A senior military official faces a pair of first-degree murder charges in two separate Ontario slayings.
Police said Monday that Colonel Russell Williams, 46, of Tweed, Ont., has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Jessica Lloyd, of Belleville, Ont., who went missing Jan. 28.
As well, he faces a second count of first-degree murder in the death of Marie Comeau, a Corporal with 437 Squadron at Canadian Forces Base Trenton.
Col. Williams, who is a commander at CFB Trenton, also faces two counts of forcible confinement and two counts of break and enter and sexual assault.
Wearing a blue prison issued jumpsuit, Col. Williams made a three-minute appearance in a Belleville courtroom. He stated his name clearly, but answered quietly when asked if he understood the charges.
He will appear again by video on Feb 18.
The Chief of the Air Staff, Lieutenant-General Andre Deschamps, announced this afternoon that Col. Williams was being at least temporarily relieved of his duties as 8 Wing Commander at CFB Trenton.
“Although one is considered innocent until proven guilty, in light of the seriousness of the charges, and in consideration of the high level of responsibilities attached to the position of Wing Commander, an interim Wing Commander for 8 Wing Trenton will soon be appointed,” he said in a statement.
Lt.-Gen. Deschamps said that the air force would launch a review “to determine the most appropriate action to take regarding Colonel Williams pending the outcome of the trial.”
Early reports Monday suggested that Col. Williams's home in Tweed had been cordoned off while police searched the residence.
Police wouldn’t say whether the victims knew the suspect, and Detective-Inspector Chris Nicholas said the investigation isn’t over.
“We are certainly tracking the movements of where this man has been over the past several years, and we’re continuing on with our investigation,” Det.-Insp. Nicholas said.
News of Col. Williams' arrest has badly shaken staff at Department of National Defence headquarters in Ottawa.
“They’re in a state of shock – they’re stunned,” a Defence official told The Globe Monday.
Military commander charged in slayings of two women - The Globe and Mail