Police have released video surveillance images of a man sought in their investigation of the murder of Tess Richey, 22.
Richey was found dead in an outdoor stairwell near Church and Dundonald streets on Nov. 29. Her death was initially considered accidental. On Dec. 1 it was ruled a homicide after a post-mortem disclosed the cause of death to be a”neck compression.”
Homicide detective sergeant Graham Gibson gave details on the murder investigation at a press conference on Dec. 8, outlining the role of an unknown male seen with Richey before her death.
Richey was visiting a Church Street bar with a friend until about 1:45 a.m. on Nov. 25 and later in the morning interacted with other people at a hot dog cart at Church and Wellesley streets, Gibson told media.
“It appears that at this time, an unknown male suspect joined Tess and her friend and interacted with them,” Gibson said.
At about 4 a.m., Richey and the male walked together and went into an alley by a building at 582 Church St., which was under renovation, Gibson said. She was never again seen alive by witnesses or in video surveillance.
“The suspect left the area of the stairwell and was last seen walking northbound on Church Street,” Gibson said.
Richey’s family reported her missing to Toronto Police hours later.
Gibson confirmed the family’s claim that it was Richey’s mother and a friend who discovered her body in the stairwell on Nov. 29, though he said they were assisting the police search which was taking place at the time.
“The witnesses, family and Tess’s associates have all been extremely cooperative in the investigation,” Gibson said at the press conference.
Officers from 51 Division acquired video evidence from local businesses and citizens while seeking potential witnesses.
Police described the unknown male seen with Richey as being 5-foot-6 to 6 feet and having a slim build and dark short hair. He was wearing a dark jacket with light pants.
In the Dec. 10 press release accompanying the video images, police said they requested assistance “identifying a man as part of the investigation.”
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