers said the man was arrested on the grounds of suspicion of the double-homicide at the Barrie home. He is expected to have a bail hearing Wednesday.

It will take forensics officers several days to go through the evidence in the home, but Rodgers expects the bodies will be sent to the Centre for Forensic Sciences in Toronto for autopsies within the next few days.

The middle portion of Eden Drive will remain taped off as a crime scene until police finish their investigation.

Angela McCulloch and her dog, Skye, live two houses away from 69 Eden Dr. Her driveway was cordoned off by police tape, so she stayed home Tuesday morning.

“He was a nice man, a little frail and seemed to be having a hard time getting around. But it is a little scary when you think of it,” McCulloch said, smoking a cigarette on her driveway.

“You think, 'Wow, what went down here?'”

cheryl.browne@sunmedia.ca

Twitter.com/cherylbrowne1

 

Multiple murders in Barrie and surrounding region

Jan. 26, 2016 — Two men are found dead inside an Eden Drive home in the city's west end. A third man, whom police say lives at the same Letitia Heights address, was located by provincial police in Shanty Bay and arrested shortly afterwards. Police said the victims may have been dead up to five days before they were discovered. The names of the two victims has not been released, but neighbours said a senior citizen and his son rented the home.

May 2, 2012 — The bodies of two women are discovered at the Travelodge at Bayfield Street and Highway 400 in Barrie. The victims, both of whom were partially decapitated in a ritualistic murder-suicide pact, were identified as Helen Dorrington, a 52-year-old from Cold Lake, Alta., and Mary Hepburn, a 32-year-old Barrie woman. Small dolls and satanic art were also found in the room. Mark Dobson, who was 22 years old at the time of the offences, was found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to two life terms.

March 27, 2011
— Donald White, 53, and his 51-year-old wife, Lauredith, are found dead and dismembered inside their rural home north of Elmvale. Both died from gunshot wounds. Police initially responded to the County Road 6 home after a co-worker of Donald's called authorities to report that he hadn't showed up for work. Their 26-year-old son, Gregory Scott White, who also lived in the home, was arrested at the scene after body parts were discovered double-bagged and under a tarp. He was charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of indecently interfering with a human body. However, he died in September 2012 while incarcerated in solitary confinement at Central North Correctional Centre in Penetanguishene.

Oct. 4, 2006 — The Campione girls — three-year-old Serena and one-year-old Sophia — are found dead in their Coulter Street apartment in Barrie. Autopsy results showed the girls had been drowned. Their mother, 33-year-old Elaine Frances Campione, was convicted on two counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without the eligibility of parole for 25 years. Campione held the girls' heads underwater for at least two minutes, drowning them as a way of enacting revenge against her estranged husband. She videotaped the last moments of her daughters playing in the tub before shutting off the camera shortly before they were murdered. When the tape was turned back on, the house is quiet, but a spiteful Campione — described in court as selfish, self-absorbed, malicious and manipulative — blames the girls' father for what happened. She calls police the following day; an officer finds the girls neatly dressed with their hair curled, propped up in bend, holding hands and clutching a rosary. Campione later appealed the conviction in 2015 based on the judge's instructions to the jury, but the appeal was denied.

May 25, 2002
— A man and woman, both 44 years old, are found shot and beaten to death in their car in an Oro-Medonte Township field, north of Barrie near Highway 11. The murders of Dung That Ton and his wife, Bong Thi Bui, are linked to a marijuana grow operation in Mississauga. Tung Duong, 38, of Mississauga; Ibrahim Yumnu, 48, of Wasaga Beach; Vince Cardoso, 39, of Toronto are convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to 25 years in jail. Two others are found not guilty.

Oct. 2, 1993 — Fred Shapcott, a 46-year-old taxi driver, bleeds to death after suffering multiple stab wounds. His body was found behind a Bayview Drive building. Two days later, the bodies of 85-year-old Ellsworth Beers, his 22-year-old granddaughter Pamela Constable and her friend Scott Seabrook, 28, are found in Beers' home at 138 Peel St. They had been stabbed and strangled. Several months later, a Letitia Heights woman is attacked in her home, raped and has her throat slashed, but survives. Her teenaged son, who was also attacked, runs from the home and calls police. Eric Ross is arrested at the scene and charged. He is later convicted of first-degree murder in all four deaths.